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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-01-01 - 2026-12-31

The proposed project "Initiative of Fostering cross-border knowledge exchange and co-creation on sustainable soil and farm management (Soil-X-Change)" will help to connect farmers, actors, policy makers, projects, and initiatives to speed up innovation and promote faster, wider co-creation and transposition of innovative solutions into practice. It will contribute to effective AKIS by intensifying thematic cooperation between researchers, farmers, and other stakeholders in the EU. Soil-X-Change will also contribute to the green transition, smart agriculture, climate-neutrality, and sustainability areas, as well as enhancing and exchanging the knowledge of the main actors. Soil-X-Change, initiated by EIP-AGRI Operational Group practitioners (OGs), reflects the needs of 151 direct partners. It will collect, combine, harmonise, analyse and integrate the results and data product developed by the different EIP-AGRI OGs and the project partners. Soil-X-Change will disseminate and share innovative practices across 9 member countries. Furthermore, the Soil-X-Change project will bring together EIP OGs and key stakeholders working on sustainable soil and farm management to create an EU-wide network, share knowledge, and introduce ready-to-use practices that will enable farmers to make the right decisions related to agricultural production practices. At the end of the project the extended knowledge and innovative ideas of member and non-member OGs will widen the scope of their activities and showcasing their result to an increased number of stakeholders and farmers in an international environment and network across EU countries. Soil-X-Change will use a bottom-up approach (farmers to OGs) and will reinforce and share practical knowledge using the main dissemination channels suitable for farmers and practitioners.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-05-01 - 2026-04-30

By adapting APV/agricultural management/production and promoting the development of species-rich habitat structures, valuable, multifunctional ecosystems can be created that generate energy at the same time. In the project, two case study examples (EWS Sonnenfeld in Bruck/Leitha and Öko-Solar-Biotop Pöchlarn) of agriphotovoltaics (APV), i.e. areas on which agricultural and electricity production take place in parallel, will be analysed for the first time under the same aspects. Measurement setups already in place prior to the project will be harmonised in order to create a larger data basis, which will enable an improved interpretation of the data for practical use. The project will initially record microclimatic parameters in both APV systems with the different forms of land use (arable farming, orchards and grassland with grazing), document and optimise agricultural production on arable land and investigate cultivation under the PV modules and optimisation of these in the project. Another focus is on analysing habitat structures in the area of APV systems and measures to promote species diversity and biodiversity. The two sites are to be assessed in terms of their environmental impact using life cycle assessments and hotspots, i.e. processes that contribute particularly to environmental impacts, are to be identified. The organisation of a workshop for relevant stakeholders is intended to promote networking within the APV community as well as the exchange of experience. Finally, the findings of the project are to be summarised in a guideline or practical handbook and include recommendations for action for policymakers, farmers and energy companies. By implementing these measures, the "SoLAgri" project will make a significant contribution to the sustainable, resource-efficient and ecologically balanced development of APV systems in Austria.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-02-01 - 2026-10-14

The Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy highlighted the relevance of higher animal welfare standards in future EU agricultural policy. One of the foreseen activities is to link the CAP financial support to Member States (MSs) with welfare indicators; however currently there are no simple, reliable indicators of welfare that can be easily collected across the EU to identify farms at risk of poor welfare. Mortality has been suggested as a possible indicator but used alone it is not a sufficiently sensitive welfare proxy. EFSA has developed a risk-based model for the farm-level assessment of dairy cow welfare which considers additional variables alongside mortality. This model has the potential to be used for EU dairy welfare monitoring, but it requires testing with data from commercial herds prior to application. This project aims to carry out data collection activities in the field of dairy cow welfare on-farm based on the risk-based model developed by EFSA. The ultimate goal is to test (and if needed, optimise) the risk-based model to provide a basis for future monitoring dairy cow welfare in the EU.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations