DLG e.V. - Knowledge & Skills

Knowledge & Skills

Increasing yields: Top crop experts on rooting

By Christian Bickert and Katrin Rutt

Earlier this year, scientists and farmers joined a DLG-Mitteilungen workshop on aspects of crop rooting. How can this aspect of plant development be encouraged for better and, above all, more stable yields? The discussion, reported below, offers expert answers to important questions.

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Beef: The mechanisms behind the price

Dr Isam Almadani and Dr Zazie von Davier, Thünen Institute of Farm Economics, Braunschweig

Climate change, government policies and export market access are all important factors influencing the worldwide beef market. Even events at the other end of the world have an influence on the way the beef markets in our own countries develop.

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Animal welfare: A question of morality

By Prof. Dr Peter Kunzmann, University of Veterinary Medicine (TiHo), Hanover

Important parts of central European society have a massive interest in the welfare of animals. Whether this concern is based on the necessary factual knowledge is quite another matter – an attitude that unfortunately continues in subsequent communication.

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Pig housing: Avoiding heat stress

By Christin Benecke

It doesn’t have to be a summer of the century for pigs to be overheated in their housing. How can we avoid this through the hot season?

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Mycorrhizal fungi: Invisible aid

By PD Dr Christel Baum, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock

Interest grows in new methods that might improve crop production. But many of them still need considerable research, for instance the use of biostimulators. Mycorrhization is an aspect of the latter. What can this offer crop growers?

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How do we reach the consumer?

By Dr Christian Bickert

Social media, newspaper articles or open-door days on the farm – there’s no all-round successful recipe for communication with the general public. But what’s the best route?

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N fertiliser application: 20 % under optimum - and back again

By Thomas Preusse

If there’s one country that has taken the EU Water Framework Directive especially seriously for a considerable time now, it’s certainly Denmark. The main reason for this was, and still is, the critical condition of the Baltic Sea.

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Source: DLG Mitteilungen

Six maps explain the world markets

Output of agricultural products and their trade steams on the world markets appear at first complex and hard to follow. But global trade patterns tend to repeat themselves and follow fixed rules. Those who understand this can then appreciate many developments or even anticipate them.

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Pig Farming in Europe: Learning from each other!

For the first time in the almost 30-year history of the association, the Managing Board of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. met in Finland last year. In addition to working through the agenda, a visit to a pig farm and a large slaughterhouse and a consulting company were scheduled. As a result, the members of the managing board were able to familiarise themselves with the special aspects of pork production in Finland "from farm to fork".

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Between factual logic and psycho-logic

By Johannes Simons and Carl Vierboom

Why is it that fact-based arguments have limited chance against the power of imagery in the realm of persuasion – and can the agricultural sector learn from this to improve its own communication?

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Blockchain: Maximum transparency

By Martin Stoussavljewitsch, Youki GmbH, Regensburg

Everyone speaks about it but hardly anyone knows what exactly lies behind blockchain technology. Already clear, however, is that it can enable greater transparency within the agricultural delivery chain. And the data involved cannot be manipulated. Here’s how the blockchain concept functions.

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How can we cope with weather extremes?

By Detlev Dölger and Wiebke Lenge, Hanse Agro, Gettorf, Germany

The extreme conditions in 2017 and 2018 once again emphasised just how unpredictable weather and climate have become. What if such »exceptional years« become standard? How can farms prepare for such conditions?

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Saving our bees – seriously!

By Thomas Preusse

Bees get a lot of attention nowadays. Everyone speaks about their survival, although knowledge of the different species and their habitats is still relatively limited.

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Non-chemical seed dressing?

By Dr Michael Hess

Chemical seed treatment is the simplest and safest procedure. But if this approach is no longer effective and the active ingredients therefore wasted, what then? Physical and biological alternatives have their limitations. But the so-called »Swedish model« offers a very promising approach.

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Milk from grass: Full speed ahead

By Johannes Thomsen, University of Applied Sciences, Kiel

Milk production in Ireland is right on-course for continued expansion. Following a substantial increase last year, there’s every sign that progress will be maintained in 2019, particularly as conditions for this remain ideal.

