The estate Gut Brigittenhof (175 ha) near Müncheberg is purchased by the geneticist Erwin Baur (1875-1933) and the first plant breeding trials are conducted
Ten years after the submission of an application to the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the establishment of an institute in Müncheberg in 1917, Erwin Baur is able to secure the necessary funding to set up the
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Breeding Research. The breeding of crop plants for unfavourable areas was to be advanced on the sandy, dry and wintery cold soils of northeast Brandenburg.
Breeding of a lupine free of bitter substances for fodder
In the course of the National Socialists’ prioritisation of strong agriculture, the Institute’s remit and facilities are expanded extensively. Vine breeding is expanded. As the front draws closer, in February 1945 the entire Institute and all movable material is relocated to Voldagsen, district of Hameln, and then in 1955 to Köln-Vogelsang, where it exists today as the
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research.
On 1 October 1945, the Müncheberg site, with its few remaining staff and meagre funds, was reopened by Dr. Otto Schröck and Dr. Bernhard Husfeld as the Zentralforschungsanstalt für Pflanzenzucht (Erwin Baur Institute). Following a change in the management, Dr. Erich Rübensam is appointed Director of the
Zentralforschungsanstalt für Acker- und Pflanzenbau und Pflanzenzüchtung, with new key areas of research, such as fruit-growing.
Under the directorship of Dr. Rübensam, the Institute, now called Deutsche Akademie der Landwirtschaftswissenschaften zu Berlin, Institut für Acker- und Pflanzenbau shifts its focus in favour of researching soil fertility and soil management. During the first Five Year Plan (1951-55), the increase and preservation of soil fertility with intensive use on sandy substrate becomes the focal point of future research, alongside meliorative soil tillage. The Institute is restructured into three areas – crop farming, agronomic foundations and melioration research, each comprising four to six departments.
The Institute, renamed Forschungszentrum für Bodenfruchtbarkeit Müncheberg (FZB), is developed into the central research institution in the area of soil management under the Akademie der Landwirtschaftswissenschaften of the GDR by incorporating previously independent institutes in Bad Lauchstädt and Jena (and Eberswalde in 1976).
Under the directorship of Professor Dr. Peter Kundler, further research is carried out into the intensivation of plant production by mechanisation, chemicalisation and melioration. This covers research activities in the areas of spray irrigation, ground water regulation and drainage, soil management, melioration of soil structure and stoning, supplying soils with organic substances and designing crop rotations for specialised cultivation.
Based on the agricultural policy strategy of the fund-saving comprehensive intensivation of agriculture, research is concentrated on new, fund-saving agronomic and meliorative solutions, hand in hand with the intensified development of key technologies (microelectronics, biotechnology).
Intensified research into ecologically/economically balanced land management.
Against the backdrop of the further growing significance of ecological issues, the Institute is restructured into four faculties: Soil Protection and Soil Physics, Farming and Land Design, Water Budget and Water Protection, as well as Soil Biotechnology and Ecophysiology.
Following the formal dissolution of the establishment in the course of the Unification Treaty, continuation of research at the site with a different remit is prepared on the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) of the Federal Republic of Germany.
ZALF - Zentrum für Agrarlandschafts- und Landnutzungsforschung e.V. (now Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V. (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) is established in Müncheberg in 1992 as a Blue List organisation (called Leibniz Association since 1997) upon the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities. After succeeding the founding director Professor Dr. Karl Heinrich Hartge, ZALF is led by Professor Dr. Hans-Rudolf Bork from summer 1992 to spring 1999. Dr. Wolfgang Seyfarth then becomes acting director until, Professor Dr. Hubert Wiggering takes position as Director of ZALF in spring 2001. Between 28 May 2014 and 20 Feb 2016 Prof. Dr. Klaus Müller is acting Scientific Director. Since 1 Mar 2016, Prof. Dr. Frank A. Ewert fills the position of the Scientific Director of ZALF.