Who was the first agronomist

Faculty of Agricultural Sciences

The Dean of Studies has created a list with the current status of the modules for the summer semester 2021 (status May 3, 2021). There you can find out if and how the modules take place in the summer semester. This list is continuously updated. In addition, the Dean of Studies has issued recommendations for the design of exams for WS 20/21.

The office of the student dean has compiled a list of the current status of the upcoming courses in the summer term 2021 (last update: 3.5.2021). The list provides information about how (and if) courses will be conducted in the summer term. The list is being updated continuously.

Animals, plants, economy - what is it like to study agricultural sciences in Göttingen? This short film of the faculty, which was made with the participation of students, provides an insight for prospective students:

"Pandemic" on the beet field

The spread of invasive species is often a consequence of global change and poses major challenges for agriculture. In a new research project, the University of Göttingen, together with the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) and the Association for the Promotion of Plant Innovation e.V., is investigating the biology of the reed glass-winged cicada. The small insect is the carrier of the new, bacterial disease Syndrome Basse Richesse (SBR), which is increasingly endangering sugar beet cultivation in Germany. Last year alone, the infested area increased dramatically to 20,000 hectares compared to the previous year. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is funding the “Penta-Resist” project for three years with a total of around 600,000 euros, with a further 100,000 euros being contributed by the work of the seed breeding companies involved. more...

On the trail of the secret of the cocoa pollinators

The importance of pollinators for successful harvests and thus for global food security is widely recognized. However, it is often not clear who exactly the pollinators are - even in the case of important crops such as cocoa. In addition, little research has been done to date on how the plantations should be protected and managed in order to increase the pollinator populations and their pollination performance. A research team led by the University of Göttingen in central Sulawesi, Indonesia, discovered that ants and flies - and not midges, as previously assumed - play a decisive role in the pollination of cocoa plants. The scientists found that promoting biodiversity and the preservation of leaf litter and shade trees in agroforestry systems are important in order to promote the very small pollinators of cocoa trees. The results have been published in the journal Biological Conservation. more...

As regionally and sustainably as possible - food consumption in the pandemic

For the third time, researchers at the University of Göttingen asked consumers in Germany about their shopping, eating and cooking behavior, as well as their perception that the food system was resilient to crises during the corona pandemic. The results confirm the key statements of the first two surveys: sustainability aspects are increasingly important to many people when buying groceries, and they also prefer goods from local agricultural production. The current study also shows new developments, such as the increased perception of stress among young people. The results of the third survey were published in a discussion paper at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at the University of Göttingen. more...

Global sustainability: International research team advocates a combination of organic farming and genetic engineering

For more sustainability on a global level, EU legislation should be changed and the use of gene scissors in organic farming should be allowed. This is what an international research team with the participation of the Universities of Bayreuth and Göttingen calls for in an article for the journal Trends in Plant Science.
In May 2020 the EU Commission presented the “Farm-to-Fork” strategy, which is part of the “European Green Deal”. The aim is to make European agriculture and the food system more sustainable. In particular, the share of organic farming in agriculture within the EU is to be increased to 25 percent by 2030. However, if the current EU legal situation remains, this increase in no way guarantees more sustainability, as the current study by scientists from Bayreuth, Göttingen, Düsseldorf, Heidelberg, Wageningen, Alnarp and Berkeley shows. more ... + Blog post by Prof. Qaim and Prof. Purnhagen on AgrarDebatten

"Science moves": maize, grass and beet pulp: how we best feed dairy cows

There are currently over 4.2 million dairy cows in Germany, 870,000 of them in Lower Saxony. The question of their correct diet is therefore of central importance for animals and humans. How easy is the feed to digest? How energetic should it be? Which ingredients are suitable so that the cow is also doing well? The livestock scientist Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hummel from the University of Göttingen examines these questions in his research:

Dr. Dr. Kurt Christian Kersebaum becomes honorary professor at the University of Göttingen
Internationally recognized expert in the field of modeling of water and nitrogen dynamics joins the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences

The University of Göttingen appointed Dr. Dr. Kurt Christian Kersebaum appointed honorary professor. Prof. Kersebaum is an internationally recognized expert in the field of modeling water and nitrogen dynamics, soil-plant interactions and the effects of climate change. He will pass on his experience in the field of modeling agar ecosystems to young scientists and students as part of his course at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. The inaugural lecture by Prof. Kersebaum will be held as part of a faculty event on October 27, 2021 occur. more...

