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Thematic Focus

Our three fields of action diversification, digitalization and microbiome management require interdisciplinary collaboration with competences from numerous scientific disciplines such as agricultural, environmental, life, cognitive, engineering, data, systems, economic and social sciences. Researchers from various disciplines form working groups on different thematic core topics of the model farm:

Crop Production

The group will work, among other things, to widely diversify the range of species and varieties. Such novel cropping systems provide diverse foods with high-quality ingredients, accumulate carbon in the soil, fix nitrogen and thus reduce the need for synthetic N fertilizers, reduce the use of chemical pesticides and promote biodiversity. For example, large-grain legumes can serve for protein-rich food production and small-grain legumes in undersown crops, as well as fiber crops with multipurpose uses for human nutrition and biomaterial production. New cropping systems include agroforestry systems and cropping systems with flowering plants.

Animal Husbandry

Regionally adapted mixtures of livestock species and breeds are adapted to climatic conditions and feed supply, exhibit better health and a site-specific optimized performance level. Residual material flows from animal husbandry, such as liquid manure, are recirculated by means of a biogas plant, and the ingredients are recycled as close to the farm as possible. The partners aim to further improve animal welfare and health by means of sensor-based monitoring of individual animals and early detection of diseases and stress. Emissions are to be efficiently reduced on the basis of measurements, models and the control measures derived from them.


From diversified plant cultivation, new feedstocks are available for human nutrition that can be used to obtain high-quality food ingredients such as proteins and oils. In addition, we are planning plants for the cultivation of algae and the rearing of insects, which can be operated on the basis of residual materials and supplied with energy from the integrated biogas plant. These in turn can also be used in the biorefinery to produce biobased chemicals. For pilot-scale food processing, innovative non-thermal processes are implemented and demonstrated for increasing nutritional quality and shelf life, reducing food losses, saving energy and washing water.


In der dezentralen Bioraffinerie können Reststoffe sowohl aus dem Pflanzenbau als auch der Tierhaltung einer weiteren NutIn the decentralized biorefinery, residual materials from plant cultivation and animal husbandry can be put to further use and recycled. Here, for example, fibers can be obtained from farm and regional residues such as supernatant grass from landscape conservation or fermentation residues.

An important focus of work will be on the diversification of residual material treatment by means of modular biogas systems when residual materials can no longer be valorized or used elsewhere on the farm. This will be digitized and largely automated, using a real-time integrated sensor platform.

Blick auf einen Notebook-Monitor mit bunten Grafiken.

System Analysis

Die in dieser Arbeitsgruppe beteiligten The research institutions involved in this working group analyze and evaluate individual innovations and as entire process chains with regard to a comprehensive catalog of indicators, e.g.:

  • Material cycles (plant nutrients, water, etc.)
  • Biodiversity
  • Acceptance
  • Conflicting goals
Teilnehmende eines Feldtages stehen in einem Hanffeld.

Transfer & Innovation

Die Forschungsergebnisse werden für The research results are prepared and made available for different target groups by modern and new formats, e.g. for:

  • Practitioners, education/training
    • trainings, demonstrations
  • Interested public, politics/administration
    • guided tours
    • topic-specific event program