Each issue of Landbauforschung – Journal of Sustainable and Organic Agricultural Systems addresses a previously-announced special topic.
Innovations in Animal Feeding
Submissions until May 31, 2021
Guest editor: Prof. Dr. Werner J. Zollitsch (BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)
In the age of global trade, feed resources for animal production might seem endless. But their large-scale production and transport creates regional nutrient imbalances and contributes to climate change. Land use changes associated with an increasing area of both arable land and grassland reduce the global carbon storage potential. In view of a growing world population and increasing ecological concerns, alternatives and innovations for sustainable animal feeding are needed. In order to secure future food supply, important measures are avoiding nutrient competition between humans and farm animals, and improving the use of regional feed resources, while ensuring a high standard of animal welfare.
Many questions arise regarding the challenges of realising a sustainable livestock production. How can organic farming play a role which puts emphasis on regional production of feedstuffs and partially renounces feed supplements? Can by-products from the increasing food production for humans be a sustainable solution, when fed to livestock directly or after having been converted by invertebrates or microorganisms? How can grassland be used effectively by poly- and monogastric animals? Can other breeds or species be advantageous, if alternative feeding strategies are implemented?
Agroecology – Can we change our food systems?
Submissions until March 31, 2020
Guest editor: Prof. Dr. Jens Dauber (Thünen Institute of Biodiversity)
The strict integration of agro-ecological concepts into food production is fundamental for combining local resources with agricultural production. It is also essential for securing the future stability of our global and local food systems. Food sovereignty, meaning independent selection, production and consumption of food products, can be a driving idea for local action. But both small holder farmers in local markets as well as farmers in globalized markets need perspectives for their future existence, for the stability of their systems, and multidimensional goals for production – including, for example, high efficiency and nature protection. This field is wide and not really new – but comprehensive ideas for scientific, practical and social development are still needed.
Tell us about your experiences in and visions for this field. 1) How can agroecosystems be stabilised to generate and secure future food production and income for the farmers? 2) Can agriculture be improved to be a future basis for local work and wealth? 3) What do farming systems based on agroecology concepts look like? 4) What strategies foster the integration of those concepts and the future transition of agriculture?
Evolution in animal husbandry – Fitting animals or fitting systems?
Submissions until September 30, 2019
Tail docking, disbudding, beak trimming or castration – all these mutilations aim to fit animals into highly efficient farming systems. Reasons are safety of farm workers, avoiding injuries of livestock, keeping the quality of the final product and eventually achieving profitability. Surgical interventions seem to be particularly cruel and not acceptable to a society that takes animal rights more and more into account.
But what about fitting procedures that are not as obvious, like cow calf separation immediately after birth or the use of genetic scissors instead of real ones? For society’s trust in future animal husbandry and proud identification of farmers with their livestock systems scientific answers and discussions to derive concepts are needed.
Exploration and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in ruminant and grassland systems
Submissions until June 30, 2019
Guest editor: Dr. Claudia Heidecke (Staff Unit Climate Protection, Thünen Institute)
Today the pure numbers of ruminants, their methane emissions, their worldwide feedstuff demand and the related emissions, as well as improper and inefficient use of their excrements make them one of the biggest sources for greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. We also face grassland systems that are overfertilised, overgrazed and destroyed due to missing concepts for their use under protection of their ecosystem services and soil carbon stocks.
This situation still evokes many scientific questions how to build appropriate and climate friendly ruminant and grassland production systems in different parts of the world. Also we need to find ways to curb the consumers demand, e.g., for milk and meat from ruminants. We have to develop strategies for a rapid worldwide conversion of production and consumption to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.