Current Research Projects
Coordination in collaborative research projects
- Ensuring multifunctionality in forage production through species richness in intensive grasslands (Simultan-G-2030) - Projectpart A Details, project coordinator: Martin Komainda
- GreenGrass - Innovative grassland utilization for sustainable agricultural intensification at the landscape scale Details, project coordinator: Johannes Isselstein, Juliane Horn
- Ensuring multifunctionality in forage production through species richness in intensive grasslands (Simultan-G-2030) Details
- BioDivMilkplus - Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2028: Development of broad solutions for reduced concentrate dairy farming to protect grassland for different intensity levels of dairy farming with synergies with nature, environmental and climate protection Details
- Joint project climate protection concept district Wesermarsch / land use - agricultural land use in climate change. Details
- 4N - New North-West Lower Saxony: Transformation and Structural Change in rural areas of North-West-Germany: Living Labs in Marshes, Petland and on Sandy Soils and more. Details
- FPG - FutureProofGrasslands: Promoting Ecosystem services in Grassland regions of the North-West-German Coastal Areas through Water management adapted to Climate Change. Details
- G4AE - Grazing for Agroecology: innovative practices and systems for grazing-based farming systems through linking farming practice and scienceDetails
- Animal Welfare on Pasture - Improving Animal Welfare of Dariy CowsDetails
- RINGO – Root production is determined by grazing induced patchiness in temperate low-input semi-natural grassland irrespective of grazing intensityDetails
- NEffMais– Sensor and model-based quantification of N demand and N supply to increase NEefficiency in maize cultivationDetails
- SUPER-G – Sustainable Permanent GrasslandsDetails
- GreenGrass - Innovative grassland utilization for sustainable agricultural intensification at the landscape scale Details
... can be found here
Ensuring multifunctionality in forage production through species richness in intensive grasslands (Simultan-G-2030)
Martin Komainda (Projektleitung), Johannes Isselstein, Jürgen Hummel (Ruminant Nutrition)
The project is supported (was supported) by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) under the innovation support programme. Duration: 01.04.2023-31.05.2026
Joint Project between Georg-August-University Göttingen (Grassland Science and Ruminant Nutrition WKE)
and Gemeinschaft zur Förderung von Pflanzeninnovation e. V. GFPi
DSV Deutsche Saatveredelung GmbH DSV
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Department of Genebank, Research Group Resources Genetics and Reproduction IPK
P.H. Petersen Saatzucht PHP
Species-rich grasslands provide multiple ecosystem services (ES) simultaneously. The range of plant species used in intensive grassland management for dairy cattle is limited to a few representatives of the grasses and legumes. Many leguminous and non-leguminous dicotyledonous plant species have not been cultivated so far, they are hardly considered in cultivation and officially not recommended at all. Dicot plant species have a high forage value, are often more drought tolerant than grasses due to deep roots and contain secondary metabolites. These properties are crucial in the case of expected increasing drought (deep roots) and for reducing methane emissions from ruminants (secondary constituents). A central problem of these hitherto little-known, minor dicotyledonous plant species is the insufficient knowledge of the agronomic and qualitative properties as well as the prospects for further breeding work, because there is largely a lack of clarity on the intra-specific variation of the ES of individual plant species. The proposed collaborative project therefore pursues the goal of establishing and utilising species-rich grassland in order to simultaneously provide important ES through improved breeding varieties in adapted novel mixtures or through strip cropping. Selected species with valuable traits are identified in a systematic approach and the intra-specific variability of traits is determined and described in a "pre-breeding" approach. In particular, the ES focus on biodiversity (flowering range), drought tolerance (stomatal conductance), plant secondary metabolites (PSM such as tannins), persistence, winter hardiness, competitive vigour and establishment success, as well as forage quality, yield and biological nitrogen fixation. A cultivation protocol of each species is prepared specifically.
BioDivMilkplus - Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2028: Development of broad solutions for reduced concentrate dairy farming to protect grassland for different intensity levels of dairy farming with synergies with nature, environmental and climate protection
Martin Komainda (Projektleitung), Johannes Isselstein
Species-rich grassland is crucial for maintaining biodiversity in the agricultural landscape and provides a wide range of other environmental services. In order to stop the loss of biodiversity in grassland, improve its condition and increase climate and environmental protection, grassland management that is diversified and characterized by a high degree of structural diversity in agriculture must be significantly strengthened. The overarching goal of the BioDivMilkplus project is to show that and how milk production systems with reduced concentrate feed can make an elementary contribution to this. The R&D project is being carried out by the Kassel Institute for Rural Development e.V. (KI) and the Department of Crop Sciences, Grassland Science. The University of Göttingen carries out analyzes of a number of relevant environmental services at the level of the managed grassland of the milk production branch of farms in North- and Southern Germany and the Kassel Institute analyzes of the potential multifunctional services at the operational level of practical milk production farms that use reduced concentrate feeding. During the three-year project period, there will be collaboration with 40 test farms already involved in the R&D project BioDiVMilk (FKZ 3517 840300; period: 2017-2021). Recommendations and guidelines are derived from the results of the overall project, which show ways of strengthening reduced concentrate feed production systems combined with the highest possible multifunctional performance. In addition, the project will propose regulatory changes for national and European agricultural policies post-CAP 2023-2027.
