- Joint Meetings during the International Year of Soil

From 15 to 18 September 2015 the 127th annual meeting of the Association of German Agricultural Analytic and Research Institutes (VDLUFA) was held at the University of Göttingen, preceding the 2015 annual meeting of the German Society for Plant Nutrition (DGP e.V.). The novelty in this case was that both events were linked by a joint workshop, headlined “Challenges and Synergies”.

 

Establishing contacts, discovering synergies

Being the organizer of the 2015 annual meeting of the DGP and at the same time one of the initiators of the joint workshop with the VDLUFA, Prof. Dr. Klaus Dittert, Scientific Director of the IAPN and head of the Department of Crop Sciences at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen was glad to host these events. “We developed the idea of a joint workshop together with our colleagues at VDLUFA aiming to create a forum for participants of the two institutions to get to know each other, and to promote cooperation between basic sciences and VDLUFA”, he explains. “The workshop therefore focused on the challenges that international agricultural research is facing today.”

Agricultural research faces worldwide challenges

The challenges and requirements on plant nutrition, agricultural exploration and research in a globalized world were at the focus of a lecture by Prof. Dr. Bürkert, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen. In his presentation he clearly showed that increasing frequencies of extreme weather events and the deteriorating state of agricultural soils impose urgent demands on worldwide agricultural production as well as on applied research. Prof. Dr. Nicolaus von Wirén, Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, outlined future challenges on crop plant research from a plant nutritionist’s point of view, and he presented new options for improving nutrient use efficiency by applying novel plant breeding technologies.

 

Prof. Dr. Christof Engels, Humboldt University of Berlin, emphasized the necessity of a “turn in the use of mineral matters” in plant production. Much greater efforts are needed in maintaining and increasing soil fertility, into sustainable growth of productivity and quality of plant products as well as minimizing leakage of minerals into the environment. Prof. Dr. Frank Wiesler, President of VDLUFA, provided an overview of VDLUFA activities. Based on a cooperative project on fertilization in Rhineland-Palatinate vegetable cultivation he went on to exemplify the manifold benefits of improved cooperation between universities and VDLUFA.

The greenhouse of the old botanical garden of the university provided an atmospheric backdrop for the conference dinner. Participants of both conferences used the occasion to chat with old colleagues and new acquaintances. “We look back on a very inspirational week“, Klaus Dittert concludes.

Further information on both conferences

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