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New bread-baskets supply the world

By Bernd Chilla, RMI, Hamburg

Global grain trade patterns have changed radically in the last ten years. No longer is the USA unchallenged as »bread-basket of the world«. Catching up fast as top grain suppliers are Ukraine, Russia and Brazil. EU exports are also affected – at least for wheat.

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Leaving the calf longer with the cow?

By Hauke Tergast, Wiebke Schumacher and Kerstin Barth

The early separation of calf and cow is a much-criticised aspect of dairy farming. But would keeping them together longer be financially viable for the farm business?

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European Pig Producers consolidate network in South Africa

By EPP

The inaugural appearance of representatives from the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) at the 2018 EPP Congress in Switzerland recently prompted a three-day reciprocal visit by the EPP to the Johannesburg/Praetoria region. 

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New breeding methods: One verdict, many questions

By Katrin Rutt

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has spoken: new breeding techniques around the CRISPR/Cas procedure will come under gene technology, as far as the law is concerned. While the court’s decision imparts long overdue legal certainty, it’s also the starting gun for a flood of very difficult questions.

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Eggs from high welfare layers sold-out every day

By Norman Dunn

It was a vision to begin with. Dutch poultry farmer and university lecturer Ruud Zanders searched the world for a carbon-neutral egg production system. Early-on, it became clear that this vision would greatly profit from Nijsen-Granico’s “food for feed” concept. Another identified requirement was animal housing designed to supply all required energy for ventilation, lighting, etc. Zanders formed a partnership with three other businessmen and named the company Kipster.

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Food to feed: Reducing farming’s carbon footprint

By Norman Dunn

Here’s an overall concept involving farmer, feed miller, food processor and retailer all working together. The aim: production of welfare-based and environmentally-friendly high-quality food. The concept has already started in the Netherlands where one of the first projects features egg and chicken meat production.

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Brussel’s new plans

By Thomas Preusse

The present EU agricultural policy (CAP) applies until 2020. But if EU Commission proposals for the period 2021 to 2027 are followed, we’ll still be meeting old acquaintances then including capping and degressive payments or risk management through insurances.  But what exactly might be new?

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Belarus: A surprise in the East

By Christoph Foth

»Toss your preconceptions overboard«. Here’s a socialist country that’s not behind the times and neither corrupt nor poverty ridden. Although on mainly poor soils, its agriculture remains productive thanks to a well-managed planned economy.

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Ripp’s Dairy Valley: Perfect conditions for high performance cows

By Sibylle Möcklinghoff-Wicke, Dairy Innovation Team

Ripp‘s Dairy Valley is a family business run by brothers Chuck, Gary and Troy Ripp and their families. Stocking is 980 cows, 880 of them milked three times daily. Labour force: 18 workers including eight milkers.

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Water pollution: Who’s to blame?

By Prof Tobias Licha, Göttingen University

Often agriculture gets the blame for negative effects on water quality. But there are other ways in which nitrate or plant protection substances can land in the environment.

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Cubicles: Best bedding for cows

By Sibylle Möcklinghoff-Wicke, Dairy Innovation Team

Cows must feel comfortable for optimum milk production. Maximum time in the cubicles and enough space to lie down and get up comfortably help secure cow comfort.

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Cropping for starch: cardboard creates more demand

By Dr Christian Bickert

Spiralling starch production is taking place in Europe’s south and west, particularly from wheat and maize. This affects traditional price differences between inland and coastal grain markets.

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Ukraine: Europe's »Middle East«

By Dr Christian Bickert

Maize and soybeans as far as the eye can see. If it weren't for the sunflower fields, this could be the USA's Midwest. There are other important differences too.

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Pig production: Cost advantages slip away

By Robert Hoste, Wageningen Economic Research

Over the last five years or so, Dutch pig producers have faced massively increased competition. There are many reasons for this, but a prominent role is played by the problems of manure disposal.

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Cow comfort – the American approach

By Sibylle Möcklinghoff-Wicke

Only cows that feel comfortable can produce lots of milk while remaining healthy. The aim in America is to optimise housing so that all negative performance factors are avoided.

