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Livestock breeding and animal husbandry are fundamental cornerstones of German agriculture. Cattle farming on mixed farms with the downstream value chains of milk, meat and plant-based foodstuffs plays an important role in regional food supply.

In grassland-rich regions such as Hesse, it also offers important prerequisites for closing regional nutrient cycles and avoiding land competition between human and animal nutrition.

However, specialization and industrialization in agriculture in recent decades have led to structures characterized by nitrogen surpluses, greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, land competition, species loss, soil degradation, and animal welfare problems.

Integrated animal-crop agricultural systems were found throughout Central Europe before agricultural industrialization and they are considered sustainable in its effect on soil fertility.

However, it is unclear what intensity levels of integrated animal-crop agricultural systems can serve the increased demand for organically produced animal and plant foods.
GreenDairy develops sustainable animal-plant agricultural systems for the dairy, meat and plant-based food value chains (cereals, grain legumes, potatoes). The project is based on a multi-year experimental comparison of high- and low-input dairy production systems.

GreenDairy aims to achieve a high degree of resilience while minimizing the use of natural resources and protected assets, building on the systems approach of organic agriculture in the sense of eco-functional intensification: By closely integrating animal and plant production, the aim is to reduce yield and nutrition gaps compared to specialized, industrial agriculture and to improve ecosystem services.

At the same time, the aim is to increase the acceptance of innovative dairy farming supported by digitalization among all social stakeholders. GreenDairy therefore aims to develop models for future agricultural and food systems and to provide impetus for agroecosystem research.

At the LFE Gladbacherhof of the JLU, as the central research platform of the project, a research infrastructure is being established that enables a scientific comparison of high- and low-input dairy farming systems in long-term experiments using the latest digital technology.

The work program in GreenDairy is divided into four interlinked and complementary project areas A-D, supplemented by the fifth project area Z (coordination).

GreenDairy is funded by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts, grant number grant number LOEWE/2/14/519/03/07.001-(0007)/80.

More Info on LOEWE research initiatives can be found here: 
01/2022 - 12/2025 Read the official press release "Wege zu nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft und Ernährung" (2022) in german.

The entire project team includes 45 researchers.

to the team »