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April 05, 2017

Workshop “Long Term Field Experiments in Germany“ in Berlin

There are more than 150 agricultural long term field experiments (LTFE) in Germany. They all have been running for more than 20 years. Some of them comprise test series with a duration of 100 years plus. These LTFEs are a priceless treasure in form of data, since the long term measuring allows conclusions on the influence of different cultivations and/or climate change on agricultural yields as well as a variety of soil processes and their impacts on soil functions.
From 20th till 21st March 2017, forty-nine representatives from universities, research institutions and regional authorities as well as the BonaRes Centre met at Humboldt University Berlin (HUB) to discuss long term field experiments. The motivation for this workshop was to talk about opportunities the BonaRes Centre can offer to unite quality-assured data from long term series in one portal, to also provide it to a scientific community and to reinforce long term field experiments and raise their visibility.

The importance of long term field experiments was stressed in several presentations. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Ellmer (HUB) identified long term field experiments as “national field of experimentation” in his introducing words.
As a guest speaker, Prof. Dr. Thomas Kätterer (Uppsala University / Sweden) could be won. He reported on results of Swedish long term field experiments and on opportunities of linking up long term field experiments on national and international level.
Within the plenary session, the online map on LTFE in Germany, which has been based on a broad literature research, was introduced as an important product of the BonaRes Centre.

On both days of the workshop, participants discussed the following results in 3 working groups:
Concerning sustainability and networking, representatives of the LTFE are aiming at a better networking and welcomed support from the BonaRes Centre. The network should be used for several reasons: to better communicate the relevance of LTFE, to intensify analysis und mutual usage and therefore, to document the value for future’s big question on food security and climate protection as well as to open new financial resources. A memorandum will be written to communicate the relevance of LTFE for social future questions.
With regard to data availability and data protection, two opportunities of a mutual data base via the BonaRes Centre were welcomed. Concerning data provision, experimental institutions pointed out the necessity of involving data holders – may it be as co-authors, cooperation contracts with data users or similar.
Along with user agreements, discussions are now open.
Regarding quality requirement of data as well as measuring of LTFE, participants of the working group put emphasis on the necessity of an elaborate documentation of applied methods and the provision of meta data – ideally along a mutually defined quality criteria or standards. Data publication was considered as positive in this context, since it requires a careful documentation. The working group also stressed the necessity of cooperation between data owners and data users in order to use data optimally. Also the necessity to involve LTFE actively into work/activities with project participation, cooperation contracts and co-authorship was underlined. This can be a contribution to secure the continuation of LTFE in the long run.

Please find the program of the workshop here (in German):

The BonRes Centre would like to thank colleagues of Humboldt University Dr. Kathlin Schweitzer, Dr. Thomas Döring as well as Prof. Frank Ellmer for organizing this joint workshop.