Institute of Organic Farming

Westerau, Germany

Institute of Organic Farming

Westerau, Germany

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Untenecker J.,Thunen Institute of Climate Smart Agriculture | Untenecker J.,Justus Liebig University | Tiemeyer B.,Thunen Institute of Climate Smart Agriculture | Freibauer A.,Thunen Institute of Climate Smart Agriculture | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2017

The tracking of land use since 1990 presents a major challenge in greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol because there is often limited availability of data, especially for the base year of 1990. There is even less land management and soil moisture data, which are needed to track climate change mitigation activities since soil moisture is one of the main drivers of GHG emissions of organic soils. Information is also needed for the reporting of land-based activities such as grazing land management or wetland drainage and rewetting of organic soils. Different spatial and thematic resolutions of land-use data produce inconsistent time series with a strong overestimation of land-use change (LUC) if not adequately accounted for. Our aim was to create a consistent time series of land use since 1990 that is in line with GHG reporting under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol by combining official cadastral data with colour-infrared aerial photography used for biodiversity monitoring in six federal states in northern and eastern Germany. We developed a generic hierarchical classification by land use, management and drainage status, and a translation key for data harmonisation into a consistent time series. This time series enabled the quantification of LUC on organic soils between 1992 and 2013 in a spatially explicit manner. Furthermore we used this time series to develop indicators for changes in land management and drainage to evaluate the success of protection statuses on peatland restoration. The study area encompassed one million hectares, half of which had some type of legal nature protection status. Areas with no protection status tended to become more intensively farmed and drier, while highly protected areas (e.g. Natura 2000) showed the opposite trend. Land-use trends also differed greatly between federal states. In Schleswig-Holstein organic soils tended to become drier during the study period, while in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania they tended to become wetter overall. The trends and differences in LUC between federal states were linked to German reunification, changes in the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Germany's Renewable Energy Act (EEG). A large-scale peatland protection programme also had major impact. In conclusion, our study demonstrates how data derived for biodiversity monitoring and other highly detailed land-use data can be used to track changes in land use, management and drainage status in accordance with the reporting requirements under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. © 2016 The Author(s)


Koesling M.,Norwegian Institute for Agricultural And Environmental Research Bioforsk | Koesling M.,Institute of Organic Farming | Loes A.-K.,Norwegian Institute for Agricultural And Environmental Research Bioforsk | Flaten O.,Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Organic Agriculture | Year: 2012

Every year since 2002, 150 to 200 farmers in Norway have deregistered from certified organic production. The aim of this study was to get behind these figures and improve our understanding of the reasoning leading to decisions to opt out. Four cases of deregistered organic farmers with grain, sheep, dairy or vegetable production were selected for in-depth studies. The cases were analysed from the perspective of individual competencies and the competencies available in the networks of the selected organic farmers. Besides the conspicuous reasons to opt out of certified organic farming, such as regulations getting stricter over time and low income, personal reasons such as disappointment and need for acceptance were also important. This shows that hard mechanisms, such as economic support and premium prices, are not sufficient to motivate farmers for sustained organic management. Support and encouragement, for example from people in the local community, politicians and other spokespersons, would likely contribute to increase farmers' motivation. © 2012 Springer Science & Business Media BV.


Larsen T.,University of Aarhus | Aulrich K.,Institute of Organic Farming
Journal of Dairy Research | Year: 2012

Activity of the enzyme β-glucuronidase (EC 3.2.1.31) is found in milk from ruminants with mastitis. However, the use of this enzymic activity as an indicator of mastitis has gained little attention possibly because of its low activity when compared with other mastitis indicators. The determination may therefore be less precise and the analytical procedure very time consuming and labour intensive. The present study optimized the fluorometric determination of the β-glucuronidase activity with respect to substrate concentration, pH, incubation time etc., validated the assay, and developed it into large scale analyses. The assay performance is satisfactory regarding precision, linearity etc., and it appears comparable to analogous fluorometric assays for mastitis indicators in milk. From a local dairy herd, 825 milk samples were analysed for potential mastitis indicators, i.e. β-glucuronidase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (AP), and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase (NAGase) activity, and for somatic cell counts (SCC) and the variables were compared. Activity of β-glucuronidase was moderately but significantly correlated to SCC (r=0·21; n=768) as well as the other mentioned variables (r=0·25-0·43; n=825). Simple indices based on β-glucuronidase and LDH or NAGase activity were tested as indicators of mastitis (SCC), but were not found to improve the diagnostic value. Future studies may further verify whether β-glucuronidase can compete with well-established indicators of mastitis in cows such as LDH or NAGase as well as determine whether β-glucuronidase activity, in combination with other indicators of mastitis, has an advantage. Nineteen milk samples from subclinical and latent cases of mastitis (individual quarters) were identified for specific pathogens (PCR method) and measured for β-glucuronidase activity. The activity was tested at four different pH levels (5·5, 6·0, 6·5 and 7·0) in order to investigate the possibility of discrimination between pathogens. However, all milk samples (strains of pathogens) had the same pH optimum for β-glucuronidase activity; this may indicate that enzymic activity from mammary tissue and leucocytes dominates over enzyme activity from bacterial cells. © 2011 Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research.


