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March 04, 2024

"BODIUM4Farmers" - second co-design workshop in Halle

workshop b4f

The BonaRes Center for Soil Research initiated the second workshop on the web application "BODIUM4Farmers" which took place at the UFZ Halle on February 6, 2024.

BODIUM4Farmers has been developed to help with practical farming decisions and to advise agricultural counselling centres on how to assess ecologically and economically sensible management options for farmers in the long run. The tool is based on the BODIUM model, which is developed at UFZ. This model can simulate and predict the influence of soil management and the effect of climate on yields as well as other key soil functions like water storage and filtration, nutrient recycling and carbon storage.


During the development of BODIUM4Farmers, one major focus has always been the cooperation with practitioners to not only test but also to improve the practical suitability of the application. Eleven stakeholders from agriculture, agricultural consulting, associations and societies were invited to the workshop at UFZ Halle. The aim was to find out what soil-related challenges regional agriculture is currently facing and how BODIUM4Farmers can support them. All guests showed great interest in the progression of the decision support tool for practical agriculture and endorsed its application on their home farms. Furthermore, the potential of such an application for estimating future farm-specific subsidies was emphasized.


The participants were convinced by the systemic approach of the model and appreciated its process-based approach. During the workshop, practical aspects such as the usability of the application, the design of the user interface, the presentation of results, possible sustainable farming scenarios and the necessary data input were discussed. The UFZ scientists gained important insights into the needs of farmers and their requirements for the usage of such a tool.


One crucial response was related to the usability of the application: BODIUM4Farmers should be as easy to handle as possible while not reducing any of the output information. Its linkage with existing systems and data sources such as field maps or databases of machine manufacturers was emphasized as being crucial. The focus of BODIUM4Farmers on ecological effects of farm management was considered positive and important. The need for an economic assessment is rather minor, as it can be carried out by other tools or external consultants, too.


Participants were highly interested in further developments of BODIUM4Farmers and are open to a test phase on their farms. The joint dialog between our guests and the BODIUM4Farmers team was perceived as meaningful and profitable on both sides.