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Institute of

OF Organic Farming

Crop and fodder production

On the basis of soil fertility and the environmental conditions of Agronomy and Crop Science is the central production level of organic farming. It produces food for humans or feed for livestock. Organic farming synthetic chemical pesticides and the use of easily soluble mineral fertilizers are not allowed. This poses enormous challenges for the practice on product quality and production quantity. In the research the main focus is the development of improved processing techniques to produce more stable and high quality products. Priorities in research are nutrient management, control of pests, diseases and weeds and efficient working methods.

Ongoing projects

Winter vetch as preceding crop to maize and as silage for pigs

The object of the project is to test different varieties of the downy vetch (Vicia villosa), the Pannonian vetch (Vicia pannonica) and the Narbonne vetch (Vicia narbonensis) for their suitability for winter intercrop cultivation in Northern Germany, their preceding crop effect on maize and their suitability as high-protein, riboflavin-supplying feed for fattening pigs.

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Winter vetch as preceding crop to maize and as silage for pigs

Regulation of weeds in silage maize by using winter cash crops

Due to growing importance of silage maize cultivation in organic farming, attempts need to be made to find solutions to existing problems by developing suitable cultivation methods and crop rotations. Within this project the potential for weed regulation of mulch or no-till methods is to be examined.

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Regulation of weeds in silage maize by using winter cash crops

Optimization of intercropping for biomass production

Intercropping contributes to the biodiversification of cropping systems and often increases yield, as plants with different resource requirements are combined. We develop new intercropping systems for the Andean lupins with maize as well as for white lupins and oats for biomass production.

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Optimization of intercropping for biomass production

Peas, lupins and partners in field trials

Legumes are essential in the system of organic farming because of the nitrogen fixation and their function for the nutrient supply. They improve soil fertility, and provide a protein-rich feed stuff. In field trials with the focus of mixed cropping of grain legumes, especially the cultivation of blue lupins and peas we focused on yield optimisation and weed management. , We also evaluated the feed quality and their contribution to protein supply in organic animal husbandry.

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Peas, lupins and partners in field trials

Finished projects

Maize and beans in mixed cropping

In the future, the amount of on-farm or locally produced feedstuff should increase to ensure a sustainable protein supply for farm animals. In our project we analyze the potential of the mixed cropping of maize with runner or scarlet runner beans.

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Maize and beans in mixed cropping

Small grain legumes in organic feeds for pigs and poultry

The use of early harvested alfalfa and red clover (small grain legumes) as valuable feedstuff for pigs and poultry is studied. Both legumes are processed either to whole crop silage or to dried leaf mass.

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Small grain legumes in organic feeds for pigs and poultry

Making blue lupins more competitive

Blue lupines have due to their slow youth development only a low competitive ability against weeds. Lupin varieties with higher competitive ability could help to facilitate weed control. We want to develop a test system that detects the weed suppressive effect for Blue lupins, evaluates and helps to identify competitive strong breeding lines.

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Making blue lupins more competitive

Optimization of spring- and winter pea cultivation by intercropping and a reduced intensity of soil tillage

The agricultural advantages of mixed cultivation in low-input-systems are often demonstrated for the higher yield stability, a more effective weed suppression and a better use of the growth factors light, water and nutrients. We wanted to evaluate in the system of organic farming the mixed cropping especially under a simultaneous reduced intensity of soil cultivation in constricted crop rotations with grain legumes.

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Optimization of spring- and winter pea cultivation by intercropping and a reduced intensity of soil tillage

The future of grain legumes

The cultivation of legumes is declining in many European countries for many years, despite of a lot of positive properties, but they are usually economically not competitive with other crops. Therefore, cultivation systems with legumes need to be evaluated and developed further on.

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The future of grain legumes

Alternatives against the pollen beetle

For rapeseed cultivation in organic farming, pest infestation has up to now been an unpredictable, high risk. Because no biological plant protection agents are available in organic farming, alternatives are needed and should be sought.

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Alternatives against the pollen beetle

Delicious chips and French fries made from organic potatoes

For years consumers in Germany have been consuming more and more processed potato products, such as chips or potato crisps, than fresh potatoes. But the predominant proportion of organically produced potatoes is marketed as table potatoes, so that the proportion of processed organic potato products has up to now been low. Reasons for this are the high, specific required quality demands for potato processing and a low consumer demand for table potatoes.

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Delicious chips and French fries made from organic potatoes

Organic potatoes: Better and tastier

Organic potatoes are highly popular among consumers. At the same time, the requirements on quality are increasing. Quality is a complex concept and includes both the "external quality" and the "internal quality".

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Organic potatoes: Better and tastier

Unpopular guest in potatoes: wireworms

Wireworms, the larvae of click beetles, damage many agricultural and horticultural crops, including potatoes. In organic farming, it is not yet possible to combat this pest effectively.

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Unpopular guest in potatoes: wireworms

Compost against Rhizoctonia

The fungus Rhizoctonia solani causes various symptoms in potatoes, including black scurf, stem and stolon cankers on underground stems and stolons, and is a well-known, increasing problem in the cultivation of organic potatoes. Farmers suffer significant economic losses because highly infested potatoes are not marketable. This increasingly affects also the organic seed potatoes: if seed potatoes are infested by Rhizoctonia, the resulting potato harvest is also much more strongly infected.

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Compost against Rhizoctonia

Keeping after dock and thistles

Again and again root weeds, particularly dock species (Rumex spp.) in grassland and creeping thistles (Cirsium arvense) on the field, give organic farmers a hard fight. Both can spread quickly. Once they have gained a foothold, it is difficult to banish them again. We examined the factors that foster the spread and which measures will help to get rid of them.

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Keeping after dock and thistles

Organic farming in Korea

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Organic farming in Korea

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