Integrated analysis of dietary patterns and agricultural practices for sustainable food systems in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is currently facing many environmental problems. The agriculture sector is as much a victim as also a driver of these problems, and changes in the farming practices are needed in order to face them and ensure food security for future generations. Apart from production practices, the sustainability of the food and agriculture sector is also influenced by consumers’ food choices. The aim of this project is therefore a) to assess holistically the current sustainability level of the Luxembourgish agriculture sector, b) to identify necessary changes to dietary patterns and production practices, and c) to develop differentiated strategies for the development of sustainable food systems in Luxembourg. The project will assess the sustainability of the Luxembourgish food system on two levels: the farm-level and the food system-level. For the farm-level sustainability assessment, the project analyses farming practices and their respective sustainability implications according to the FAO SAFA Guidelines (Guidelines for the Sustainability Assessment of the Food and Agriculture Systems) using the SMART (Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment RouTine)-Farm Tool. Through this assessment, aspects of the agriculture sector (farm type, practices, etc.) can be identified that have positive or negative impacts on the sustainability of the farm. These identified trade-offs and synergies can then be used in the food system-level sustainability assessment for Luxembourg. Here, the mass-flow model of the agriculture and food sector (SOL), developed by FiBL and the FAO, will be employed to analyse the environmental implications of dietary patterns and food production systems. The food system-level sustainability assessment will allow the development of scenarios of sustainable food systems for Luxembourg. Together, the results from these two levels of sustainability assessments will be synthesised and used to formulate target-group specific recommendations for the development of sustainable food systems.
2018 - 2021
Apart from financial support from the "Ministère du Déveleoppement Durable et des Infrastructures" and from the "Oeuvre National de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte" and sponsoring from BIOGROS S.A. and OIKOPOLIS S.A., this project is also supported through private donations.

lighthouse project: optimization of organic materials cycles of viticulture in luxembourg

Grape marc - from underrated waste product to regionally produced premium fertilizer

The residue grape marc is transformed into a regional, high-quality fertiliser by optimizing the composting process. Ways are shown that improve the organic materials cycles in Luxembourg's viticulture in order to in turn minimize the need for mineral nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers and pesticides. The use of the composting process in agricultural and the use of compost products are one way to increase sustainability and counteract climate change.
Locally produced compost products help to promote humus formation and thus help to protect the climate. The aim of the project is to promote wide support for compost products. There will be demonstration windrows and demonstration plots that can be used for composting courses and workshops. The courses are aimed at farmers, winegrowers and private individuals. In addition, information events and communication activities are carried out that appeal to all social groups.
Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte Luxembourg

“schlassbierg” pilot project

Since 2016, IBLA has been collaborating with the Syndicat des Eaux Sud (SES) and the Chamber of Agriculture in the context of the "Schlassbierg" pilot project. Continuing in the vein of previous projects for improving the quality of drinking water (the proposed measures of which mainly focused on reducing fertilisation and the amounts of used pesticides), the current project is intended to go even further. The aim is to forego all mineral fertilisers and chemical-synthetic pesticides on the "Schlassbierg" plateau. The project offers the unique opportunity to examine the impact that a complete refusal to use mineral fertilisers and chemical-synthetic pesticides has on the water quality. The entire plateau is the private property of a single owner, all surfaces are cultivated by a single farmer and five springs are fed from this plateau alone. Hence, the effect that a change in the management of the fields has on the quality of the drinking water can be recorded and analysed on the basis of two reinforced springs (sources of drinking water) and three wild springs (natural sources); in fact, the activities on the plateau are reflected directly in the springs. Both the composition of the drinking water and the overall water quality will thus be considered in the evaluation of the "Schlassbierg" project.

The aim of the project is to abandon the use of all mineral fertilisers and chemical-synthetic pesticides in order to analyse the impact that this agricultural practices have on the drinking water quality of the springs. The following questions are addressed in this context:
• What implications does the described procedural change have for the quality of the drinking water springing from the two reinforced sources as well as for the quality of the water springing from the three wild sources, respectively?
• What changes are necessary in order to achieve stable yields despite not using pesticides and mineral fertilisers?
• What levels will crop shortfalls reach?


Sustainable and resource-efficient protein production using various mechanical weed control methods in grain legume cultivation; using soybean as an example

Soybean is one of the most important protein sources in animal nutrition. With the highest raw protein content of about 40%, compared to other protein crops, and a very high biological value due to its ideal amino acid composition, it is a valuable grain legume. Its multitude of positive features makes it not only interesting for cultivation in organic farming. The cultivation of soybeans expands and diversifies the crop rotation, leads to an increase in soil fertility due to its ability of nitrogen fixation and results in inter alia an increased biodiversity. In addition to the not yet guaranteed further processing of soybeans in Luxemburg, there are knowledge gaps in weed control that need to be bridged in order to be able to ensure regionally stable and sufficient yields in soybean production.

