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Stone sheep working for landscape protection; Photo: Arc Farm Ketterle, Germany
Historically, sheep husbandry was a multipurpose rural activity. Sheep give meat, milk and wool. Sheep can graze over a wide range of mountains, hills or marginal ground. They protect the landscape and keep the country open. Sheep are very economically and environmentally friendly. However, with the increasing production of fabrics from artificial fibres and a high increase of imported raw wool from Australia and South America resulted in low demands for European wool. In the last years, sheep shearing was sometimes only an animal welfare activity with no profit but costs for the farmers.
Sheep farming is a very important contribution to landscape management and for the preservation of cultivated landscape. The processing of sheep wool has been subject to strong variations worldwide in past years. Due to the dominance of synthetic fibres and cotton, there is only a demand for high-quality fine wools and white wools in the textile industry. However, most of the rare indigenous sheep breeds in Europe have coarse wool and most of their wool, in addition to that, is coloured. For the coarse sheep wool, most of the coloured wool and for the non-marketable soiled wool there are almost no marketing opportunities for the sheep farmers.
However, the sheep wool contains a very important nutrient which therefore is an ideal material for the production of high quality fertiliser pellets. Adhering organic components such as wool grease, dirt, grass, faeces, which are processed within the greasy wool into pellets are enhancing the fertilising effects.
For this reasons sheep wool pellets are a perfect organic fertiliser and give the opportunity to the sheep farmers to increase their income by giving value to their wool instead throwing it away or ploughing it under. Above all, sheep wool pellets have a great advantage as an organic fertiliser instead of mineral or chemical fertiliser.
Most mineral fertilisers are not allowed for organic farming. Farm-produced fertilisers, such as liquid manure, stall manure and similar by-products from agricultural production, have the disadvantage that they contain nutrients in a relatively low and varying concentration and in addition they bother the environment with a strong smell. An even bigger problem of mineral fertilisers is pharmaceutical ingredients such as antibiotics that are mostly used in the conventional livestock farming at a large extent. The livestock excretes the degradation products of these ingredients and they end up in the environment and in worst case in the human food chain.
Phosphorus and nitrogen fertilisers when commonly used have major environmental effects. This is due to high rainfalls causing the fertilisers to be washed into waterbodies. In contrast to that, sheep wool pellets get swelled into the soil. The pellets can absorb water very well and even store it up to 3.5-fold of its own weight. Because of this an additional water reservoir is available for the plant and their swelling effect is also soil loosening. In the soil sheep wool pellets will be completely biodegraded.
Sheep wool pellets are appropriate for vegetables, fruits, ornamental shrubs and trees, pot plants and ornamental plants. In addition they work as a depot fertilizer, one application per season, the effect duration will last up to 10 months.
Sheep wool pellets are 100% organic without additives and chemicals and biodegradable. Ingredients:
Nitrogen (N) 10 to 12%
Potassium (K2O) 4 to 6%
total Sulfur (S) 1,8 to 2% phosph. Pentoxide (P2O5 ) 0,15 to 0,17% Magnesium Oxide (MgO) 0,05%
Organic matter about 85% dry
PH about 8,8
As an innovative product for organic farming, fertilizer pellets produced out of greasy sheep wool not only meets high standards of ecological fertilizers, such as a high nutrient content without external additives and 100% renewable, but also in terms of an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. As a result the sheep wool pellets have far lower environmental impact in their manufacturing than mineral fertilizers. Thus, the organic fertilizer made out of greasy sheep wool is not only an alternative marketing opportunity for not saleable greasy wool. Even if a sheep farmer has the opportunity to sell his greasy wool at profit or his wool finds a use in wool projects for further processing into high quality products, first of all the greasy wool has to be sorted very well. Greasy wool that is too dirty, too felted, too short fibres etc has to be sorted out and it is thrown away. In addition, scouring plants and spinning mills also produce a lot of waste wool. In most cases all these waste wools are thrown away. Processing fertilizer pellets therefore is a great opportunity to use all these wools. In future no wool must be thrown away. And you should keep additionally in mind that if millions of tons of European wool will be thrown away into nature for the next years that will also cause more and more environmental impacts to our landscape.