What consumers value when buying beef

Research team at the University of Göttingen is investigating the marketing potential of husbandry and breed Dual-purpose grazing beef is a product with promising potential for market differentiation. So far, however, little is known about whether consumers would buy the product and would be willing to pay more for it. In a study, a research team from the University of Göttingen examined preferences and willingness to pay when buying beef. The results have been published in the journal Meat Science.

The team interviewed around 500 consumers from Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. They examined the criteria of production method, place of production, type of husbandry, breed and price. The result: grazing on nature reserves and "normal" grazing are important product characteristics when buying beef. In addition, consumers see added value when the meat comes from a dual-purpose breed, i.e. from animals that are bred for both milk and meat production.

Talking to Each Other: How to Make the Animal Farming Debate Constructive

The way animals are kept in agriculture is increasingly being criticized by society. The discussions are controversial and the tone is rough. There are hardly any studies on how communication takes place and what is a good strategy for being accepted by the other person and in public. Researchers at the University of Göttingen have therefore examined different types of communication and illustrated them with practical examples from the debate on agricultural animal husbandry. This makes it easier to understand the different strategies and apply them individually. The study was published in the German Journal of Agricultural Economics. Above all, it offers assistance to those involved in public relations work and political debates in the agricultural and food industry.

“If used correctly, communication can be a powerful tool to achieve understanding in the other person. But it also quickly leads to the hardening of fronts, as can currently be observed in the debate about animal husbandry, ”says first author Dr. Winnie Sonntag from the working group Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products at the University of Göttingen. The team derives four basic types of communication strategies from communication research: reactive-passive, reactive-offensive, active-symmetrical and active-dialogical. In this order, the willingness to change one's own (communication) behavior and to advocate a transformation of animal husbandry increases.

Organic farming and bee health

Diverse landscapes, flower strips and organic farming can have a positive effect on bees and other pollinators in the agricultural landscape. A new research project at the Universities of Göttingen and Halle is now investigating the effects that various combinations of these measures can have on the diversity, population development and health of bees. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture is funding the “Combee” project for three years with a total of around 700,000 euros.

The focus of the joint project is on studies of biological interactions across several levels of the food web and how these interactions change in different land use scenarios. "For example, we want to find out how the availability of flowers in the various types of land use affects the interactions between plants and pollinators," says Prof. Dr. Catrin Westphal, Head of the Functional Agrobiodiversity Department at the University of Göttingen, "and how these change with the availability of flowering resources and nesting sites in ecologically managed areas, near-natural habitats and flower strips." More ...

Joint project OptiKult starts: IfZ participates in the development of innovative methods for mechanical and chemical weed control

Successful sugar beet cultivation depends on effective weed control. So far, weeds have mainly been regulated chemically. Chemical pesticides are the subject of public criticism. With innovative techniques and technologies, herbicide applications could be reduced by more than half in the future. The aim of the OptiKult project is to further develop these techniques until they are ready for practical use.

The joint project "Optimization of processes combining chemical-mechanical and mechanical weed control in row crops (OptiKult)" is funded for three years by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The project sponsorship is provided by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) as part of the innovation promotion program. Parliamentary State Secretary Hans-Joachim Fuchtel presented the grant notification at a video conference on February 11th. He emphasized the relevance of the project approach for the solution of conflicting goals in agriculture: The aim is to secure yields and at the same time reduce the use of pesticides through a combination of chemical and mechanical weed control with geo-referenced seed placement. more...

Rapeseed or strawberry? Solitary bees are not that easily distracted

Bees visit various plant species in the agricultural landscape. Their foraging behavior can, however, be influenced by both the species of plant and their preferences. Researchers from the University of Göttingen and the Julius-Kühn Institute have found that social bees, such as honey bees and bumblebees, were less likely to be found in the strawberry field when the landscape was particularly blooming with rapeseed. However, more isolated wild bees, so-called solitary bees, could be observed in the field. The results of the study have appeared in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

For the study, the researchers observed bees in strawberry fields in the Göttingen and Kassel area. In addition, an experiment was carried out to investigate the importance of insect pollination. To do this, flowers were marked during the flowering period, some of which were left open so that insects could visit them, and others were packed in small bags to prevent insects from visiting. Each strawberry was then weighed and the quality determined. more...

Local chicken breeds and domestic feed - a sustainable alternative for poultry production?

Agricultural scientists from the University of Göttingen and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute have investigated whether the use of local chicken breeds and their crossings, as well as feeding with domestic broad beans instead of imported soy, could represent an alternative for poultry production. In the three-year project, two local breeds and parent animals from commercial poultry breeding and their crossings were characterized in terms of fattening and laying performance.

"The aim was not just to look at an isolated aspect, but to analyze the entire value chain from the suitability of the breeds and forage plants to animal health and product quality to consumer expectations," says Prof. Dr. Henner Simianer from the Department of Animal Breeding and Pet Genetics at the University of Göttingen, who coordinated the project. In the project, feed was used whose protein component consisted primarily of domestic broad beans instead of imported soy meal. Contrary to earlier reports, the anti-nutritional substances contained in the broad bean proved to be unproblematic in the animals examined here and did not have any adverse effects on animal health or product quality. more...

  • Film about the project
  • Presentation about the project

  • Early vaccination of piglets against boar odor

    Researchers from the Thünen Institute of Organic Farming and the University of Göttingen have for the first time tested a very early vaccination in male piglets in order to avoid boar odor when eating meat. The project team collected extensive data on the effects on fattening performance, on meat and fat quality, and on the behavior and well-being of the animals. The results of the study were published in the journal Animals.

    A total of 109 pigs were vaccinated with Improvac © in three test runs either very early, i.e. in the 3rd and 7th week of life, or conventionally during fattening in the 12th and 19th week of life. The development of boar odor was reliably inhibited in over 90 percent of the test animals. The production performance and the behavior and well-being of the animals did not differ between the two vaccination methods. In terms of meat and fat quality, there were no notable differences from the conventional use of immunocastration during fattening. more...

    Prof. Spiller is the new chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy, Nutrition and Consumer Health Protection at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

    Prof. Dr. Achim Spiller, Professor of Agricultural and Food Marketing at the University of Göttingen, has been elected as the new chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Agricultural Policy, Nutrition and Consumer Health Protection (WBAE), replacing the long-standing chairman Prof. Dr. Harald Grethe (Humboldt University Berlin). Mr. Spiller has been a member of the WBAE for six years. Deputy chairmen of the 18-member advisory committee are the director of the Thünen Institute of Business Administration, Prof. Dr. Hiltrud Nieberg, and the Vice President of the German Nutrition Society (DGE), Prof. Britta Renner, health psychologist at the University of Konstanz.

    In addition to the election of a new chairman, new advisory boards have been appointed to further strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of the committee ... more

    New managing director for CiBreed: Henner Simianer hands over to Tim Beissinger

    The executive board of the Center for Integrated Breeding Research (CiBreed) has elected Prof. Dr. Tim Beissinger as the new managing director of the Center at its meeting on December 1st, 2020.
    More than 40 members and affiliates from different faculties and research institutions have joined together under the roof of the center to bring together the expertise of crop, tree, and animal breeding and genetics with findings from natural and social sciences in order to bring about advances in all of these fields. The Center is financially supported by five leading companies in plant and animal breeding. Since its foundation in 2018, Prof. Dr. Henner Simianer (Chair of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences) has held the position of managing director and was responsible for the initialization and development of the center ... Continue

    New graduate school “Sustainable Food Systems” approved

    DFG funds new program at the University of Göttingen with 5 million euros From 2021, the German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the new Graduate College (GRK) “Sustainable Food Systems” at the University of Göttingen. For the first funding phase of four and a half years, around 5 million euros were approved. The aim of the GRK is to combine excellent research and training on important future topics in agriculture and the food industry. The spokesperson for the new program is Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim from the Göttingen Department for Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

    Agriculture and nutrition play a central role in many of the global challenges such as poverty, hunger, obesity, climate change and loss of biodiversity. It is clear that the global sustainability goals cannot be achieved without serious changes in the production and consumption of food. Which changes are helpful and how they can be implemented politically and socially are open questions that are to be comprehensively researched in the new RTG, both in industrialized countries and in developing and emerging countries. More