First Öko-Feldtage at the Hessian State Domain Frankenhausen
On 21 and 22 June 2017, more than 8000 visitors attended the first ever nationwide Öko-Feldtage in Germany. More than 250 companies, associations and organisations presented what they have to offer in the organic agriculture arena. Most exhibitors were from the sectors of agricultural engineering, inputs and seeds/vegetative propagation material. Eleven additional categories ranging from consultancy to research and certification all the way to animal husbandry and marketing were present. Central themes were: organic breeding, nutrient management and conservation tillage, as well as, agriculture and nature conservation. There was also a special on animal husbandry and compost.
A unique combination of practice and research
The program of the Öko-Feldtage was as diverse as organic agriculture itself. During about 35 machine demonstrations the visitors could see harroweeders and GPS- and camera-controlled working machines in action. The innovation exhibition showed new developments like machineries for weed control, robots for snail control as well as an eco-friendly natural gas tractor. Besides the machinery there were two extra areas about organic animal husbandry and composting. Topics like milking techniques and hygiene, raising dairy cows and their calves together and pasture fence management were presented and discussed. Furthermore composting dung, blends of organic waste and clovergrass mixtures is becoming more important, which is why treatment and application technologies of compost were presented.
Current topics like the climate change have also been discussed with scientists and practitioners including its consequences for organic farming. Researchers and consultants presented even more research results about regional fodder, boar fattening, legumes and nutrient management. Another panel presented more about biodiversity on organic farms, organic plant protection and innovative techniques on the field.
Evaluation of the Öko-Feldtage 2017
We had excellent responses to our Öko-Feldtage 2017. A group of research assistants from the University of Kassel conducted a survey about the visitors’ and exhibitors’ feedback. They asked 501 visitors and 111 exhibitors. 93% of the visitors were satisfied and very satisfied with their visit. About 92% of the visitors said they learned about new topics which will help them in their future. 81% of the exhibitors were satisfied and very satisfied with their participation. The survey also showed that the Öko-Feldtage had visitors from all sectors; farmers, students and representatives from associations joined the event. From out of all farmers, about a fourth were conventional, 4,5% were organic and conventional and 11,2% were in the changeover to organic farming, which shows the interest and potential in learning from one another.
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