Sheep breeders taking their dirty, felted and coarse wool, they have to throw away so far because they will get no money for it at all, to the fertiliser facility to get it processed into sheep wool pellets, have to pay about € 4,00/kg pellets for processing. On average, they get about 8kg pellets of 10kg greasy wool back.
Sheep wool pellets are sold to customers from Sheep wool pellets are sold to customers from farm gate for € 10,00/kg pellets. That means for a sheep farmer selling sheep wool pellets directly to his customers, he can value his greasy wool up to € 4,80/kg instead to throw it away!
Nathalie Ketterle, owner of the ark-farm Ketterle and managing director of Kollektion der Vielfalt
So far there is no clear and common strategy for the conservation and use of plant-, animal-, and forest genetic resources in Europe. The H 2020 GenrRes Bridge project is now developing proposals for a strengthened and more coordinated joint conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity in agriculture and forestry. A sharing perspectives workshop with participants of all three domains took place on October 28th-30th in Tuusula near Helsinki in Finland. It was co- organised by two GenRes Bridge partners, Luke and NIBIO. In total 74 persons from 21 EU countries and 5 neighbouring countries attended the workshop, representing a total of 57 stakeholder organisations. Before the actual workshop four short webinars were held, three to
introduce the three different domains and one to introduce the policy backgrounds (www.genresbridge.eu/about- us/events/event/webinars-in- preparation-for-the-sharing- perspectives-workshop). The main target of the workshop was to prepare recommendations for the development of the integrated strategy and to agree on the frames of this integrated strategy and of domain specific strategies for crop, forest and animal Genetic Resources (GenRes). The overarching objective of the workshop was to share knowledge, experience, views and useful practises among the three domains and wide range of stakeholders. The more specific objectives of the workshop were:
The main objectives, presented by coordinator Michele Bolzano are the following:
An open exchange of knowledge and experiences, e.g. sharing failures as well as success stories were highlighted by the participants. Conservation and use of genetic resources is highly linked. For an integrated strategy it is important to identify what elements of the domains remain independent and where a joint coordination is needed.
The workshop gave the opportunity for all participants to have a “glance over the garden fence” and to learn about the work of the other domains. The current status of the three domains was described. Key aspects of conservation and breeding are quite different. Food security is a main driver for the crop- and livestock genetic resources, whereas in forest genetic resources the securing of ecosystem services is the main driver. One common driver for all domains is climate change. It is important to have one voice in addressing the EU, public and end-users. Furthermore policy issues around access and benefit sharing are common to all domains. Interactions between the three domains take place especially where ecosystem approaches in the management are important. The improvement of linkages between in situ and ex situ conservation is also an aspect of common interest in all domains. As conservation methods vary, knowledge exchange was highlighted. Data management, characterisation and links to use and at least partwise cryoconservation could be common research areas.
In general it was stated that genetic resources are a part of biodiversity. As one of the first areas of cooperation communication and developing advanced methods of dissemination were identified. There are linguistic differences between the domains. Therefore a “common language” should be found. Also the term “agrobiodiversity” was critizised. The main recommendations can be summarized as follows:
More information about this important H2020 project you can find here: www.genresbridge.eu.
The new EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen wants the "Green New Deal". It should bring momentum into the somewhat encrusted EU policy. But what lies behind this catchword and what does this mean for sustainable agriculture?
The term "Green New Deal" is reminiscent of the "New Deal" of the 1930s in the USA. And that's why it triggers mixed feelings: it eased the plight of thousands of unemployed people, but sustainability stumbled back in favour of a better economy. Economic growth was promoted by the reckless exploitation of natural resources. The times have changed. A business deal in the 21st century has to be green. It is therefore complex and the accelerated climate change does not leave much time. So the key word "Green New Deal" has to be filled that it does what it promises. A key role is played by agriculture which could have a positive effect on the climate and biodiversity.
