A Harnessing Water & Biodynamics Workshop hosted by Central West Landcare, was held on Thursday 15th August in Parkes.

We started the day with an introduction to how water acts in our farm/garden environment. Included in this were a number of key points that effect rainfall infiltration rate into soils, & soil water holding capacities & how we can influence this to get maximum retention of rainfall on our farms.

Water infiltration rate is effected by perenniality. That is, with perennial grasses we can get up to 175 mm per hour infiltration rate. On the same soils with litter cover infiltration rate is 45 mm, & if bare ground 25 mm per hour.

One day later (second rainfall event) the perennial grass infiltration rate is 300 mm per hour, while the litter 30 mm and the bare ground 12 mm.

By resting our pastures for 60 days at the start of the growing season grass roots can go down to 120cm, while unrested grass roots go down only 30cm.

Water holding capacities

Clay can hold 20% water, sand 2% and compost 900%, so if we have 100 kg of each, the clay holds 20 litres of water, sand 2 litres and compost 200 litres. Relate this then to 100 kg of farm or garden soil and 100 kg soil with 1.5% to 2 % organic matter can hold 45 litres of water, while with 4% to 5% will hold 200 litres of water.

With these “building blocks” in place, workshop participants were walked through the various biodynamic preparations and how they can be used to better capture rainfall in our landscapes.

The need to use ALL the biodynamic preparations was stressed heavily, as it has been my experience that farmers and gardeners have in the past used preparations individually (horn manure) and have then not had time to apply the balancing remedy (horn silica).

Use of Biodynamic Soil Activator was likened to having the full symphony orchestra playing and once we have the full orchestra, we can then work with the individual “instruments” (biodynamic preparations) to get particular outcomes.

Using Biodynamic Soil Activator from the start allows our farm/garden to be in BALANCE from the start.