Institute of

Organic Farming

acting in place of

(currently abroad)

(in replacement function)


Annette Pontillo
Institute of Organic Farming

Trenthorst 32
23847 Westerau
Phone: +49 4539 8880 0

Institut für Ökologischen Landbau

Trenthorst 32
23847 Westerau
Phone: +49 4539 8880 0
Fax: +49 4539 8880 120


Development of Organic Farming Systems of Tomorrow: environmentally sound, animal welfare and efficient

We develop Organic Farming systems and focus on animal husbandry: mainly cattle and pigs. The system development comprise agronomy, animal husbandry, process and product qualities as well as consumer expectations and economy. The developed solutions shall overcome the gap between 

  • expectations of the society (environment protection, animal welfare, animal health),
  • sustainable competitiveness (resource efficiency, economy) and
  • high product qualities (ingredients).

We develop technologies, to improve the efficiency of organic farming systems, and not only increasing farm turnover and production. Therefore we not stick on the standards and exceptions in organic production, but we looking for the goals and principles of organic farming. With our research we will support the organic farming to improve the skills of sustainable production and to fulfill the expectations of the consumer and the society. 

The research is carried out in interdisciplinary teams and system oriented. Experiments are used for production improvements. Goas are improved optimizations and innovations of the on-farm food production. The research is carried out on an experimental station in Trenthorst and on practical farms throughout Germany and even abroad.

  • On the research station are experiments carried out which can not be done on practical private farms. The equipment of the research station does allow experiments along the whole product chain.
  • On-farm research (intervention, non-invasive) is done on practical farms where the results from the experimental stations are proofed in their applicability in real existing farming systems. Together with farmers further development development borders and problems are solved together.  .

Fields of Activity

 (©  Solveig March)
Cattle husbandry
Cattle and their unique digestive system are of great importance in organic farming. As ruminants, they are capable of converting biomass which cannot be used by humans into high quality food. Additionally, ruminants produce manure and hence contribute to soil fertility.
 (©  Ralf Bussemas)
Pig husbandry
Consumers of organic produced pork expect that it is eco- and animal-friendly produced and of improved taste and flavour. The corresponding process and product qualities can only be met with the help of respective production systems in piglet production and in pig fattening. But there exists still a gap between expectations and reality. The research of the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming wants to fill this gap.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/OL)
Other husbandry systems
 (©  BLE, Bonn/Foto: Thomas Stephan)
Farming system components
The development of farming systems requires the development and evaluation of the individual subsystems, such as the crop and plant cultivation and grassland management or impact on the environment, biodiversity or landscape. The integration of new system elements such as poultry farming in certain cultures or short-rotation plantations in agricultural holdings are of interest. The integrated cropping systems are therefore divided into the areas of - Crop and Fodder production and - Agrosilvopastorale systems.



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