Shortly before the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, the European Parliament proclaimed the climate emergency for Europe by a large majority of all pro-European political groups.
Is Europe now on the right track? The new EU Commission has announced the "Green New Deal" and announced cornerstones. These include the reduction of transport emissions, the support of sustainable energy production, greater investment in environmental protection, carbon taxes and also a biodiversity and farm to fork sustainable food strategy. Big goals with a lot of room for interpretation! It is primarily about preventing "business as usual" in the green mantle and really tackling fundamental agricultural reforms. Mankind can no longer afford to “wait for Godot”. The changes must now be tackled with the resources that are now available. The conversion of agriculture into an ecological direction and the improvement of agrobiodiversity is possible. It is a question of technical incentives, diversion of subsidies and education of farmers.
In the hot summer of 2018 alone, the German farmers had to be helped with emergency assistance amounting to 340 million euros. Despite the difficult climatic conditions, agriculture has to feed more and more people. Greater yield stability can be achieved with plants that are better able to cope with dry conditions, as many studies have shown. Such adaptable plants can be found among the traditional varieties that SAVE partners deal with. But agrarian ideological disputes are continuing, as a study by the company Pricewa- terhouseCoopers (PWC) from 2016 shows: accordingly, a stable food supply can only be achieved with technical breeding methods and genome editing. It does not help to say that PWC goes so well with sustainable farming as an elephant takes to ballet lessons. PWC has its followers in politics and business who consider every published paper to be adorable. So for SAVE and like-minded organizations, it's about preventing the Green New Deal from being more technology and expensive investments in agriculture. European agricultural policy (CAP) is exposed to many interests. It's about a lot of money for relatively few players. Nearly 60 billion euros flow annually to subsidies in agriculture. They want to work on a de- stigmatization of new techniques in plant breeding and consider a future without pesticides for utopian expressed multiple exponents compared to the information portal EURACTIV. How to secure food supplies in the future depends on how CAP 2021- 2027 will be shaped. Many associations are calling for the abolition of direct payments, as well as investments and incentives for environmentally friendly behavior. But the new CAP will stick to direct payments for farmers. In practice, it is predominantly a policy for industrial agriculture, which, according to Greenpeace agricultural expert Martin Hofstetter, aggravates the climate crisis and the extinction of species and pushes thousands of small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises to work every year. This is not a "Green New Deal". Konstantin Kreiser, Head of Global and EU Conservation Policy at Nabu, says: "If von der Leyen is serious, she must stamp out the current proposal for the new CAP and submit a new one Otherwise, she is blocking the transition to the Green New Deal."
The European Green Deal is considered a priority project of the new Commission. Agriculture and forestry are to be more closely involved in climate protection. Ursula von der Leyen and Social-Democrat Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, in charge of the Green Deal, have announced that a strategy paper will be presented in spring 2020 to safeguard biodiversity and preserve habitats. Frans Timmermanns will be primarily responsible in the EU Commission for Climate Protection and the Green Deal. The new Polish EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, is thus subject to the Dutch Social Democrat. It is to be hoped that this combination will lead to reliable solutions and will give the right weight to the preservation of a diverse, species and race-rich, living and adapted agriculture. Timmermanns wants to talk personally with farmers. Among them will hopefully be small farmers as well as breeders and maintainers of rare breeds and varieties.
The pomologist meeting 2019 took place on November 9th-10th in the Rheinhof, Agricultural Center SG in Salez, Switzerland, under the motto "Fruits make fun and friends - diversity of fruits in private and public gardens". The organizers were the Swiss fruit conservation organization Fructus (https://fructus.ch) and the Liechtenstein conservation organization Hortus (www.hortus.li).
