Sisal production in Ethiopia as a woman

Lexicon of the agricultural area


Seed dressings

Chemical agents used for preventive protection (dressing) of the seeds, especially of grain, beet and vegetable seeds, against fungal diseases (fungicides) and animal pests.

Organic mercury compounds (mercury), such as phenyl mercury acetate, are effective but ecotoxicologically questionable. Seeds that have been treated with seed dressings may not be used as feed or food.


Name for the arable or garden soil prepared for sowing. The seedbed should be designed in such a way that it offers a uniform depth of the seed and the best germination conditions; So it is different to prepare for the different types of plants and seed sizes and sowing methods.

On the one hand, the “seed” should lie on a sufficiently firm, capillary-effective arable top, but on the other hand, it should be covered by an easily heated and well-ventilated loose layer. The seeds of light germs require special attention here - too fine crumbs can lead to drifting or silting up of the soil, seeds that are too flat easily lead to bird damage.

Usually the soil is turned and mixed by plowing a seed furrow and above-ground plant remains of the preculture are worked under. This work can only be carried out on a sufficiently dried field in order to then achieve the desired reconsolidated, but finely crumbly soil structure with other agricultural implements such as packers, harrows or seedbed combinations.

In order to protect arable land at risk from soil erosion (e.g. heavy rain, slope inclination) or to maintain the soil structure, the no-till method is also increasingly used. Here the seedbed is the unploughed area of ​​the previous arable crop.

The following zones are clearly visible in an optimally prepared seedbed:

  • Loose top crumb with sufficient proportion of fine soil to embed the seeds; coarser aggregates in this zone reduce the risk of silting up and erosion
  • Separate seed horizon (area on which the grains come to lie) with connection to the capillary water ascent from the subsoil for fast and safe germination
  • Lower crust with gradual transition to the subsoil; free from compaction, but sufficiently reconsolidated (e.g. after using the packer after plowing)

In horticulture, the term is also used sporadically for small beds seedbed in front. Because of the widespread manual sowing and the possibility of controlling moisture and heat, the special requirements of the respective seed can be met more easily. In horticulture, humus-rich soils are usually added to the seedbed.

If plants are not sown but planted, one speaks of a Plant bed.


Also Seed or Seed fruit; Term for dry, dormant, generative reproductive organs such as seeds, fruits, false fruits, fruit stands or parts thereof. They contain the complete germination system of the plants that has arisen through fertilization. When stored in a dry and cool place, the seeds retain their germination and growing power for many years.

On the other hand, vegetative reproductive organs such as rhizomes, tubers, onions and cuttings are referred to as plant material. These parts of the plant are capable of regeneration, but usually only last for a few vegetation periods.

The size and weight of seeds from different plant species vary widely. For example, the thousand grain mass (TKM) of red clover is 1.75-2.25 grams, grain 28-55 grams, corn 200-450 grams, and broad beans 300-700 grams.

When it comes to seeds, health, purity of the variety, ability to germinate and driving force play an outstanding role; they have a major impact on the harvest and thus also on the availability and security of food.

The usual dressing of the agricultural seeds protects them and the young plants from fungi and pests during and after germination in the field. Breeding improves seeds.

Traditional takes place (e) seed production by the farmers themselves by storing seeds or other reproductive material (e.g. cuttings, tubers) and using them for sowing or planting. In this "informal seed system", selection takes place on the basis of desirable phenotypic properties. The seeds are either used in the replica or exchanged in the vicinity. This practice resulted in a variety of land races with properties adapted to the respective climatic and edaphic conditions. Although the majority of farmers worldwide still do seed saving operates, the practice is declining sharply, in industrialized countries, but increasingly also in developing countries.

The "formal seed system" consists of the professional breeding of new varieties based on genetic knowledge and their dissemination by the public sector and private companies. Since the 1980s, the leadership role in the development and distribution of seeds in the formal sector has increasingly been transferred to private, global companies, even if the state's role as regulator in the approval of registered seeds has generally remained.

Seeds and patents on life

The global handling of seeds, the basis of our diet, is a burning glass for the privatization of agricultural knowledge. The World Agricultural Report describes developments over the past hundred years with obvious concern for the future and the general accessibility and diversity of the genetic resources of our cultivated plants.
Initially received, exchanged and further developed by farmers for thousands of years as a common inheritance, seeds were a public good at the beginning of the 20th century, which science improved on the basis of more recent findings in genetics, above all the recently rediscovered Mendelian laws, and which were state-controlled Job was systematically recorded and made available to farmers.

While the first large state seed collections based on modern knowledge were set up by Nikolai Vavilov in Leningrad, among others, private breeders asserted intellectual property rights in newly developed varieties for the first time in the 1930s and 1940s. However, in the UPOV international plant variety protection agreement, which was agreed in 1961, they also ensured that the genetic material itself remained freely available for further breeding (breeder's reservation) and that farmers could cultivate seeds obtained from their own harvest (farmer's privilege). Seed breeding only became an interesting business for the private sector with the introduction of hybrid seeds in the 1920s by the Pioneer Hi-Bred company. Because the higher-yielding hybrid varieties no longer produce seeds of uniform quality in the next generation, they act like "biological plant variety protection".

Since the 1940s, international plant breeding centers, mainly with funding from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation, have specifically developed new high-performance varieties that made an important contribution to increasing grain production and fighting hunger in the 1960s and 1970s. These were public, non-commercial programs. However, they have been accompanied by a rapid global increase in the commercial use of pesticides and fertilizers. In the 1980s, some companies began to invest systematically in genetic engineering. Exclusive patents on genetic modifications and isolated genetic information made it possible for the first time to prohibit others from using certain genetic properties in breeding. Since the turn of the millennium, companies have also been striving with increasing success to even enforce patents on the results of conventional breeding, e.g. the content of certain ingredients or sheer tallness like Monsanto's "decapitated broccoli". At the same time, plant variety protection law was tightened. The 1991 version of the UPOV Convention prohibits farmers from exchanging or selling protected seeds and also restricts their reproduction.

