Biodynamics: bring life to your soil
Building carbon and nutrient rich humus into the soil is the common foundation of all good farming; increasing quality production through improved soil health and higher soil water retention, providing drought and flood tolerance. To achieve this biodynamic farmers work with soil and plants as living, dynamic manifestations of a relationship between two poles. The earth is the physical element, and the sun and cosmos is a non-material element extending to the farthest expanse of the universe, providing the energetic stimulus for life on earth. To enhance both these influences biodynamic farmers use two sprays, horn manure 500 as a soil spray, enhancing soil biology, plant vigour and rooting depth, and horn silica 501 as an atmospheric spray, increasing photosynthesis and improving quality. Small amounts are sprayed sparingly over the land, promoting more balanced plants less susceptible to insect and fungal attack. Insect, fungus and weed problems are viewed as symptoms, or messengers, of imbalances in soil and stress in plants. Biodynamic farmers find that addressing the stress proves more effective than shooting the messengers. Use of these two sprays quickly brings renewed life and character to the farm.
A second element to biodynamic growing is using the rhythmic energies of the Moon and planets. We all use the daily and annual Sun rhythms as a matter of course in our lives. It is well known that the moon is connected to the tides but less well known is that it also works with all fluid elements in soil and plants. Biodynamic farmers widen their observations and rhythmic practices, learning to include these extra terrestrial influences in farm work. They use astronomy, the physical stars in the sky, not astrology. These astronomical influences exist independent of our willingness to work with them; you may notice that some plantings germinate fast, some slow, some bolt to head while others remain inactive. Working with the rhythms of the Sun, Moon and planets can lead to understanding these variations in growth patterns. Farmers who plan their farm work to include these rhythms find great enjoyment and excellent results, lightening the work and optimising production.
Biodynamics may sound complex but it is remarkably easy and enjoyable to include in your farm work. More people have failed by being shy of starting than have failed through getting it wrong. The responses are truly rewarding, personally and environmentally.
- A Phenomena Coming of Age
Biodynamics is gaining increased attention for its ability to restore soil
fertility and produce high quality food.
- Article 2 – Getting Started in Biodynamics – Biodynamic Preparations – the foundation of Biodynamic Practice
Biodynamics is a way of life at “Kiltynan Estate” in the Yarra Valley.
- Getting Started in Biodynamics – how to apply the preparations
Stirring and spreading Biodynamic Preparations is at the core of Biodynamic practices. How often and in what combinations a farmer chooses to apply the Biodynamic Preparations to hisland will greatly influence the speed at which his soil and overall farm health regenerates.
- See our separate section Biodynamics & Viticulture which contains a good briefing for grape growers and other items.
Soil Food Web
- News Leaf 51 Soil Food Web
For years we have noticed that if you balance your soils using Biodynamics, then the weed problems will go, and the fungal diseases and
pests only show if something is out of balance.
Miscellaneous Articles of Interest
- What will we eat as the oil runs out – Threats of Peak Oil to the Global Food Supply
Food is energy. And it takes energy to get food. These two facts, taken together, have always established the biological limits to the human population and always will.
- See our separate section Biodynamics and Your Health.
Weed & Pest Control
- See our section Solutions for invasive perennial weeds
- The Myths of Safe Pesticides
Conventional farming is dependent on synthetic biocides (pesticides, fungicides and herbicides). These poisons are used in food production to kill pests, diseases and weeds.
Research Papers and Reports
John P. Reganold
Abstract. Biodynamic and organic farming are similar in that both are ecologically oriented and do not use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The main difference is that biodynamic farmers add eight specific amendments, called preparations, to their soils, crops, and composts. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in biodynamic farming practices and systems because they show potential for mitigating some detrimental effects of chemical-dependent conventional agriculture. Only a few studies examining biodynamic methods or comparing biodynamic farming with other farming systems have been published in the referred scientific literature, especially in English. This paper summarizes data from previous studies, both published and unpublished (theses), that have compared biodynamic and conventional farming systems with respect to soil quality or profitability. These studies have shown that the biodynamic farming systems generally have better soil quality, lower crop yields, and equal or higher net returns per hectare than their conventional counterparts. Two studies that included organic management treatments with and without the preparations showed that the preparations improved biological soil properties and increased crop root growth. However, more research is needed to determine whether the preparations affect soil physical, chemical, and biological properties and crop growth and, if so, their mode of action.
Key words: biodynamic farming, biodynamic preparations, soil quality, farm profitability, cropping systems, on-farm research, sustainable agriculture.
For more information, click on the link above.
Carbon, Soil & Water Solution
- Growing Biodynamic Sugar Cane in India
- Tour of Biodynamic Farms in Southern India
Exploring the practice of Biodynamic agriculture in the tropical and
subtropical environments and cultural context of southern India
- Utilization of local alternative materials in Cow Horn Manure (BD 500) Preparations. A case study on Biodynamic vegetable cultivation.
- Long-Term Field Experiment in Sweden: Effects of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on Soil Fertility and Crop Quality.