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New EU project at Kassel University optimizes crop production

The EcoStack project aims to improve the production and protection of plants. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Oliver Hensel from the Department of Agricultural Engineering, the University of Kassel is involved with funding of 0.5 million euros.

Image: Sascha Kirchner
A potato field is mulched with straw to reduce transmission of plant viruses and encourage beneficial insects.

The focus of the "Agricultural Practices" subproject - headed by Dr. Sascha Kirchner from the University of Kassel - is on how crops can be supported by organic mulch materials. The research at the University of Kassel is being conducted in close cooperation between the departments of agricultural engineering and ecological crop protection.

The project aims to improve crop production through so-called ecosystem services. EcoStack develops and promotes ecological, economical and sustainable crop production. This is to be achieved by protecting functional biodiversity. By designing and implementing integrated systems, the project contributes to the long-term sustainability of agriculture and food production. To this end, farmers, producers and stakeholders jointly identify the necessary measures for sustainable productivity increases.

The project, "Stacking of ecosystem services: mechanisms and interactions for optimum crop protection, pollination enhancement, and productivity," has been running for five years since September 2018. The University of Kassel is one of 24 international partners. EcoStack is a Horizon 2020 (H2020) EU project with a total budget of 10 million euros. H2020 is the EU's framework program for research and innovation. Project funding through the program is intended to ensure sustainable development.

Dr. sc. agr. Sascha Kirchner
University of Kassel
Department of Agricultural Engineering
Tel.: +49 5542 98-1651
E-mail: sascha.kirchner[at]uni-kassel[dot]de