In the 1990s, a process of concentration in the seed industry that has continued to this day began in the hands of a handful of international chemical companies. Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow, BASF and Bayer also control the global pesticide business. While the World Agricultural Report 2008 complained that the 10 largest companies control over 50% of the global trade in protected varieties, five years later there are still three companies that control 53% of the market.
They concentrate on a few, lucrative plant species that are cultivated by wealthy farmers on large areas and on regions that have the appropriate infrastructure and legal protection for their claims. The World Agriculture Report therefore doubts the usefulness of patents and intellectual property rights for innovation, research and knowledge dissemination in the field of seeds. Hopes of maintaining access to patented seeds through the united appearance of public universities and research institutions vis-à-vis the private sector have been dashed in recent years. Likewise the hope that the International Agreement on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGRFA) will maintain a fair exchange of breeding material for the common good between private and public breeders.

The companies hoard patents on plants, animals, genetic information and processes and thus complicate research, development and, above all, marketing in their competition and in publicly funded research. Their strategy of exploiting the new “raw material knowledge”, including the growing mountains of genome data, all too often consists only in preventing others from using and developing them independently. Usually the threat of a long-term legal dispute with an uncertain outcome is enough. [...]

Source: World Agricultural Report

Plant breeding is cutting-edge technology today. Across the industry, an average of 15.1 percent of sales are spent on research and development. This means that plant breeding is more research-intensive than the pharmaceutical industry. The German breeding landscape is characterized by diversity and heterogeneity. The strong competition among breeders leads to constant progress and provides an incentive to supply the market with improved varieties.

Since most of the properties that determine the performance of the seeds cannot be assessed directly when they are bought, regulations were passed in the Seed Traffic Act (SaatG).

The SaatG defines seeds as

  1. Seeds intended for the production of plants; seeds of fruit and ornamental plants are excluded,
  2. Potato seedlings,
  3. Planting stock of the vine including rods and rod parts.

The as Propagating material designated plants and plant parts of vegetables, fruit or ornamental plants which are intended for the production of plants and plant parts or otherwise for cultivation. According to the SaatG, the seeds are classified into various categories (Basic seed, Certified seeds, Standard seeds etc.), whereby corresponding terms exist for the planting material.

Plant breeding for the production of seeds and seedlings for agriculture and horticulture is carried out in Germany by around 130 predominantly medium-sized companies. 58 companies with their own breeding program and 30 sales companies together manage approx. 3,500 hectares of breeding gardens and 225,000 m² of greenhouse space. A total of 5,800 permanent employees (including many scientists) and additional seasonal workers work in the industry.

In Germany, too, private plant breeding is largely concentrated on the cultivation of the economically important arable crops (grain, maize, rapeseed, sugar beet, potatoes, fodder crops). The breeding of rare, mostly economically less important species as well as permanent and special crops is largely carried out by state and university institutions. Vegetable breeding is also only covered by a few growers. The global division of labor and international trade have led to strong competition from abroad for the German breeding industry. A prerequisite for plant variety protection is that a variety is new, distinguishable, homogeneous and stable. This is checked by the Bundessortenamt in a process that takes several years. The seeds are propagated on selected farms.

The purchase of seeds and planting material is the rule for most agricultural businesses today. They usually lack the ability to prepare their own seeds. The quality of their own harvested product is also too low and too heterogeneous. Reproduction also increases the risk of disease. Nevertheless, in recent years, mostly for cost reasons, the seeds and planting material obtained from their own harvest has gained in importance, especially among self-fertilizers. In vegetable growing, replicating seeds is much rarer. On the one hand, the species are in most cases harvested in a vegetative state. On the other hand, many types of vegetables are hybrids, the reproduction of which leads to significant losses in yield and homogeneity.

(see also farmer's privilege)

Additional Information:

Seed treatment

Preventive treatment, especially of grain, beet and vegetable seeds to protect against pests (fungi, animals) and against being eaten by birds or small animals (denaturants)

A distinction is made between physical and chemical dressing and disinfection processes and genetic engineering seed treatment. After the introduction of systemic fungicides, the physical processes (e.g. hot water dressing) only play a subordinate role or are still used in organic farming. Physical seed treatment with low-energy electrons is a very effective and sustainable process and, in contrast to chemical seed treatment, does not leave any residues.

Chemical pickling

Dressing seeds is the most economical and environmentally friendly method of protecting seeds and germ buds from fungal pathogens.
Optimal dressing consists of an exact, even distribution of the agent on the seeds in accordance with the approval. In order to achieve this, it must be ensured - in addition to good raw materials - that the conveying paths for seeds in the dressing points are laid out and cleaned when the variety is changed. The necessary good sorting of the grain requires an assortment of thoroughly cleaned sieves in all required sizes.

There must be no dust or abrasion in the dressing systems that bind the dressing and lead to losses on the seed. A dilution of the pickling agent has a positive effect, since the grain is better coated by adding water. In principle, liquid dressings have the advantage that they adhere better to the seed and do not develop dust.

Physical pickling

A number of methods are available in organic farming for the production and maintenance of healthy seeds. The use of healthy seeds is of particular importance in organic farming. Gaps in stocks as a result of poor seed quality can hardly be compensated for during the growing season. In organic farming, diseases that have their origin in seeds cannot be combated by the use of pesticides. With the classic method of hot water treatment, the most important diseases in both grain and vegetable growing can be kept under control. Modern processes such as electron pickling can also be used.

Genetic seed treatment

Genetically manipulated agricultural products are used in agriculture to create the compulsion to buy by-products. This is already the case today in agriculture, where certain genetically modified seeds require very specific pesticides in order for the harvests to be successful. Farmers become dependent on a few large agrochemical companies. HybriTech Europe and Monsanto's European Center for Crop Research (ECCR) in Louvain-la-Neuve, for example, are working on the qualitative and quantitative improvement of wheat yields through genetic and chemical research. Disease resistance, the breeding of higher-yielding varieties and hybrids as well as innovative seed protection should make it possible to apply chemical pesticides in smaller quantities.

(see also dressings, seed dressings)

Saxon goers

In the second half of the 19th century.Appeared term for seasonal (April - November) columns of migrant workers who, after the inclusion of root crops in the crop rotation, mainly moved to the sugar beet growing areas to cover the additional labor demand. The Saxons mostly came from small farms in the Netze, Warthe and Oder regions, Silesia, the Eichsfeld and other areas.

(see also Holland-goers, Swabian children)

Dead end village

Closed village, which is characterized by the reduction of the road network to one or more blindly ending streets, to which - in contrast to the Rundling - the court riding structure is not strictly oriented.

Juice feed

Feed materials that have a high content of water. The juice fodder includes green fodder, fermented fodder and root crops. Silage is also a juice feed because, in contrast to hay, for example, it has a relatively high water content.

Sahel syndrome

Bundles of forms of soil degradation and their causes in the agricultural use of marginal locations. The term is part of a classification of soil degradation syndromes.

The Sahel syndrome includes the overgrazing and overexploitation of arid and semi-arid grasslands and the development of steep, structurally weak, erosion-prone soils.

A further developed concept of the Sahel syndrome not only takes into account soil-centered clinical pictures, but also all elements of the natural and anthroposphere at the same time.

The focal points of the overexploitation of such agricultural locations and thus the exceeding of ecological sustainability lie next to the Sahel zone in the Maghreb, in East Africa, Western Arabia, parts of East and Central Asia, India, Central America, and parts of Eastern Brazil.

Inadequate farming, fire and overgrazing result in reduced productivity and particular susceptibility of the natural area. Together with the often strongly fluctuating annual precipitation in arid areas, this leads to a degradation of steppes or savannas to desert-like landscapes.

The symptoms of this desertification are:

  • Degradation of the plant cover, decline in biomass production in both primary and agricultural vegetation
  • Changes in the water balance (soil water, groundwater, evaporation, surface runoff)
  • Changed morphological processes such as increased wind and water erosion and reactivation of dune migrations and dune formation
  • Soil degradation (aridification, reduced soil fertility, soil encrustation, soil salinization and alkalization, soil structure destruction)

As a major cause is that Land use change, of the Subsistence farming towards capital-intensive Monoculture cultivation of cash crops. As a result, the rural population is increasingly forced to switch to marginal locations. In connection with the population growth, this leads to an expansion of the agriculturally used areas and an intensification of use. In addition, there is the use of firewood with increasingly scarce wood supplies.

Other causes and their consequences:

  • The influence of western cultures (colonization, modern media): consumer needs changed, alienation from natural livelihoods by turning away from barter and mutual assistance, individualization replaced traditional forms of coexistence in tribes, clans and villages (solidarity systems), loss of traditional knowledge about adapted agriculture Practices
  • Domestic political factors: Promotion of modern intensive agriculture, low opportunities for participation of the rural population, bureaucraticism, tendency to disregard the traditional way of life, often combined with repression (sedentaration of nomads)
  • External economic constraints: worsened terms of trade, high international debt, compulsion to earn foreign currency by cultivating cash crops
  • Misconceived development aid: hasty modernization of agriculture (sedentarism of nomads, deep well construction) instead of local, adapted, small-scale projects, abandonment of originally sustainable tillage methods, little consideration of the needs and traditions of the local population
  • high population growth
  • Growing impoverishment, rural exodus, increasing susceptibility to food crises, increasing frequency of political and social conflicts over scarce resources.

Seasonal worker

As a seasonal worker (also Seasonal workers, Seasoners, Seasonal workers or temporary employees) refers to people who only work for a temporary period, the season, e.g. B. during the harvest in agricultural industries. There, as in tourism, this leads to work peaks and an increased demand for labor for a limited period of time.

From a global perspective, seasonal employment often takes place under poor labor law conditions in terms of wages (daily wages) or accommodation, with temporary residence permits or illegally as illegal work.

In the countries of the European Union, seasonal workers and harvest workers are mostly migrants from Eastern Europe and Africa, and some from Asia or South America.

Around 1,000,000 people work in German agriculture (source: Federal Statistical Office 2014). Around half are family workers (including farm managers). Of the 515,000 non-family workers, around 61 percent are seasonal workers. Around 95 percent of these are of non-German origin. The number of workers from Poland has decreased significantly in recent years, while the number of workers from Romania has increased significantly. Around 180,000 harvest workers came from Romania in 2016 and around 100,000 from Poland. The remaining 20,000 or so foreign seasonal workers come mainly from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia.

Seasonal settlement

Seasonally inhabited or seasonally built individual or group settlements at different residential areas. The dwellings can be floor-mounted or floor-mounted, or they can be a combination of floor-standing plinth and transportable roofing. Seasonal settlements occur in agriculture, livestock farming, fishing and as a tourist settlement or leisure settlement.


Also Sakije or Saqiya; a pumping station driven by draft animals, with which water is lifted from a pond or well shaft, more rarely from a canal or river to a higher irrigation channel. It was mainly used to irrigate fields and is still used in a modernized form in the Indian subcontinent.

A sakia consists of a vertical wooden shaft standing on a circular surface, the head of which is mounted in a crossbeam attached to lateral supporting walls. This must be high enough for the draft animal to pass under it. The shaft is turned by the draft animal (ox, water buffalo, mule, camel, etc.), which is harnessed to a long rod stuck in the shaft. The animal runs in a circle around the shaft. A gear wheel is attached to the shaft at a suitable height above the ground, originally a wooden disc with sturdy pegs on its edge, which engages the gear wheel of a horizontal shaft built into the ground. At the other end of this second wave sits the real work wheel, which the Sakia distinguishes into two types:

  • Sakia with vessels attached directly to the bucket wheel
    In this type, the scoops are attached directly to the edge of the wheel. The vessels are immersed in the water and pour it into a drainage channel above the axis of the wheel.
  • Sakia with a surrounding chain of vessels
    This guy, also known in English and French as Persian wheel (Persian wheel or. Roue persane), has a number of scoops that are attached at regular intervals between two revolving ropes that extend from the wheel to below the water level of the fountain or other deeper water. The ceramic vessels are immersed in the water at the lowest point of the chain due to their own weight and are then pulled up by the chain to the work wheel.