Ashour T.,Benha University | Ashour T.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Georg H.,Institute of Organic Farming | Wu W.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Applied Thermal Engineering | Year: 2011

This work focuses on the determination of equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of natural plaster materials for straw bale buildings. Earth plasters of four different compositions of cohesive soil and sand combined with reinforcement of three different natural fibre types, wheat straw, barley straw and wood shavings, were investigated. The plaster materials were treated under different temperature (10-40 °C) and relative humidity (43-95%). The moisture content is in dynamic equilibrium with environmental condition. The effect of relative humidity is more pronounced than temperature. The test results are discussed with reference to the relevance of the earth plasters as rendering for straw bale buildings. Guggenheim-Anderson-de Boer (GAB) model is used to fit the experimental data. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ashour T.,Benha University | Wieland H.,Dipl Biol Institute Of Production Engineering And Building Research | Georg H.,Institute of Organic Farming | Bockisch F.-J.,Institute of Production Engineering and Building Research | Wu W.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Materials and Design | Year: 2010

This work aimed to measure the thermal conductivity of some natural plaster materials that could be used for straw bale buildings. Thermal conductivity is very important to determine the insulation value and other thermal parameters for natural plaster materials. Plaster materials consisted of soil, sand and straw. Straw is used as a reinforcement fibre for plaster. Three types of fibres were used such as wheat straw, barley straw and wood shavings. The results indicated that the thermal conductivity of all materials decreased with increasing straw fibre content and decreased with increasing sand content. The straw fibres have greater effect on the change of thermal conductivity than the effect of sand. The results also revealed that plaster reinforced by barley straw fibres has the highest values of thermal insulation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Ashour T.,Benha University | Georg H.,Institute of Organic Farming | Wu W.,University of Vienna
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2011

This research aimed to evaluate a straw bale house located in Bavaria, Germany. An extensive test program was carried out. The experimental work includes compression tests, moisture content, thermal stability of bales and pH. The in situ work includes temperature and relative humidity inside the straw bale wall. The stress-strain behavior of straw bales was investigated including nonlinearity and anisotropy. Thermal stability of bales under constant temperature and relative humidity was studied considering time dependence. The moisture content of straw bale was about 11%, while pH value inside the bale was about 7.29. Moreover, the temperature and the relative humidity between the interior (inside straw bale wall) and the exterior were investigated. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Channagouda R.F.,Hiriyur University of Agricultural and Horticultural science | Babalad H.B.,Hiriyur University of Agricultural and Horticultural science | Patil R.K.,Hiriyur University of Agricultural and Horticultural science | Patil R.K.,Institute of Organic Farming
Research on Crops | Year: 2015

The field experiment was carried out at MARS, Dharwad during kharif 2010-11 and 2011-12 to study the impact of organic farming practices on yield and economics of organic production system. The results of two years' pooled data revealed that combined application of compost (50%)+vermicompost (50%) equivalent to RDF+green leaf manure as mulch with application of jeevamrutha @ 500 l/ha recorded higher kapas yield (1640 kg) and it was superior over RDF alone (1522 kg/ha). Combined application of crop residue (50%)+vermicompost (50%) equivalent to RDN with lucerne with jeevamrutha @ 500 l/ha surface application recorded significantly higher net returns (Rs. 60009/ha) over other combinations.