The varied program consisted of lectures, tastings, excursions and a comprehensive special exhibition, in which in addition to traditional fruit and wild fruit, an impressive collection of apple seeds of various varieties could be seen. In a separate room, pomologists had the opportunity to exchange information about descriptions and varieties. Some of the varieties not yet clearly identified were at the centre of these discussions. A comprehensive nut collection showed the impressive variety of colours and shapes for hazel- and walnuts. The lectures took place under the aspect of use: The focus was on old traditions in current use as well as new possibilities and methods to make fruit and fruit cultivation tasty for the general public. The afternoon of November 9th was open to local visitors. So, in addition to the described exhibitions and lectures at market stalls, visitors were able to find out, taste and also shop in the pleasant temperatures and
sunshine about must production and fruit brandies, literature and products. Excursions on the following day rounded off the program.
It is impressive how a loose group of people interested in pomological questions from different countries come together year after year to talk shop and discuss, exchange ideas and practical tips. In the beginning this was a small group at a cosy table, in 2019 over 50 people had registered for the 18th pomologist meeting. Congratulations to the organizers for the successful event that made friends with fruits!
Both the Swiss organisation “ProSpecieRara” (PSR) and the Dutch rare breed foundation “Stichting zeldzame Huisdierrassen” (SZH) launched their new website in September this year. Both developed new ‘tools’ to inspire their visitors and to optimise the contact between breeders, farmers, and all others who are interested.
To build a new structure of a website and to fill all pages is a very time consuming and intense process, because you have to rethink all communication you want to give to your customers, and stakeholders. The internet and the use of internet (for example on mobile phones) are rapidly changing, and to promote rare breeds and seeds, websites need to be updated and renewed too.
The ‘map of diversity’ (‘Karte der Vielfalt’) is the pride of PSR. More than 4,000 volunteers and numerous companies and institutions form the PSR network are listed. With the digital map everyone can discover where rare vegetables are grown, where woolly pigs & co get offspring,
where to buy PSR specialties, and which ark- and variety gardens can be explored.
With the help of communication experts (not familiar with rare breeds) the Dutch SZH renewed their communication plan completely. To keep it simple and structured for the visitor the new website contains less technical terms and language. A new tool introduced is ‘the rare breed index’, a joyful tool that helps to choose the rare breed that fits your wishes and the environment you can offer your animal. Questions like ‘are you looking for a pet or a farm animal’, or ‘would you like to have a local breed from your region’ are examples that show possibilities to choose from the
Dutch rare breeds. When your match is found, you will also see what breeding organisations and what farmers SZH advises you to get in contact to when you want the buy animals or get advice from.
On December 2nd-3rd the second annual project meeting of the H2020
Y ( DYNAmic seed networks for managing European diVERSITY)
took place in Florence.
Y concentrates on analysis and description of the actors involved in plant genetic conservation for food and agriculture in order to suggest management and governance models and to construct new forms of networking. It facilitates exchange and integration of scientific as well as practical knowledge on how to best manage diversity in agriculture and in the entire food chain, restoring evolutionary and adaptation processes.
A lot of activities took place in 2019: The exhibition “DYNAVERSITY – Plant, People and the Future of Food” was developed and it took place already at several events and places. The pictures can be
The eighth session of the Governing Body (GB 8) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA or Treaty) met on November 11- 16, 2019, to address a range of policy,
implementation, cooperation, and administrative matters of relevance to the Treaty and its Multilateral System (MLS) of access and benefit- sharing (ABS). The main item under discussion concerned a package of measures to enhance the functioning of the MLS, which has been under negotiation for six years and would have resulted in revising the coverage of the MLS and the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) used for exchanges of genetic resources in the MLS.