Since the late 13th century, the Sakia technology was used in Central Europe, especially in mining, under the name of Göpel.

(see also Noria)


Term that describes a dish on the one hand, and a lettuce plant on the other hand means a crop that is harvested and processed, usually eaten as a cold, uncooked, raw, marinated side dish for main courses. "Salad plant" is neither a systematic term used in horticulture nor botany; it is rather a nutritional and kitchen classification based on the preparation.
Salad plants in the classic sense are leafy vegetables, but there are also a number of plant products that are typical of the salad mix, such as tomatoes or carrots, from which both leaf and root parts are used, onion vegetables (with leeks also leaf parts), or Soy (seedlings of a plant) and other things, as well as a number of wild plants that have been "rediscovered" in the course of organic cuisine, in the broadest sense even some types of fruit, cereals (such as corn), mushroom stalls and nuts. (Salads: assortment)

Botanical characteristics

Most salads - with the exception of the pickled lettuce - have more or less distinct leaf rosettes. Only the inflorescence protrudes from this rosette or from the original head. The salads include the garden salads, endive salad, lamb's lettuce, rocket and Chinese cabbage.

Market importance

Many different lettuce plants are produced and sold in Germany. The per capita consumption of vegetables in Germany in 2017/2018 was around 103 kilograms. Of this, lettuce accounted for 5.7 kilograms. Only the ice lettuce, which has long overtaken the lettuce in popularity, made it into the top ten of the best-selling vegetables.

The ice lettuce also holds a top position in Germany in terms of acreage and harvest. In 2018, a good 134,000 tons of ice lettuce were harvested on 3,807 hectares.

Domestic production is insufficient for demand, and large quantities have to be imported. Most of the imported salads come from EU countries, especially from Spain and Italy.

EU marketing standards apply to most types of lettuce. They regulate minimum characteristics and classifications.


Salad is a typical outdoor culture in this country. Radicchio and chicory grow exclusively in the field, while lettuce, lamb's lettuce and rock salad are more likely to be grown under protective covers and greenhouses that can be walked on. With chicory, only the roots grow in the field, from which the sprouts are later sprouted for consumption in a darkened room.

Planting on mulch films is becoming increasingly important, as they cover the soil and have a positive effect on soil heat and moisture, which ultimately increases the yield and suppresses undesirable weeds. Before planting, it is necessary to thoroughly remove unwanted weeds. If there is no mulching, the producers have to chop the arable land with special tractor attachments or by hand, depending on the weed growth.

The main season for most varieties is summer. Others, for example lettuce, lollo rosso or oak leaf, on the other hand, reach harvest maturity as early as April, lamb's lettuce and chicory are typical winter salads. It is harvested by hand and the farmers check the lettuce on site for specified quality parameters, such as freedom from pests or optimal ripeness - because not all heads ripen at the same time.

Storage and processing

The easily perishable nature of lettuce plants means that harvesting and marketing must be well organized.

After sorting in the field, the farmers deliver local goods, partly unpacked and in air-permeable, covered crates to their clients. On the one hand, this saves packaging material, and on the other hand, no condensation forms, which would quickly lead to muddy leaves.

In particular, the heads of ice-cream lettuce are individually wrapped in foil, lettuce hearts and romaine are packed in foil bags in a packing station. Lamb's lettuce and rocket are packed either in boxes or in foil-wrapped plastic trays.

For further industrial processing, special refrigerated transporters bring the salads to the factory within a day at a target temperature of 4 ° C. In the processing plants, too, care is taken not to interrupt the cold chain. This is ensured by air circulation or vacuum cooling with evaporated water. At four degrees Celsius, the lettuce falls into a kind of "hibernation". Plant respiration and degradation processes take place more slowly, so that the lettuce does not wilt as quickly and microorganisms cannot spoil the lettuce as quickly.

The salads are cleaned, chopped and mixed. This is how the mixed salads are created, which are offered in food retailers in salad bars or packaged in the refrigerated shelves as a fresh convenience product.

Additional Information:

Salt stress

Salt stress is an extraordinary burden that is triggered by an increased salt concentration in the soil and leads to stress reactions such as growth inhibition in plants. However, some plants have developed mechanisms to adapt to high soil salinity. If the adaptation to the unfavorable environmental conditions succeeds, one speaks of salt-resistant plants. The excretion of salt through the leaves, for example, is a way of adapting to salt stress.

In agriculture, saline soils lead to yield losses or even make the fields unusable. Plant breeding is therefore interested in breeding salt-resistant crops that are productive despite the high salt content.

(see also resistance, drought stress)

Salt marsh

Natural, grazed or (less often) mowed, tidal grassland on the edge of the wadden, bordering the Quellerwatt on land. Plants and animals of the salt marshes are adapted to the salt content of water and soil and often have mechanisms for salt regulation.

Salt marshes can also occur on inland salt soils.


Inside the fruit is the seed of the plant. The plant embryo is enclosed in it, along with a nutrient tissue that is supposed to supply the embryo as soon as it begins to germinate. The nutrient tissue arises either from the embryo sac, which receives the second spermatozoid during fertilization (double fertilization), it is then called the endosperm. Or it is formed from the tissue of the ovules (Nucellus) and is called perisperm. In some plant families both nutrient tissues occur (water lily, Nymphaea alba), in many only one of each.

The seed is covered by a seed coat (Testa) included, which are made up of the envelope layers (Integuments) the ovule exists and serves as protection against external influences and water loss.


One of the most important factors for the survival of plant species is the spread of the seeds. It is important that the seeds come to an area where they find favorable conditions for germination and later to exist. Another factor is the ’conquest’ of new territory, where the plants can spread unhindered.

A distinction is made between the mechanisms of propagation that are carried out by the plant alone (autochorus) and those where ’aids’ such as wind, water, animals are required (allochor).