Warnecke S.,Institute of Organic Farming | Paulsen H.M.,Institute of Organic Farming | Schulz F.,University of Kiel | Rahmann G.,Institute of Organic Farming
Organic Agriculture | Year: 2014

Feed and manure composition and qualities in an organic and conventional dairy farm network in Germany (22 farm pairs) were analysed. Related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from enteric fermentation and from animal excretions were calculated by using two methods each. Feeding and feedstuff quality were farm specific. On average, organic dairy cows received significantly less concentrates, maize silage and straw and significantly more pasture and hay than conventional dairy cows. No differences were found for feeding grass silage. Results for methane (CH4) emissions from enteric fermentation depended strongly on the calculation methodology. They were higher when feed quality was considered as an input parameter (average GHG emissions 3822 and 3759 kg CO2-eq. cow−1a−1on organic and conventional farms) as opposed to when only feed intake was considered (2852 and 3112 kg CO2-eq. cow−1a−1). Differences between the methods were particularly prominent when high amounts of fibre-rich feedstuff were used and, with regard to product-related emissions, at lower milk yields. GHG emissions from manure are also directly connected with feed intake and quality. Manure qualities and storage conditions on the farms were highly variable. On average, the related GHG emission potential was similar in liquid and solid manures (32 kg CO2-eq. t−1fresh matter). Since feed quality management on farms influences milk yield, enteric CH4emissions and manure composition, it should be part of advisory concepts that aim at reducing GHG emissions in milk production. Technical changes in manure storage and handling offer an additional GHG reduction potential. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Barth K.,Institute of Organic Farming | Aulrich K.,Institute of Organic Farming | Muller U.,University of Bonn | Knappstein K.,Max Rubner Institute
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2010

Based on a repeated sampling the influence of an intramammary infection on the somatic cell count (SCC), the content of lactoferrin (Lf) and the activity of N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase (NAGase) in goats' milk was investigated. 58 dairy goats (German Improved Fawn) were sampled weekly over 3 consecutive weeks and the udder halves were classified according to the results of the bacteriological analysis of the foremilk samples and the results of their parallel half into three groups: uninfected halves with an uninfected parallel half (NoInf/NoInf), uninfected halves with an infected parallel half (NoInf/Inf) and infected halves with an uninfected parallel half (Inf/NoInf). None of the goats had two infected halves, thus, this group was omitted. 15 out of the 58 goats were infected on one udder half. The bacteria detected were Staphylococcus aureus (n=4), coagulase-negative staphylococci (n=7), corynebacteria (n=3) and esculin-positive streptococci (n=1). Log 10SCC, log 10Lf and log 10NAGase were strongly correlated to each other and changed over the sampling period but not uniformly, revealing a significant effect of the sampling day on the variables (F 6,98=29.13, p<001). This could not be explained by an underlying effect due to the stage of lactation or the estrus season the animals were in, and therefore needs further investigation. The infection status had a significant effect on log 10SCC (F 2,103=20.22, p<001), log 10Lf (F 2,103=11.18, p<001) and log 10NAGase (F 2,103=12.06, p<001). Inf/NoInf differed significantly from NoInf/NoInf as well as NoInf/Inf for log 10SCC (p<01) and log 10Lf (p<001) whereas the NoInf/NoInf did not differ from NoInf/Inf indicating that the infected halves did not influence their uninfected parallel half. For log 10NAGase this was different: infected halves differed significantly from NoInf/NoInf (p<01) but not from NoInf/Inf which might be caused by a dependency of the udder halves.Results support the approach to monitor mastitis in goats by means of Lf or NAGase instead of SCC. Further studies should explore the effect of other independent variables, such as estrus, on these indicators and aim for thresholds indicating an intramammary infection. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Kalber T.,Institute of Organic Farming | Barth K.,Institute of Organic Farming
Landbauforschung Volkenrode | Year: 2014

The growing public awareness of practices in livestock production systems leads to an increased doubt on the existing methods and emphasizes a demand to be closer to nature in livestock production. In most dairy production systems cow and calf are separated immediately after birth discouraging all aspects of maternal behavior. In suckling systems cow and young are allowed to spend time together, so the calf is able to suck on its dam and species-specific behavior can be displayed. This article focuses on the different suckling systems established in organic dairy systems and their effects on cow and calf. The beneficial effect on calf growth and the decrease in the occurrence of abnormal behavior (cross-suck- ing on other calves) when calves are reared with the dam, are scientifically reported, whereas the improved health status, which farmers give as main reason for introducing dam rearing, could not be verified yet. Concerns arise in regard to cow health and milk yield, since milk ejection can be impaired and therefore less milk is obtained at milking. Also the process of weaning poses more difficulties in dam rearing due to breaking the strong bond between mother and young. Based on the current state of scientific research, foster cow systems with additional milking might be a promising alternative: calves can satisfy their sucking motivation and have social contact to mothers/adult cows; on the other hand, weaning stress might be reduced and milking the cows when suckling calves could lead to an increased total milk production. However, a comparison between dam rearing and foster cow systems, also including economical traits, is still missing, and recommendations have to be made with care. Further research is needed to reconcile consumers' demands and the possibilities of farmers using such systems.

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