Latest Projects

SONIA-ProQ makes it possible to make soy value chains in Austria more resilient and sustainable. Through the further development of special applications based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), fundamental contributions are being made to develop and improve the use of sensors and real-time process control in the processing of soybeans into animal feed. An integrated feeding trial with fattening pigs supports the quantification of the potential. In addition, a special soybean training course is being set up, which will also lead to quality improvements at the processing and feeding level. The basis for this work is the exchange of experience and knowledge between the 9 project partners and 7 organizations in the Expert Council. Together, they form a soy network that has never before come together in this form in an R&D project in Austria. SONIA-ProQ addresses the SDGs (zero hunger; quality education and sustainable consumption and production) and makes an important contribution to the Austrian protein strategy. The results of the project enable the consortium partners to position themselves more strongly in the growing soy market in the long term and also address the interests of consumers with regard to GMO-free, regionality and organic farming.

This project aims to evaluate the integrated crop-livestock production system with poultry. The project can positively contribute to farm animals’ welfare, biodiversity maintenance and species conservation while supporting cultivators and ensure high food quality. In this project, laying hens are taking as example for free range poultry. Typically, most hens do not use the available free range area under free range conditions, but instead stay close to the henhouse. This leads to increased social stress among birds, as well as eutrophication and overexploitation of the free range area. At the same time, farmers experience restriction to use the sub-utilized land by hens in another way and are thus confronted with land loss. Moreover, in the last decades, intensification of agriculture lead to a substantial biodiversity decline in cultivated landscapes. Connected with this, a decline in insect diversity and population was observed. Insects represent an important feed for other animals and contribute to ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. However, by turning hen runs into rotational grazing pastures and introducing enriched structures via diverse, native plants (i.e. hedges), farmers can positively contribute to animal welfare, but most important, to preserve biodiversity using the production system to provideecosystem services at the same time. Enriched hen free range area attract a higher number of insects species that provide us with fundamental goods (nutrient recycling, pollination) and thus realize implementations of principles of the EISA (2001) and CBD (1993). In addition, farmers can enhance their image and economical success using the free range area for e.g. energy crops (silphie, miscanthus, etc), timber, christmas trees), contributing to CO2-neutral operation of the farm. Futhermore, hens start using larger parts of their free range areas when well structured, reducing stress induced by social interactions or predation pressure. Hens have access to a larger diversity of plants and insects representing also additional protein sources. Therefore, an adequate and adapted surrounding for free ranged hens have positive effects on their development, health and thus quality of meat and eggs. Additionally, plants in the well-structured free range area contribute to nitrogen fixation, reduce soil erosion and prevent over fertilization. Farmers are confronted with several statutory provisions. Often these legal regulations are not adequate for the hens nor they are a good solution for the farmers. Especially smallhold farmers suffer under ever-changing provisions and formal challenges. The implementation of integrated crop-livestock systems and rotational grazing represent a comprise between ecological and economical needs, a sustainable and future-orientated solution for nature conservation and successful agriculture.

Feeding of monogastric animals like pigs our poultry is in strong competition to human nutrition. The aim of the planned study is to establish sustainable and precise feeding strategies for pigs, to avoid nutrient wastes and optimise the genetic potential of the animal. Therefore a feeding trial with fattening pigs and three treatment (control diet low in crude protein and phosphor, diet with improved human edible feed conversion efficiency (HE-FCE) (increased content of regional industrial-by products) and a treatment where pigs can choice between both diets, should be conducted. Diets were calculated to reach similar available nutrient contents (energy, amino acids, macro and trace elements) between treatments. The trial will be split in a starter, grower and finisher phase (= standard in modern pig production). Diets of all phases reach the nutrient requirements of the Society of Nutrition Physiology (GfE 2006). During slaughter, samples of the intestine and blood plasma will be collected for further physiological and immunological relevant analysis (morphometry, blood count, microbiome, microbial metabolites). Analysis will be carried out the the Lab of the institute of animal nutrition, livestock products and nutrition physiology, as well as in the lab of co-operation partners.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations