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In the Thünen topic “Organic Farming”, we focus on three main areas:

  • Improvement of production systems: With our on-station research at the Trenthorst site and on-farm activities, we are working to further improve the production systems of organic animal husbandry and organic crop production.
  • Framework conditions for expansion: We are developing and analyzing various options suitable for achieving the political goal of "30 percent organic farming". In doing so, we look at various entry points, from food consumption to agricultural policy and food trade.
  • Change management in the sector: We also turn to the question of how organic farming should develop further so that it can continue to live up to its pioneering role under the future framework conditions.

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Die Blüte von Ackerbohnen
Strengthen the cultivation of legumes

Legumes are essential for Organic Farming: they stimulate soil fertility, fix atmospheric nitrogen as an important nitrogen source for arable farming and grassland, increase the diversity of crop rotations, and are the main feed protein sources in ...

Ein Schwein im Kleegras.
Do we have a welfare friendly animal husbandry?

How can we measure whether animals feel well? What options exist to evaluate animal welfare in livestock farming? Which political measures are effective in achieving improvements?

Obst im Bio-Supermarkt.
Current trends in the German organic sector

The organic food industry in Germany has experienced a steady growth over the last two decades. For the year 2022, the success-spoiled sector has recorded a decline in sales for the first time.

Bioland-Schild im Kornfeld mit Hinweis auf eine Erzeugerkreis-Kooperation mit Bioland-Bäckereien in Baden-Württemberg.
Organic farming in figures

How many farms are organic in Germany? Which federal states are in the lead in terms of the proportion of organically farmed land, and which are behind? And how does Germany compare with the rest of the EU?

Telefonische Verhandlung eines Bio-Bauern während der Erntearbeiten.
Income development in organic farming

"It's the economy, stupid!" - Bill Clinton's legendary saying also applies to the organic sector. Whether organic farmers invest in their farm or conventional colleagues consider switching to organic depends decisively on the farm income generated or ...

Schweine auf einer Wiese
Organic pig farming

Similar to conventional farming, organic pig farming is based on a specialisation on certain branches. Most farms specialise in piglet production or pig fattening. The "closed system", in which piglet production and fattening take place on the same ...

Hühner im Freiland
Organic chicken farming

Organic chicken farming produces eggs and chicken meat. These two branches of production are independent of each other when specialised breeds are used and are therefore usually operated separately. However, there are also farms that, for example, ...

Rinder auf einer Weide
Organic cattle farming

Organic cattle farming is used for the production of both milk and beef. Milk production and cattle fattening can take place separately on specialised farms, but also on the same farm.

Dreiteiliges Bild, rechts eine Kuh von hinten, mittig Hühner im Freiland, links ein Kopf eines Schweins
Special features of animal husbandry in organic farming

The ideal of organic farming is a closed nutrient cycle between soil, plants and animals. Animal husbandry is tied to the land, i.e. the farm itself should be the basis for both fodder and nutrients.

Organic goat husbandry

Professional goat husbandry requires a lot of experience in order to be animal-friendly, environmentally friendly and economical. This is especially true for the high expectations and demands of organic farming. But how does it work?

Keeping goats species-appropriate

Keeping goats in an animal-friendly way seems to be a matter of course in organic farming. However, it is by no means that simple and common. However, a high level of animal welfare and good performance do not have to contradict each other.

Mehrere Ziegen knabbern an einem Busch
The goat as gardener - biotope maintenance with goats

They like to bite woody plants, do not even stop at thorny undergrowth and can graze leaves standing on their hind legs if necessary - the goat is excellently suited for maintaining biotopes and keeping valuable open areas free.

Healthy udders for healthy goat milk

Dairy goats also suffer from udder inflammation. Unlike cows or dairy sheep, however, no method for assessing udder health is yet available for goats.

Control pasture parasites

Endoparasites are the biggest challenge in grazing ruminants. This is especially true for sheep and goats. Avoiding medication as much as possible and still keeping the animals healthy is a challenge for organic sheep and goat husbandry.

Wicken und Hafer wachsen zusammen auf einem Feld, die Wicken blühen lila
Public benefits of organic agriculture for environment and society

Organic agriculture provides numerous societal services for environmental protection and resource conservation. This is the result of a study by the Thünen Institute with other research partners published in 2019.


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