Projectpartner: Kasseler Institut für Ländliche Entwicklung e.V./Projektbüro Gleichen
Funded by Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BFN)
Joint project climate protection concept district Wesermarsch / land use - agricultural land use in climate change
Using the example of the district of Wesermarsch, possibilities for optimizing climate protection measures through grazing are being scientifically examined. Both plant cultivation measures (e.g. types and composition of forage plants) and measures of adapted herd management for grazing (grazing systems, grazing times) are examined with regard to their effects on carbon storage or the reduction of carbon emissions, taking into account other ecosystem services. A distinction is made here between short-term (time horizon 1-10 years) and long-term effects (10-30 years). On this basis, options for action are to be developed, their implementation options evaluated and research needs identified. The project is transdisciplinary; Actors in the value chain are involved in the work in the sense of a co-creation process.
Funded by Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (MWK)
4N - New North-West Lower Saxony: Transformation and Structural Change in rural areas of North-West-Germany: Living Labs in Marshes, Petland and on Sandy Soils and more.
Johannes Isselstein, Karen Baumann (PI) Manfred Kayser (Projektleitung)
4N pursues the goal of initiating, accompanying and evaluating social, technological and ecological transformations in the regional framework of Northwest Lower Saxony towards future-oriented, sustainable living conditions in order to react to the current structural change and to generate answers. For this purpose, technological possibilities (digitilization), agricultural developments, economic fields of activity such as tourism and logistics as well as topics of education and services of general interest in health and care are examined against their respective socio-cultural background and their social organization (governance). The sub-project Agricultural Structural Change and Adaptation to Climate Change deals with the following topics: (i) Determination of the regional effects of climate trends for agriculture from supra-regional model calculations, (ii) Identification of innovative potential of regenerative energies for agricultural applications, (iii) Possibilities of increasing biological diversity in rural areas by using shoulder strips for photovoltaics, exploration and experiments
Funded by Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (MWK)
FPG - FutureProofGrasslands: Promoting Ecosystemservices in Grasslandregions of the North-West-German Coastal Areas through Watermanagement adapted to Climate Change.
Johannes Isselstein (PI), Manfred Kayser (PI), Martin Komainda
FPG investigates the question of the transformation of the system of inland drainage towards an integrated water management, which, in addition to drainage in the event of excess water, also takes into account the forward-looking water retention to avoid water shortages during future increasing drought periods. For this it is necessary to improve the water retention in the entire catchment area and to develop comprehensive concepts for the landscape water balance at the level of the drainage association. All affected groups are included in the future design of an integrated water management. Specifically, FPG is investigating whether there is a new, 'future-proof' approach to adapting water management to more frequent drought periods in the north-west German coastal regions through temporary water retention. The sub-project 'production systems in grassland' deals with the following topics: (i) analysis of production systems and their performance under real conditions along relevant gradients of water conditions and farm structure, (ii) experimental development of adapted production systems in practical pilot projects. Various production systems are tested under varying water levels and different fertilization systems with their effects on performance, forage quality and turf structure.
Funded by Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (MWK)
Young Farmers Tour 2023 Germany
G4AE - Grazing for Agroecology: innovative practices and systems for grazing-based farming systems through linking farming practice and science
Dietrun Thielecke (PhD student), Friederike Riesch, Martin Komainda (PIs), Johannes Isselstein (Projektleitung)
The project G4AE connects practice and science to provide suitable options for farmers to improve grazing based livestock farming. Agroecology is presented as an existing and promising development towards sustainable agriculture. The project analyses the status quo of grazing in the participating countries and aims to optimise grazing on the basis of several surveys. Grazing innovations are in demand to be spread in the grazing sector to enhance sustainability of agroecosystems. Positive effects for environment, livestock and society are focussed as well as producing high quality food with less impact on natural resources. This approach will allow grazing to better contribute to the strategies Green Deal and Farm to Fork. Participating countries: Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden
Funded by EU (EU HORIZON)
Funding period 01.09.2022-31.03.2026
Animal Welfare on Pasture - Improving Animal Welfare of Dariy Cows
Kilian Obermeyer (PhD student), Martin Komainda, Johannes Isselstein, Manfred Kayser (Projektleitung)
Grazing is associated with risks for animal welfare: this affects, among other things, the provision of sufficient feed quantities and qualities, the supply of water of good quality or heat stress. The aim of the project is to develop criteria and parameters for animal welfare in grazing. Ultimately, this is intended to improve the profitability of milk production based on grazing and at the same time ensure that high animal welfare standards are guaranteed. At the same time, an operationalization of the evaluation of animal welfare on the pasture, in particular the freedom from hunger and thirst, should take place. The teaching of the methods is aimed at a wide range of companies, from innovators to the late majority, through a portfolio of communication strategies adapted to the target groups.