With autochoric distribution, the seeds are either thrown up to several meters away (glandular balsam, Impatiens glandulifera) or the dried fruit opens and the seeds fall out (corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas).

Allochore distribution takes place, for example, when an animal eats a fruit together with the seed and then excretes it again (rowan, Sorbus aucuparia) or if the fruits or seeds attach themselves to the fur of animals (or the socks of humans) (burdock weed, Galium aparine). This form of distribution is called zoochory.

Propagation by the wind (anemochory) is one of the most common forms of seed propagation. Either whole fruits are distributed (linden, Tilia spec.) or just the seeds (dandelion, Taraxacum officinale). The fruits / seeds either have a flight device (maple, Acer pseudoplatanus) or they are very light (birch, Betula pendula). Often times, a large amount of seed is produced because this greatly increases the chance that a seed will reach its destination and begin germinating.The spread of wind is therefore often found in so-called ’pioneer plants’ such as the birch, which can also colonize inhospitable areas and thus expand their territory. Sprouting birch trees can occasionally be found in gutters, disused chimneys, on walls.

Water dispersal (hydrochory) is rarely found in angiosperms. Here the seeds are transported by the water until they land in a suitable place and germinate. A well-known example here is the coconut (Cocos nucifera).


In order to be able to germinate, various requirements must be met. The most important are heat, water, light (or absence of light) and oxygen. Heat ensures that outside the germination environment the right temperatures are already in place, which the seedling needs for its further development. The seeds of many plant species are not yet capable of germination after they have spread (so-called dormancy or dormancy), but rather "wait" for certain environmental stimuli that first enable germination. These include, for example, cold stimuli (vernalization, the temperature must not exceed a certain level over a certain period of time), which ensure that germination does not start until a favorable season (after winter).

Some plants can be classified according to the required lighting conditions. So-called light germs usually have small seeds, so they do not have enough energy to penetrate a dense layer of soil and need the light or heat to germinate. Examples are e.g. B basil (Ocimum basilicum) and grasses like rye (Secale cereale). Dark germs, on the other hand, do not germinate in light, they need complete darkness. Examples are maize (Zea mays) and monkshood (Aconitum napellus).

Water is another essential prerequisite for germination: many seeds are very poor in water (persistence state) and must first absorb (swell) a large amount of water in order to then begin with germination.

Oxygen is required for plant metabolism. The breakdown of the reserve materials (and thus the gain of the energy required for germination) takes place via dissimilative processes. Here, oxygen is required as an electron acceptor.

Structure of the seedling

The plant embryo or seedling consists of

  • the hypocotyl (forerunner of the stem axis)
  • the cotyledons (cotyledons, one or more, depending on the type of plant)
  • the radicula (root system)
  • the plumula (meristematic tissue that already bears the plant of the first leaves)

At the beginning of germination, the first thing to break through the seed coat is the root system (radicula). It begins immediately with the formation of the roots. This is important for the continued water supply; it also anchors the seedling in the soil. Then the extension of the stem axis begins. A distinction is made here between two forms: epigeic (above-ground) germination and hypogean (underground) germination. During epigeic germination, the hypocotyl stretches and pierces the surface of the earth in the form of a hook. With this he pushes up the cotyledons, which begin to unfold. Example: beech (Fagus sylvatica).

With hypogean germination, the cotyledons remain below the surface of the earth. Here the epicotyl stretches (the area of ​​the stem axis between the cotyledons and the first leaves (also called primary leaves). The first thing that emerges from the earth are the primary leaves, which are also immediately photosynthetically active. Example: Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur).

The main function of the cotyledons is to nourish the seedling as long as it is not yet able to photosynthesize. For this purpose, the necessary nutrients are formed from storage substances. During epigeic germination they also carry out photosynthesis themselves (recognizable by their green color). They feed the seedling until the primary leaves have started their work. If they are fully developed, the cotyledons die.

After the development of the first leaves, the internodes (the areas between the nodes where the leaf bases are located) begin to elongate and the plant grows in length. At the same time, leaves begin to form, while the roots branch out in the earth in order to extract further nutrients from the soil. The seedling has developed into a complete plant. Depending on the type of plant, however, it can take a few years before it sets flowers for the first time and is therefore "grown up".

Vegetative reproduction

In contrast to sexual reproduction, vegetative reproduction does not add any new genetic material. The reproduction is based exclusively on cell division (mitosis). The disadvantage is that the plant cannot adapt to changed environmental influences because the genetic material remains identical. Seed plants often use vegetative reproduction to spread in a favorable location. The more flexible sexual reproduction, on the other hand, is often used to open up new locations. Typical forms of vegetative reproduction are the formation of runners (stolons), brood buds, tubers or depressions. (

(see also fertilization, flowering, pollination, fruit, seeds)

Seed fruit

Collective term for a group of types of fruit in which seeds or parts of the seeds represent the edible portion. The seeds can come from bare-seeded plants or from the fruits of cover-seeded plants whose pericarp is lignified (nuts) or is inedible for other reasons.

For example, pine nuts or the seeds of various Araucaria species come from naked samers. Examples of seeds that come from bedeckers and are eaten are Brazil nut, almond, walnut, pistachio or hazelnut. Although the unit of distribution of these species is fruit, we only eat the seeds, while the outer parts, the pericarp, are not used.

There are also fruits with an edible seed peel (e.g. pomegranate) or an edible seed coat (e.g. passion fruit, litchi, mangosteen), which, however, are regarded as a separate group and differentiated from seed fruit.

Sand deck culture

Bog culture form in which thin (<1 m) low peat peat over valley sand is provided with a 15 - 30 cm thick layer of sand without interfering. The layers of sand increase the load-bearing capacity of the peat soils even at higher groundwater levels and preserve the peat in the subsoil, as it is only mineralized to a limited extent and cannot be blown out when it dries out.

The deep plow sand deck culture is differentiated from the actual low bog sand deck culture, in which a special plowing technique transforms the low bog peat under the sand cover into a layer of steeply set sand and peat beams (clods) and the sand above is not mixed with the peat .

