Biodynamic breeding research at Dottenfelderhof

Research & Breeding department (FZD) at Landbauschule Dottenfelderhof e.V. concentrates on breeding research and the development of cultivars of winter and spring wheat, winter rye, winter barley, oats, maize and various vegetable crops suitable for organic farming.

The initiative has a particular focus on on-farm research in the areas of plant and seed health with a focus on seed-borne cereal diseases, breeding methods and fertilisation research.

Research at the Dottenfelderhof aims to link plant production science with biodynamic practice and education.

In the past, research work focused on the project Rhythms Research/Chronobiology in Biodynamic Agriculture, with which basic principles on the influence of the course of the solar year and the moon on plant growth were developed by Dr. Hartmut Spiess.

Projects and trials on the biodynamic preparations have also been taking place for more than three decades.

There is a wide range of cooperation with other institutions such as the State Office for Agriculture Hesse (LLH), the State Laboratory of Hesse (LHL), the Julius Kühn Institutes and the Faculties of Organic Agriculture of the Universities of Bonn, Gießen and Kassel, the Bolk Institute (Netherlands) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (Germany and Suisse).

Our organic plant breeding for cereals takes place in cooperation with “Cultivari - Cereal Breeding Research Darzau”, “Cereal Breeding Peter Kunz” and “Keyserlingk-Institut Salem”. For vegetables, it takes place within the framework of “Kultursaat”.

Since 2016, the FZD has been a cooperation partner of the “Federal Plant Variety Office” and an official site for the testing assortments of organic varieties of spring wheat and oats and winter barley.

The numerous research projects provide the opportunity for students at the Dottenfelderhof Agricultural School to take up experimental questions for their annual theses and thus be introduced to a scientific approach to agriculture.

The Research department works closely with the “Research Ring for Biodynamic Farming e.V.” (Formerly IBDF).

Funding for research is open each year. A basic budget is not available. The diverse work is mainly supported by applications to various foundations and by government research contracts (BLE in BÖLN and EIP) as well as by individual donations.