Funded by Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (BLE)
RINGO – Root production is determined by grazing induced patchiness in temperate low-input semi-natural grassland irrespective of grazing intensity
Martin Komainda (PI), Johannes Isselstein
The project expects to advance the knowledge of patch-specific within pasture variability on the above- and belowground net primary production and its turnover to obtain precise estimates of processes involved in topsoil soil carbon cycling in extensive grassland. It expects advancement in methodological aspects of root and turnover assessments and to provide transfer function between in situ observations and actual carbon input. It further expects to advance knowledge of machine learning assisted image processing of root observations. The planned work aims to provide a basis for understanding, which will be deepened in possible follow-up projects in other long-term experimental platforms under varying environmental conditions. In particular, the DFG-funded biodiversity exploratories (Socher et al., 2013) as well as the oldest long-term grazing experiment in Europe 'Oldrichov' in the Czech Republic (Pavlu et al., 2006) would be points of contact for follow-up phases.
Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
NEffMais– Sensor and model-based quantification of N demand and N supply to increase NEefficiency in maize cultivation
Martin Komainda (PI), Johannes Isselstein, Manfred Kayser
Joint Research Project between Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (Institut für Pflanzenbau und Pflanzenzüchtung, Abteilung Pflanzenbau) CAU
and Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Fachinformation Pflanzenbau LLH
Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen, Fachbereich 3.9 Grünland und Futterbau LK NDS
Associated industrypartnerJohn Deere Walldorf GmbH & Co KG, European Technology Innovation Center John Deere
Silage maize is the most important crop for energy production in Germany. Inaccurate estimates of the N requirement of the maize crop and the N supply from the soil often result in excessive N fertilisation and low N efficiency. This is associated with considerable N losses to the atmosphere and groundwater. The aim of the project is therefore a more precise quantification of N supply and N demand in maize cultivation by means of sensor data and modelling.
In a two-year field trial at three environments (cooperation partners: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen), the relevant N pathways are recorded by means of drone-based crop monitoring, plant sampling and surveys of the nitrogen and soil water balance dynamics. The effects of different annual weather conditions, locations, maize varieties, forms of fertilisation (mineral/organic) and fertilisation rates are investigated. Empirical regression models are to be developed using the results of historical N-increase trials, which characterise the relationship between yield and optimal N supply, as well as between site and cultivation parameters and N replenishment. Process-oriented, dynamic models will also enable an estimation of the weather effect on maize yield and N replenishment. The project should thus contribute to the development of site- and year-specific and thus resource-saving maize cultivation systems.
Financial support: Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR)
SUPER-G – Sustainable Permanent Grasslands
Caroline Siede (PhD Student), Martin Komainda, Johannes Isselstein Bettina Tonn (principal investigators), Anja Schmitz
The existence and management of permanent grasslands (PG) is key to the delivery of multiple ecosystem services (ES) across Europe. However, PG maintenance and functions are under threat from sub-optimal management of inputs, cultivation in higher output farming systems and abandonment in remote and marginal areas. The overall objective of the SUPER-G project is to co-develop sustainable PG systems and policies with farmers and policy makers that will be effective in optimising productivity, whilst supporting biodiversity and delivering a number of other ES.
SUPER-G will apply a multi-actor approach, working with farmers; land owners/managers and their advisers; third sector and civil society groups; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and researchers, policy and business communities to achieve:
1) better understanding of the importance and functioning of PG;
2) benchmarking of PG performance across Europe;
3) co-development of integrated approaches for profitable and sustainable PG management4) co-development of tools and policy mechanisms, which are inclusive of stakeholder and citizen priorities, to support the maintenance and sustainable management of PG.
The project will last five years to allow time for the establishment of farm networks for data gathering and analysis; and the development of good grassland practices, innovative techniques and farm-level and policy support tools.
Using a responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach, the project will develop a comprehensive European grassland typology and a shared conceptual model of how PG can deliver in terms of productivity, biodiversity and other ES such as climate regulation, water quality, mediation of water flows and erosion control. The potential of PG to deliver multiple ES will be informed by benchmarking and testing, involving a network of farms and experimental platforms in 14 countries covering the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Continental, Alpine, Pannonian and Boreal regions.
Funding: EU Horizon 2020
Project duration: 2018-2023
GreenGrass - Innovative grassland utilization for sustainable agricultural intensification at the landscape scale
Juliane Horn (PI), Martin Komainda, Friederike Riesch, Johannes Isselstein (PI)
Conception of a transdisciplinary collaborative research project to develop innovative grazing systems that will secure and enhance the provision of ecosystem services.
Funded by: Federal Ministry for Education and Science (BMBF)
Project duration: 2019-2024