Mixed sand culture

Cultivation form for low-thickness raised bogs, in which layers of sand and peat are tipped over by deep plowing up to 1.8 m deep and are present in an inclined alternating layering. The resulting soils are suitable for arable farming because of their permeability, water retention capacity and depth.

Seed economy

Pasture farming on the mountainous areas of Scandinavia, which is comparable to alpine pasture farming.


Vegetation formation of the summer-humid tropics with closed grass growth and with woody plants growing at a greater or lesser distance from one another. The savannahs (from span. sabana, about "wide plain“) Lie zonal between the tropical rainforests and the tropical / subtropical deserts.

Savannas cover around 16 million km² worldwide; this corresponds to about an eighth of the land surface of the earth.

Savannas are due to the summer rainy season deciduous dry bald Plant communities. The factor dominating the vegetation here is the seasonal lack of water. Typical values ​​are between 500 and 1500 mm. The vegetation shows a pronounced period of activity in summer. Productivity increases with the length of the rainy season from 7 tons per hectare and year in regions near the desert to up to 20 tons per hectare and year in the semi-evergreen forests near the equator.

Fires, often caused by humans, are important in the savannah ecosystem. They lead to the death of young trees and favor grasses. The fires remove dead plant parts and parts of the nutrients are returned to the cycle via the ashes (Remineralization). However, other nutrients (especially nitrogen and sulfur) are removed from the ecosystem with the smoke. The fire also leads to a reduction in the amount of litter entering the ground. Furthermore, after the fire, the solar radiation on the soil is increased, which results in an increase in temperature in the topsoil and thus an increased mineralization rate. Both effects together (less carbon input, more carbon output) lead to a reduction in the humus reserves in the soil.

The ecological balance is heavily burdened by human activity. Particular mention should be made of overgrazing and the destruction of the sward by footsteps, which encourage erosion. In addition, there is the production of firewood and the cutting for animal feed. This activity is intensified by the population growth. A removal of the humus topsoil is forced, deforestation sets in and the desert spreads (desertification).

Large parts of the savannah are arable land today. Cotton, peanuts and millet are important crops. In drier areas, arable farming is only possible with artificial irrigation. Livestock is also kept here, with the risk of overgrazing very often.

Due to different amounts of precipitation, one speaks of Moist savannah (High grass savannah), Dry savannah (Low grass savannah) and Briar savannah (also thorn savannah), which already forms the transition to the semi-desert. The transitions between these individual types are fluid.

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Sawah culture

Highly developed, intensive form of wet rice cultivation combined with plowing and livestock farming. It is mainly distributed in Java and Bali as well as on the Sumatran plateaus.

Damage threshold

Also economic damage threshold; Threshold value which, if exceeded, results in economic damage due to the increase in harmful organisms, taking into account the costs of plant protection measures. Treatment measures only make sense when this threshold is exceeded. Such damage thresholds have been scientifically calculated for many potential pathogens: e.g. the number of aphids per wheat ear or beet plant or the degree of powdery mildew in the grain per reference unit. The application of the damage threshold principle depends on many economic and biological-technical variables: On the damage side, the price of agricultural products plays an important role: if it falls, the economic damage threshold increases; if it rises, it decreases. The concept also requires good forecasting: if the weather is warm and humid, powdery mildew can spread explosively, if it is warm and dry, aphids will multiply exponentially. Risks from herbicide use also play a role, as do high cleaning costs as a result of weeds, the type of weed, type of grain, fertilization, crop rotation, etc.

Although the damage threshold method can limit control measures, it does not have a selective effect. Desired rare species are also destroyed with the weeds. The exploitation of the economic damage threshold is an important feature of integrated pest management.


Substance which, at a certain concentration, can endanger the health of humans, animals and plants or impair the usability and efficiency of soil, water and air.

Many of these substances are vital for the organism; insufficient intake leads to deficiency symptoms. But if they occur in too high concentrations, they become a pollutant. Other substances are toxic even in low concentrations without any known positive physiological effects.

Pollutants in the soil can be divided into the following groups:

  1. Acids and acid formers (compounds of N, S, F and Cl)
  2. Heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Pb, Co, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, Zn)
  3. Radionuclides (90Sr, 137Cs)
  4. Organic molecules (polycyclic hydrocarbons, perchlorinated hydrocarbons)
  5. other pollutants (compounds of Al, Sn, As, Se).

The occurrence of pollutants in the soil can be caused by weathering, by the application of fertilizer or sewage sludge, as well as by the use of pesticides or atmospheric deposits.


Egyptian swing or lever fountain. Two adjacent columns made of clay or other material support a well lever that is weighted down by a stone at the shorter end. The bucket is attached to the longer lever, which is lowered into the river water or the well with human strength. The counterweight at the shorter end of the lever makes it relatively easy to convey the bucket. The principle is widespread worldwide and has, among other things, the names Khottara (ar. hattara = to swing back and forth) and Gounima-Fountain.

(see also irrigation, irrigation management)


Ruminant cloven-hoofed ungulates, some with horns, kept in agriculture for wool, meat and milk. The domestic sheep is descended from the wild sheep and was kept in Kurdistan over 10,000 years ago. In Germany today the meat of the sheep is more in demand than their wool. Milk is important for cheese production. Male animals are called rams or rams when they are neutered, mutton or ram. There is also the expression Zibbe or Zippe for ewes. The young animals are called lamb. Adult animals weigh between 75 and 200 kg. The gestation period is about 150 days. Usually one or two lambs are born. Sheep can live up to 20 years and are very frugal. In Germany, sheep are sheared in spring (April to June). The shorn animals are very sensitive. For this reason, cold spells in June are also called “sheep's cold”. Sheep play a major role in landscape maintenance, according to the Heidschnucken in the Lüneburg Heath, because they prevent trees from growing. The sward on the dykes is also strengthened by grazing with sheep (dyke sheep, dyke lambs) (trampling of the ground, keeping the vegetation short).

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Shaft rifts

Terrain that is used exclusively for extensive sheep pasture due to low agriculturally usable productivity. Often it is semi-arid and dry grass on limestone soils. Today they are mostly under nature protection due to their botanical and zoological biodiversity.