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Entrepreneur: bettering your business skills

By Enno Karstens

Advisers know it. Farm business comparisons show it. The biggest influence on farm results is the farmer’s entrepreneurial spirit.  Increasing output through more fields and more livestock is not the only way ahead. So what else do modern farmers need for business success?

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Current business environment and expectations for business development of Brazilian farmers mediocre

The business environment in Brazil is imbalanced at the moment. Cash crop producers tend to be satisfied, but there is dissatisfaction among dairy cattle farmers.

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Pig farmers focus on animal health and efficiency

By EPP (European Pig Producers)

Pig farming is an important and significant industry in the global agricultural and food sector. A decisive factor for the increase in global demand for high-quality food in the past two decades was the demographic development.

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Does wheat cause disease and obesity?

By Dr Friedrich Longin, University of Hohenheim

Nutrition. A flood of currently published books claims wheat is bad for health. But too often the respective authors ignore or misinterpret the cereal’s scientifically proven benefits: an approach that does more harm to humans who really suffer from wheat-caused diseases.

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Drones: The airtech revolution agriculture

By Per Frankelius, Charlotte Norrman and Knut Johansen

In a research project that had been running for five years at Linköping University, Sweden, the entry of unmanned aircraft technology and sensors in global agriculture has been studied. Per Frankelius ranks the use of unmanned aircraft technology in parity with the satellite revolution or other earlier agricultural developments.

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Romania: From subsistence to agribusiness

By EAF

The 2018 European Arable Farmers (EAF) event led members in June to western Romania – one of the country’s most interesting regions and one characterised by high investment activity.

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Protein: Grain often underestimated

By Dr Christian Bickert

Protein strategies or »homegrown protein« – these are the terms when talk is of substitutes for imported soymeal such as peas, field beans or rapeseed meal. But more than half the protein in European feed troughs is already EU-produced, particularly from grain.

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Pig production in Spain: High integration and plenty space

By Christin Benecke

In Spain a couple of advantages help competitiveness in this sector. Not – as often claimed – laxer environment protection rules. But instead, efficiency right along the production chain and a positive public image.

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Doing business in Africa: The Mali example

By Marc van der Sterren

The right investments in West-Africa are those for the local market. It’s the imports and exports that give a company troubles. And the local market is big enough. Moreover: West-Africa is one enormous market.

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Agrochemicals: Bayer, Monsanto and all the others

By Doris Ahlers, Thomas Preusse

The movement that sees increasing concentration of companies in the agrochemical sector has more than a few farmers bemused. Among the reasons for the mergers and takeovers are the huge costs of developing new products. But could this revolution also be opening new perspectives in the markets?

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China: Rapid development of farmer cooperatives

By Prof. Ren Dapeng and Wei Rong

Since the mid-1980s, Chinese farmer organisations play an increasingly important role, a development  strongly supported by the July 2007 introduction of the “Law on Specialised Farmers Cooperatives”.

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Photo: lemontreeimages fotolia

Crowdfunding – for farms too!

By Thomas Künzel

Raising capital. Got a brilliant business idea? But no starting capital? Maybe you should consider crowdfunding? Credit providers in the Internet invest in projects, ideas or companies – in agriculture too.

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photo: Rutt

Ways ahead for wheat

By Christian Bickert

Harvest yields. The larger wheat harvests throughout the world are only the product of the crop’s increased yield capacities and not through expansion of growing area. This sort of situation increases harvest risks – but also the chances of higher prices. This applies even more so for barley.

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Farmland formed by man

By Thomas Preuße

Polders. Normally, soil is seen as simply the basis for growing crops. But now and again in the Netherlands one gets the impression that soil is a special substrate widely adaptable for a range of requirements.

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Polder pioneers

By Thomas Preuße

The Netherlands. The efforts involved in wresting polder land from nature have been huge. And because polder soil is fertile, scarce and therefore expensive, it’s intensively farmed. Here, we present three outstanding farming businesses in the northeastern polder and Flevopolder.

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