At the Schäfer family farm, generations work hand in hand for a secure future.
Everyone’s talking about sustainability, environmental protection, and CO2 neutrality. This is also happening in the Mörshausen district of Homberg. But the Frese family aren’t all talk. They are actively on the road to reducing their carbon footprint. Over the next three years, they will be supported by Nürtingen University and its project partners as part of the net zero project. If you visit the farm, you’ll experience first hand the massive changes taking place.
When talking to the Frese family, it quickly becomes clear why the farm is taking part in the joint pilot project of Hochwald and Nestlé. Everyone on the farm has the sustainability of their work firmly in mind. Not only in crop rotation in the fields, but in all other areas too.
Long before the net zero project, they were already actively checking the viability of converting the farm to organic milk. However, this ultimately failed to materialise due to the issue of grazing land for the cows. The land would have been available, but it would have been too far away from the farm and the cowshed. Construction measures such as the expansion of the cubicle housing system, a weighing facility for trucks, and the conversion of the farmhouse are being planned. There is also the further development of field cultivation. Here, the Frese family and Florian Aßmann are planning to increase legumes cultivation – and perhaps even grain maize too. This would make the farm a little more independent in the area of feed. They’re taking many steps towards the future and sustainability.
Since the decision was made in favour of the Frese farm, the number of appointments at the farm and the online coordination meetings have increased significantly. Ultimately, with scientific support from Nürtingen University, a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions is the utmost goal. They are aiming for a net balance of zero.
It is based on the detailed recording of the actual situation. First, experts from the university collect all emissions from the farm. This is followed by roughly 30 successive steps, which seek to reduce emissions. These range from optimal feeding of the cows to gas-tight slurry storage, the construction of a biogas plant, energy generation via photovoltaic systems and optimised herd management. At the same time, plans are being implemented with a view to store more greenhouse gases – through humus formation in the soil, for example.
Picture from left to right: Prof. Dr Stephan Schneider, Nürtingen-Geislingen University and farmer Mario Frese