(see also Trifte)

Sheep wool

Sheep wool is a protein fiber and is one of the natural fibers and renewable raw materials. Worldwide, 1.5 million tons of sheep's wool are sheared and processed every year. This corresponds to more than 96 percent of all animal hair produced. The remaining four percent is made up of mohair, angora, cashmere, llama or camel hair.


The wool fiber in its epidermis (cuticle) consists of fine scales that are arranged around the fiber like a slate roof. The scales are covered by a thin skin, the epicuticle. Under the scales lies the layer of bark, the cortex, which is the main component of the fiber. Chemically, wool consists essentially of proteins; the chemical composition can be specified with about 50 percent carbon, 25 percent oxygen and 15 percent nitrogen as well as hydrogen and sulfur.


Natural fibers are permeable to air, breathable and support a healthy body climate. The skin-friendly properties are retained with natural processing and without chemical treatment.


The fineness of the wool is the most important property and essentially determines its value and possible uses. The term “fineness” is generally used to denote the mean diameter of fibers that occur in a fiber composite. Fibers with different diameters occur both in the fleece and in the later product in which the fleece is contained. The finer a wool, the further it can be spun.

Elasticity describes the ability of the wool fiber to return to its original shape after exposure to stress. Finer wools are more elastic than coarser ones. Because of its elasticity, wool is very dimensionally stable; it has the best crease resistance of all natural fibers.

Color and shine
The refraction of light causes healthy wool to have a silky sheen that only really comes into its own after washing. This gloss is important for the later brilliance of the colors.

Moisture behavior
Wool fibers can absorb moisture and release it again without becoming
to combine chemically with it - they are hygroscopic. Wool does not feel damp even with 33 percent water absorption.

Flame retardancy
Due to the high nitrogen and moisture content, new wool does not melt and only ignites at a temperature of 560 ° C.

Felting ability
Sheep wool is the only animal hair that naturally feels; other hair must be stained beforehand. When exposed to moisture, heat, pressure and movement, the fibers combine to form a dense fabric. The addition of soap can promote felting. There is a shrinkage associated with felting.
To prevent the wool from felting, some manufacturers equip the wool with synthetic resins. The scales surface is "masked" so that the scales can no longer get caught. In this process, however, the natural wool character is lost in addition to the felting ability.

Small wool customer

With the term Wool is primarily referred to as sheep's wool. The term "wool" merely indicates that the item is made of pure wool; however, it says nothing about the quality of the wool.
As Pure new wool only wool from healthy, living sheep may be designated. It is particularly breathable and regulates temperature.

Rhönwool is obtained from the Rhön sheep, one of the oldest livestock breeds in Germany. It lives in the low mountain range of the Hessian, Bavarian and Thuringian Rhön. The virgin wool obtained is particularly robust, hard-wearing, has a strong water-repellent effect and is resistant to pilling and matting.

Wool is wool reclaimed from waste and rags. Compared to virgin wool, it has shorter fiber lengths and is of inferior quality.

As protection against the harsh Nordic climate, Icelandic sheep develop a particularly thick woolly hair, the Icelandic wool referred to as. It is very warm, robust, firm and water-repellent. The under hair is characterized by a very soft, fluffy quality.

As Lambswool is the name given to the wool of young lambs that are no more than six months old and that have not yet been sheared by this time. Lambswool is very fine and exceptionally soft.

The sheep races are divided according to the character of the wool. The nice one Merino wool, the medium-fine to strong Cheviot wool and the Crossbred woolwhich is a cross between merino and cheviot wool. Merino wool is the finest sheep wool quality due to its fineness and softness. It is characterized by its particular evenness, elasticity and lightness.

As Shetland wool is the name given to types of wool that come from sheep living on the Shetland Islands. The surface is often lightly tumbled.


Common name for fruits whose seeds are surrounded by a hard, mostly woody shell. These are nuts and kernels that are suitable for human consumption. On the other hand, their pericarp - the peel or pericarp - is not suitable for consumption.

Shell fruits include peanuts, hazelnuts, coconuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and cashew nuts, which are only offered as seeds. Areka (betel) nuts, kola nuts, apricot kernels and desiccated coconut are included as well as chestnuts, which are actually a seed vegetable because they have to be cooked or roasted before consumption.
Although many nuts are commonly referred to as “nuts”, from a botanical point of view only hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts and chestnuts are “real” nuts, ie nut fruits in which all three pericarp layers lignify to a hard shell.


Also barn, Forelock, Barn; separate building for stacking the grain and / or hay harvest on the ground.


Economic form similar to Haubergwirtschaft, especially in the Eifel, as an alternating economy between heath (here open, forest-free Allmendland) and arable land.


1. A larger field, in the case of the flattening corridor, a sequence of the property mix of the same size, possibly a tent or the outer field (outer shots) of a corridor. In crop rotation, a distinction is made, for example, between grain and potatoes.

2. Crop rotation, a piece of land that is uniformly or approximately uniformly treated or cultivated according to the crop rotation. It often deviates from the parcel as a property area.

The field size should not exceed 5 ha if possible. For sizes above 10 ha, there are only minor savings in terms of work and machine time. Large fields of 100 hectares and more, as they were created in the new federal states or already in the GDR, are disadvantageous for economic reasons. Even large harvesting machines have to be emptied several times over the length of the lay, thus unnecessarily transporting the harvested goods over the area with heavy vehicles. When spreading liquid manure and manure, the ground is driven over several times because the vehicles are already emptied after a part of the length of the field. Such large-scale cultivation additionally increases the risk of soil erosion and at the same time has the consequence that the proportion of ecologically important landscape elements, such as hedges, field trees, fields and paths, decreases. As the field size increases, the compensatory effects of these areas in terms of erosion protection, biodiversity and the promotion of beneficial insects can become less and less effective.

3. In the context of EU agricultural policy, a field is a contiguous area that is basically uniformly built with one crop and is cultivated by an applicant. However, a field can also be a contiguous area that is cultivated with different crops if these crops can be assigned a common use code (NC) (e.g. NC 610 vegetables).