The LeguTec project will test and compare different mechanical weed control techniques on three organic farms in Luxembourg as well as at the Lycée Technique Agricole from spring 2018 onwards. The aim of this project is to find the best possible mechanical weed control method for soybean cultivation in terms of site, weed pressure and yield. This project will also show what modern possibilities exist in mechanical weed control in grain legume cultivation, to promote a sustainable and resource-efficient protein production in Luxembourg.
October 2017 – September 2020
The project is funded by the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte and the Ministère de l’Agriculture, de la Viticulture et de la Protection des consommateurs and is sponsored by Wolff-Weyland S.A..

holistic sustainability assessment of farms

SMART (Sustainability Monitorung and Assessment RouTine)-Farm Tool

How sustainable are Luxembourgish farms? What are their strengths, and what could be improved in regards to sustainability? How do they compare to farms from abroad?
To adress these questions, the FiBL (Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, Schweiz) developed the SMART-Farm Tool (Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment RouTine). SMART is a tool for sustainability assessment and evaluation of farms and food companies. It is based on the SAFA-sustainability guidelines (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems) of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) published in December of 2013. These guidelines divide sustainability in 21 themes and 58 sub-themes in the four dimensions of economics, ecology, social and corporate management. The FAO has developed a specific sustainability goal for each of these sub-themes. The objective of the SAFA-guidelines is to give meaning to the concept of sustainability, to support actors in the food production and to assure the implementation of improvements in sustainability. The guidelines provide a uniform framework which allows for a transparent and comparable evaluation of businesses and farms of various types and sizes.
After training at FiBL Switzerland, the IBLA is now able to measure, analyse and compare the different sustainability objectives of Luxembourgish farms using the SMART-Farm Tool. The pilot project “Complete Sustainability Assessment of Farms“ is a cooperation of IBLA, SFS GmbH (Sustainable Food Systems) and FiBL (Sustainable Food Systems) Switzerland.
The project is supported by Naturata and the ministry of agriculture within the framework of the action plan for organic agriculture Luxembourg.

variety trials

in organic agriculture in Luxembourg

The aim of the variety trialss is to give Luxembourgish organic farmers meaningful recommendations for the variety selection. For this purpose, winter wheat cultivation trials in organic farming were implemented by IBLA under the "Organic Agriculture Action Plan Luxembourg" for the first time in 2009/10, with the financial support of the Administration des Services Techniques de l'Agriculture (ASTA) and the support of the Lycée Technique Agricole (LTA). On the basis of these trials, a list of varieties is issued each year by the National Variety Commission as an aid for the selection of varieties for the farmers.
Variety trials conducted by IBLA for organic agriculture are:
• Winter cereals (winter wheat, winter rye, winter triticale)
• Summer cereals (summer wheat, oats, summer barley
• Soybeans
• Peas and field beans
• Potatoes
• Winter cereal variety trials since 2009
• Summer cereal variety trials in 2014-2016
• Soybean variety trials in 2014
• Clover grass mixture variety trials in 2013-2015
• Pea and faba bean variety trials since 2016
• Potato variety trials since 2016

eu projekt autograssmilk

The EU-project Autograssmilk (AGM) wants to counter the prejudice that grazing and milking robots are not compatible with each other. The combination of modern milking technology and traditional grazing is difficult. AGM is a collaboration of research organizations from seven countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Luxembourg (since 2014)). The initiator of the Luxembourgish project is the FILL (Fördergemeinschaft integrierte Landbewirtschaftung Luxemburg). The practical implementation is carried out in an exemplary collaboration by the ASTA, CONVIS, IBLA, LTA and SER.
2014 - 2015
The project was supported in Luxembourg within the FP7 project framework ("SME-2012-2-314879").

grassland and animal health eifel

The optimization of permanent grassland, the pasture management, the perennial field forage cultivation and the fodder conservation, in order to improve the efficiency, animal health, value and environmental compatibility of the dairy production in the grassland region.

In recent decades, more and more new symptoms have developed on dairy farms which no longer can be attributed to classic diseases. Subclinical acidosis, subclinical ketosis as well as Mortellaro and other diseases have not been known forty years ago. The causes of these diseases are due to several factors and can no longer be clearly analysed and named. These diseases are therefore grouped together as "factor diseases". In both advisory and research, the disciplinary approach is the common method to find a solution. This makes it difficult to analyse causal relations within complex systems such as keeping and feeding of dairy cows. An interdisciplinary approach is therefore indispensable in order to optimize dairy production in a sustainable and economically efficient way. Such an innovative, interdisciplinary approach needs to focus on actors (practice, consultation, research), as well as observations and analyses (soil, grassland, feed conservation, feeding, animal health).

The objectives of the project are:
• Analysing grassland and forage production with regard to their yields while taking into account their fertilization and cutting times.
• Improving the silage process by reducing the pure protein degradation and indicating alternatives to the silage process.
• Analysing the influence of the grassland and forage production, as well as the conservation methods on the basic feed intake and animal health of the dairy cow, thus improving the profitability of dairy cattle as a whole.
2016 - 2019
The project is an EIP Agri (European Innovation Partnership "Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability") project, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (FEADER) within the framework of the Rhineland-Palatinate program EULLE "Environmental Measures, Rural Development, Agriculture, Nutrition" co-funded by the country Rhineland-Palatinate represented by the "Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Food, Viticulture and Forestry Rhineland-Palatinate".