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Research & development focus on soya bean processing

The interdisciplinary soya bean research project began its work a year ago. The research team is comprised of scientists, researchers and processing experts who share a common interest: They aim at developing varieties and agronomic methods that will make soya bean cultivation in Germany profitable, including their cultivation in agronomically less favourable areas. From the start of 2012 an additional focus has been added to the project – soya bean processing for feed. Regionally available processing opportunities are key to the further promotion of domestic soya bean production. The project is coordinated by FiBL and is in receipt of a total of EUR 1.2 million in funding under the Federal Organic Farming Scheme and other forms of sustainable agriculture (BÖLN).

(Frankfurt, January 13, 2012) Following a successful first year of trials, the soya bean research project has not only extended its focus but its financial volume has also increased. The aim of the recent project extension is to provide more capacity, and especially more dispersed capacity, for soya bean processing and thus to remove an important bottleneck in the domestic production of soya bean for feed.

To this end, the processing aspect was added to the project entitled “Expansion of soya bean production in Germany through adaptive breeding, agronomic optimization and optimized processing”. FiBL Germany provides project backstopping for this latter research area which will assess new soya bean processing strategies and define quality requirements of soya beans to be used for feed. Pigs and poultry can only digest soya beans if they have been heat-treated. This treatment inactivates antinutritional factors and thus turns soya beans into a valuable source of protein for livestock. Since as yet very little soya is grown in Germany, imported soya bean products are either already processed overseas or in one of the very few specialized plants in the vicinity of major ports. At a regional level there are very few other processing facilities in Germany and long transport routes thus are a significant impediment to domestic soya bean production for feed.

In the area of agronomics the project was expanded to include trials on direct seeding and on sulphur supply for soya bean production. This part of the project is carried out by the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. The aim is to study the importance of the sulphur supply for yield and quality formation in soya beans. In conjunction with the Sojaförderring (German soya bean association) at the Augustenberg Agricultural Technology Centre (LTZ Augustenberg) it is also planned to trial options for direct seeding of soya beans into crop residues, e.g. winter fodder rye, with a view to weed development in the soya bean crop.

The project is financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture under the Federal Organic Farming Scheme and other forms of sustainable agriculture (BÖLN). The consortium working on the project includes the following institutions: FiBL Germany and FiBL Switzerland, the Sojaförderring (German soya bean association) at the Augustenberg Agricultural Technology Centre (LTZ Augustenberg), Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Göttingen University, Institute for Resistance Research and Stress Tolerance at the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Life Food GmbH, Naturland, Hohenheim University, and Kassel University. Dr. Klaus-Peter Wilbois of FiBL Germany is in charge of the overall coordination of the 3-year project.

Further information


FiBL contact person: Klaus-Peter Wilbois (Project coordination)


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