Flapping floor

Special type of Gewannflur, which mostly arose after 1700 in Central Germany through clearing, reallocation or separation of Gutsland. The parcel strips were divided into several equal sequences of the property mix (field). The degree of parceling was determined by the number of farms.

Field index

A systematic and orderly record of production-related measures and results in crop production related to the individual field or grassland plot. It offers planning and decision-making aids for future cultivation. The recordings can be made on index cards or with the help of EDP.

Impact economy

Crop rotation economy, which developed under this name on the former Mecklenburg large farms. A characteristic feature is the elimination of the field pasture from the normal crop rotation rotation. Coupling becomes superfluous. In the landscape, extensive arable fields are only juxtaposed with smaller, fenced in grass paddocks in the lowlands.


By-products of alcohol production from molasses, fruit etc., some of which can be used as animal feed, in biogas plants or as fertilizer, either dried or still in liquid form. They are distillation residues from the mash fermented with the addition of yeast.

Characteristics of Schlempen:

  • Water content 92 - 96%, therefore unsuitable for long transports,
  • In addition to yeast, it mainly contains protein of high biological protein value, as well as minerals,
  • on the other hand, the carbohydrates that were converted into alcohol are no longer available.
  • Digestibility of the organic matter of only 60%, only low nutrient concentration, therefore
  • Feeding mainly to cattle, less to pigs.

Only distilling of grain, potatoes, maize, milo or manioc are important as animal feed.

(see also renewable raw materials)


Geologically too Silt; Term for fine soils of different origins as well as unconsolidated clastic sediments, the mineral components of which predominantly (> 50%) have a grain size of 2 to 63 µm. As one of the main types of soil, silt and silt are also the names for the corresponding grain size interval, which occupies a middle position between the coarser sand and the finer clay. Particles the size of silt are to a large extent contained in the cohesive soils or sediments known as loam. A capital "U" is used as the abbreviation for the silt grain size.

Silt is an essential component of so-called cohesive soils, i.e. loam. Pure silt soil is rare on earth. The water is retained well due to the grain size. The capillary forces in their medium-sized pores are still weak enough to ensure relatively easy absorption by the plant roots. From the point of view of the water balance, silt-rich soils offer the most favorable site conditions for plants.

Silt-rich, deep soils, as z. B. occur in the Hildesheim and Magdeburger Börde, were cleared many centuries ago by clearing and have been used intensively for arable farming ever since.

Narrow strip corridor

Corridor shape, in which the original parcel width can no longer be recognized due to frequent divisions or in which a stronger mixed position of the property in the strip system is sought by deliberately kept narrow strips. In Central and Western Europe, the border to the broad strip floor is around 40 m.


Also Snowing; Forage and litter production by cutting back trees (e.g. ash, willow) in the Schneitelwirtschaft to obtain the shoots or leaves as animal feed (Deciduous hay as roughage) and litter. At the same time, the shading of the adjacent areas is reduced. The cut shoots or leaves have been used as fodder since the Neolithic.
The periodic stick-cutting of trees initiates regeneration through the root stocks. The traditional operation of the Schneitelung is closely linked to the rural economy. Forest pasture and snowmaking represent an optimal combination of pasture management. Tree species with a large impact capacity, such as ash, hornbeam, elm, maple, oak, hazel and birch, are best able to withstand this drastic intervention.

For this purpose, twigs and branches that are as young as possible with a lower proportion of hard-to-digest crude fiber and lignin are cut from the living tree in order to obtain mainly leaves, the so-called "deciduous hay", but also needles (preferably in the Alps) as fodder and litter. The nutritional value of forage leaves with early snowfall corresponds roughly to that of medium-quality hay, and with late snowfall that of straw. The dried leaves can be stored and fed in winter or removed directly in portions and then fed immediately. As corresponding feed value analyzes of sniff feed from NW Benin show, the latter process is much more productive. Because the feed value deteriorates in a very short time. Based on this knowledge, the Peulh ethnic group only harvest a small part of the young shoots and the foliage, despite the drastic increase in the climbing load. While the importance of sniffing in Central Europe has declined considerably in recent decades, this form of use is still very important in most third world countries - such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bolivia - even today. Negative aspects of cutting are too short periods of use and thus overexploitation of the cut trees, possible fungal infestation, nutrient deprivation, reduction in wood quality up to the lack of rejuvenation and thus a collapse of the cutting trees in the medium term.


Also Schnitzel economy; in Europe mainly obsolete forage and litter production in deciduous forests by cutting off branches. Cultivation, tending and regular cutting of the fodder trees create the ecologically valuable cultural landscape typical of this type of economy. The Schneitelwirtschaft was first operated in Central Europe by the Neolithic farmers, the band ceramics.

In the Snowing thin, leafy branches were cut off with knives or bent by hand every several years for firewood and wattle wood extraction. When making deciduous hay, the leaves were stripped from the branches (plucked) and dried for winter fodder requirements: The Latin names of the ash (Fraxinus, Latin frangere = to break) and the hornbeam (Carpinus, Latin carpere = pluck) indicate the usage techniques.

Snowing either close to the ground (coppice forest) or as a head snowing (head trees); Head height should prevent game and livestock from reaching the sensitive shoots

The common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) used for sniffing. In addition, the linden, elm, maple, oak and fruit trees were also used. Conifers were also used in rough locations.

Due to the depopulation of the southern Alpine region in the early 20th century, this form of farming has declined sharply. The typical Schneitel stands still to be found today (formerly hedges and sparse forests) are therefore forested in many places.

The Schneitelwirtschaft persisted in all deciduous forest areas in Europe until the 18th century. It can still be found sporadically in south-eastern Europe and in the Pyrenees. Today, snipping is practically no longer practiced in Western Europe, in parts of Africa or South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal) and also in Bolivia it is still a common form of cultivation.


Also Dandruff; Storage space for trolleys, etc., or stacking space for peat, etc .; can be attached to the house. Regionally also used synonymously with barn.

Allotment garden