loaned, if you have any event to exhibit them. Additionally DYNAVERSITY is present on several media channels like YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2qd6amY40z ow7xUWT-AXlA and twitter: https://twitter.com/AgroBioDiv with very attractive videos and information. On the website (http://dynaversity.eu/publications) you can find some publications like a project leaflet, a photo booklet and an interesting leaflet about labelling diversity on: http://dynaversity.eu/wp- content/uploads/2019/10/Dynaversity_Labelling- diversity-in-EU.pdf. A paper on social innovation in seed exchange networks (www.ijsaf.org/index.php/ijsaf/article/view/9) shows the view of environmental social science: seed networks are more than "only" exchange platforms. They unite people, ideas, and networks across sectors, and serves as a means to redefine social relationships and create new modes of learning, doing, framing, and organising.
This project gives certain views to conservation of plant genetic resources and opens the mind for more than agricultural technical science. As a SKEP (Sharing Knowledge and Experience Platform) member SAVE will keep you informed. We invite you to have a look at: http://dynaversity.eu.
Delegates, however, could not reach consensus on such measures, nor on continuing intersessional work on this issue.
In the final resolution (IT/GB-8/19/RESitem7/L.1), the GB:
Integrating Knowledge for a Sustainable Future
Experts discuss the challenges faced in agrobiodiversity and
conservation, integrating disciplines that range from plant and biological sciences to economics and political science.
Wide-ranging environmental phenomena—
change, extreme weather events, and soil and water availability— combine with such socioeconomic factors as food policies, dietary preferences, and market forces to affect agriculture and food production systems on local, national, and global scales. The increasing simplification of food systems, the continuing decline of plant species, and the ongoing spread of pests and diseases threaten biodiversity in agriculture as well as the sustainability of food resources. Complicating the situation further, the multiple systems involved—cultural, economic, environmental, institutional, and technological—are
Where to find rare vine varieties in Albania, Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia Spain? In close context with the European Vitis Database, the Julius Kühn Institute in Germany
driven by human decision making, which is inevitably informed by diverse knowledge systems. The interactions and linkages that emerge necessitate an integrated assessment if we are to make progress toward sustainable agriculture and food systems.
This volume in the Strüngmann Forum Reports series offers insights into the challenges faced in agrobiodiversity and sustainability and proposes an integrative framework to guide future research, scholarship, policy, and practice. The contributors offer perspectives from a range of disciplines, including plant and biological sciences, food systems and nutrition, ecology, economics, plant and animal breeding, anthropology, political science, geography, law, and sociology. Topics covered include evolutionary ecology, food and human health, the governance of agrobiodiversity, and the interactions between agrobiodiversity and climate and demographic change.
Integrating Knowledge for a Sustainable Future Edited by Karl S. Zimmerer and Stef de Haan ISBN: 9780262038683
developed the platform “Rare traditional varieties on-farm” (see: www.eu-vitis.de/on-farm). Neglected local and traditional varieties represent a huge treasure of useful traits, like adaptation to ecological conditions. They provide new organoleptic features and a high potential for diversification. The unique wine characteristics are described as well as classic passport data of the variety according to the international passport-data-system including synonyms. The platform easily shows the grower with all available on-farm information like contact data and description of the variety, name of the appellation, reasons why it is a rare one and if there is a safety double existing. Of course also a
map shows, where the producers are. This is one step more to make agrobiodiversity and the places, where is still is grown more visible!
Mobile Pastoralism in Mediterranean Landscapes: The state of (mobile) pastoralism in five pilot sites is shown in a report about five different landscape types in the Mediterranean: Island landscapes.
Mountainous landscapes and lowland agro-silvo-
Landscapes are “the result of the
action and interaction of natural and/or human factors” (ELC, 2000). This is particularly valid for the Mediterranean Basin, with its long history
of habitation. Mobile pastoralism, a major traditional cultural practice in the Mediterranean for millennia, is a unique example of this constant interaction. Being entirely different in essence to intensive livestock production systems, mobile pastoralism has offered the most sustainable way to make the most of the Mediterranean’s rangelands. The strong linkage between the maintenance of mobile pastoralism and the protection of rangeland ecosystems has been supported by a growing body of scientific evidence (Yılmaz et al.,2019).
