Environmentally sustainable and resource-saving crop production systems require continuous adaptation. We conceive concepts for cultivation strategies - for both integrated and organic crop production and assess them for their suitability.
Climate change, limited resources and growing societal demands pose challenges for environmentally friendly and efficient crop production. Therefore, we look for methods/techniques in which resources such as soil, nutrients, energy and water will be used in an efficient and sustainable way in the future. The analysis of yield gaps, i.e. the difference between potentially achievable and actually achieved yields, therefore represents an important aspect of our work.
We develop and test crop management strategies for new cropping systems in field trials. Field trails allow for reliable assessments and conclusions to be drawn about the diverse interactions in crop production. At our experimental station in Dahnsdorf, for example, we investigate the effects of new patterns of crop rotations, resistant varieties, reduced and non-chemical crop protection strategies or conservation tillage.
A strong aspect of our field trials is the focus on long-term experiments. The data and knowledge gathered from these series of trials, some of which are now 20 years long, is invaluable.
In addition to crop production systems, the institute also advances crop protection concepts for integrated and organic farming. In order to bring the latest developments in plant protection into practice as quickly as possible, our institute supports, among others, the development of crop-specific guidelines for integrated plant protection for the National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products (NAP).
We also coordinate two farm networks to document the implementation of crop protection strategies in practice (see also supplementary links).
Our Institute is home to the office of the Federal-State-Working Group minor uses (BLAG-Lück). For many minor or "niche" crops (e.g. medicinal and spice plants, hops, but also fruit and vegetable crops) the minor use indications are of great importance. Further information can be found in the corresponding JKI knowledge portal.
Adaptation strategies of agriculture to elevated temperatures, extreme weather events and the development of concepts for more climate protection in crop cultivation are integral to our work. The JKI Climate coordination unit is affiliated with our institute and is responsible for bundling and networking research results in the fields of climate adaptation and climate protection and making them available to policymakers.
The institute also uses process-based plant growth models for the holistic evaluation of crop cultivation systems and the development of alternative cultivation strategies. Since, climate change directly impacts biotic and abiotic stressors on crops, various scenarios of climate projections are used to estimate the impact of climate change on crop production systems in the agricultural landscape.