Institute of

Organic Farming


Annette Pontillo
Institute of Organic Farming

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

Kontrollstellennr.: DE-ÖKO-006


Research on Organic Farming for Tomorrow

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.

Goals 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

 (©  Jan Brinkmann)
Systems of 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)
Systems of 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)
Poultry systems
Organic poultry keeping is one of the most weaken systems in Organic Farming. In the last years, this system has been developed fast in numbers, but without solving the main problems. The main problems are in 100% organic diets, animal welfare and health, breeding and last but not least the efficient management of the systems. These problems have to solved without the risk to ignore consumer expecations and the goals of organic farming.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Claus Deblitz, Sonja Bystron)
Other Systems

Video about the Institute of Organic Farming