Local communities all over the Mediterranean basin still engage in many traditional cultural practices, which together with mobile pastoralism contribute to the ecological integrity and diversity of Mediterranean landscapes.
However, the threats of modern era that these communities are facing today challenge their capability to maintain their traditional lifestyles. This calls for urgent action. In order to conserve these traditional cultural practices which enable the maintenance and management of landscape diversity and halt biodiversity loss in Mediterranean Basin, 13 organizations joined forces at landscape and regional levels with the support provided by MAVA Foundation. At the landscape level, five pilot sites corresponding to three broad landscape types have been identified: Island landscapes (Lemnos Island, Greece and Menorca Island, Spain), Mountainous landscapes (High Atlas, Morocco and El Shouf Mountain, Lebanon) and lowland agro- silvo-pastoral landscapes (Dehesas, Spain, and Montados, Portugal). In addition to interventions at these pilot sites, mobile pastoralism is addressed at the regional level by Roads Less Travelled. The report outlines the state of (mobile) pastoralism in five pilot sites and how the partner organisations support conservation of the practice at the landscape level.
The ABS Task Force of ERFP and the Ex Situ Conservation Working Group worked out in the last years guidelines of Material Acquisition Agreements
Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) for Genebanks. With the new guidelines genebanks shall develop their own agreements for material to be stored or used for conservation, breeding or research. The lack of
MTA and MAA is frequent in the operations of the Genebanks. With these Guidelines the ERFP aim to support the development of the genebanks activities and improve the ex situ conservation of Animal Genetic Resources in the European Region. Also for the in-situ on-farm community it is important to be informed about the rules how genebanks are working. Especially the storage of material as a backward securing will become more important in future. The new guidelines are available here: www.animalgeneticresources.net/index.php/news/fi nal-version-of-the-guidelines-of-material-acquisition- agreements-and-material-transfer-agreement-for- genebanks.
Shepherd Stijn has a romantic world view, but his idealism clashes with the harsh reality of having to be a modern entrepreneur. In this poignant and
cinematic documentary we come close to Stijn and his family in their quest to keep the tradition of sheep herding alive. Will his struggle pay off or is he forced to go with the flock?
A nice film especially for winter days with worse weather: https://newtonfilm.nl/films/sheephero/?fbclid=IwAR2 82luRKRZtlUwUS2jVvnh0dpmP2w3rVf-- 2NJfeCrEJPmNFk0cK6ECxaI.
Stijn Hilgers has picked up his craft as a shepherd this year in the French Pyrenees. For four months he was herding sheep high up in the mountains. We will hear about his adventures…
the sixth century that modern producers have narrowed it down to an art form. Double yolk eggs are considered as a sign of good luck. Maybe because double-yolked eggs can command six to eight times the price.
Locals assiduously bred Gaoyou’s local duck variety for generations to produce double-yolkers, which occur when a fowl ovulates twice in the process of formulating an egg. This was no mean feat. In a 2010 paper, researchers mournfully note that “a double-yolk egg will not even survive to hatch. If it does hatch, the poor ducks are severely deformed, connected to one another.” But the
Source: www.atlasobscura.com/articles/eggs-with-two- yolks
Gaoyou in Yangzhou City, in East China's Jiangsu province, is well known for its specialty, double yolk duck eggs. In other parts of the world this would seem as an extreme rarity, however, duck production in Gaoyou stretches as far as back as
breeding in Gaoyou, they note, has produced ducks that lay anywhere from two to 10 percent double- yolked eggs.
Earlier this year, Gaoyou proudly held the 15th China Double-Yolk Duck Egg Festival. The event promotes local investment, fêtes city projects, such as the opening of the Chinese Duck Culture Museum in 2011, and celebrates the city’s claim to fame.
The SAVE Team