The Julius Kühn Institute is both a research institution of the German federal government and a higher federal authority affiliated with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). We carry out statutory tasks and we do research to provide a scientific foundation for our statutory work and for political consulting.
Our regulatory duties and political consulting are closely intertwined with research. What makes us unique is this specific range of activities centered on cultivated plants. A key task of the 17 JKI institutes is to transfer scientific knowledge to political authorities, to advise the federal government and the BMEL in particular or to provide decision support. Our research across the whole range of cultivated plants (see also “What we do”) is, for the most part, application oriented and constitutes the foundation of our scientific expertise. It is the background for fulfilling our consulting and statutory evaluation tasks. Numerous JKI experts participate in national and international networks and committees and here represent the respective interests of science, consumers and federal government.
For other statutory tasks, the JKI assumes an important interface function either between the EU and the Federal Republic of Germany, between the federal government and the federal states (Länder) or between scientists and practitioners, to name but a few. This refers to the cultivation of crop plants, plant nutrition, expertise on soil, the protection of plants until they are harvested and beyond as regards stored product protection. This also embraces the important topic of conservation of crop genetic resources, issues of breeding research and plant breeding or the threat of introducing pests, diseases and weeds, many with high invasive potential, through the increasing global trade with plants.
As part of the authorization process for plant protection products including the approval of their active ingredients, the JKI provides scientific assessment for various test ranges. Among others, it also pays attention to the potential danger of pests evolving resistance to pesticides. As far as application techniques in plant protection are concerned, our experts test agricultural machines or sprayers; the test results are published in the Bundesanzeiger (in English: federal gazette). As regards phytosanitary regulations, the JKI plays an active role and acts as the German representative in European initiatives. Furthermore the JKI is consulted when applications concerning the experimental release of genetically engineered plants or their placing on the market are filed.
The JKI represents the interests of the BMEL in the field of fertilizers and compiles the national nitrogen balances in the context of Germany’s sustainable development strategy or for the OECD/Eurostat statistics that enables comparisons between countries.
The main responsibilities of the JKI are stipulated in the German Plant Protection Act. Others are assigned to the JKI by way of decrees of the federal government.