Requirements for environmentally sound and highly productive crop production are continuously growing. At the same time sustainable crop production is increasingly challenged by global change. Against this backdrop, the development and optimization of cropping strategies for integrated and ecological crop production constitute an important research focus of the Institute. A key role therefore plays the assessment and improvement of resource use efficiency of soil, nutrients, energy and water.
In this context yield gap analysis, i.e., evaluating the gap between potential yields and actual yields under practical farm conditions, constitutes an important research area.
We investigate the multiple interactive effects of crop rotation, cultivar choice, crop protection strategy, tillage system and other factors based on our field experiments at the Dahnsdorf experimental site. We furthermore conduct experiments under controlled and semi-controlled conditions to analyze the cause-effect relationships evolving from combined biotic and abiotic stress on crop processes and yield. Based on the derived research findings alternative crop protection strategies can be developed.
Another key task of the Institute is testing and advancing crop protection strategies for organic crop production based on preventive agronomic and biological measures. This comprises the synthesis and adjustment of the specific measures to design an effective integrated concept, which is then tested and evaluated in field experiments. Accordingly, the development of strategies for substitution and minimization of copper use is important. Especially the production of organic fruits, wine, hope and potatoes still heavily relies on the availability of copper based plant protection products.