Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation
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Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation

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Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation

Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation

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Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation Document Transcript

  • 800-346-9140 BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural ALTERNATIVE FARMING SYSTEMS GUIDE Awww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center funded by the USDA’s Rural Business -- Cooperative Service. Abstract: Biodynamic agriculture was the first ecological farming system to arise in response to commercial fertilizers and specialized agriculture after the turn of the century, yet it remains largely unknown to the modern farmer and land-grant university system. The contribution of biodynamics to organic agriculture is significant, however, and warrants more attention. The following provides an overview of biodynamic farming and includes additional details and resources on the specialized practice of biodynamic composting.By Steve Diver — NCAT Agriculture SpecialistFebruary 1999IntroductionBiodynamic agriculture is an advanced organicfarming system that is gaining increased attentionfor its emphasis on food quality and soil health.Biodynamic agriculture developed out of eightlectures on agriculture given in 1924 by RudolfSteiner (1861−1925), an Austrian scientist andphilosopher, to a group of farmers near Breslau(which was then in the eastern part of Germanyand is now Wroclaw in Poland). These lectures,as well as four supplemental lessons, arepublished in a book titled Spiritual Foundations forthe Renewal of Agriculture, originally published inEnglish as An Agricultural Course (1). Contents Biodynamic Preparations....................................... 3 Biodynamic Compost............................................. 3 The Agriculture Course lectures were taught by Liquid Manures & Herbal Teas .............................. 8 Steiner in response to observations from farmers Planetary Influences .............................................. 9 that soils were becoming depleted following the Community Supported Agriculture......................... 9 introduction of chemical fertilizers at the turn of Food Quality .......................................................... 9 Research into Biodynamics ................................... 10 the century. In addition to degraded soil Journals & Newsletters .......................................... 10 conditions, farmers noticed a deterioration in References ............................................................ 11 the health and quality of crops and livestock. Contacts................................................................. 12 Thus, biodynamic agriculture was the first Suggested Reading on Biodynamic Farming ........ 13 ecological farming system to develop as a Suggested Reading on Biodynamic Compost ....... 14 grassroots alternative to chemical agriculture. Email Discussion Groups ...................................... 14 World Wide Web Links .......................................... 15 A basic ecological principle of biodynamics is to Publishers/Distributors of Biodynamic Literature... 15 conceive of the farm as an organism, a self- contained entity. A farm is said to have its own is a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology
  • individuality. Emphasis is placed on the and to enrich the farm, its products, and itsintegration of crops and livestock, recycling of inhabitants with life energy‡. Appendix II is anutrients, maintenance of soil, and the health table that illustrates cosmic and terrestrialand wellbeing of crops and animals; the farmer influences on yield and quality.too is part of the whole. Thinking about theinteractions within the farm ecosystem naturally In a nutshell, biodynamics can be understood asleads to a series of holistic management a combination of “biological dynamic”practices that address the enviromental, social, agriculture practices. “Biological” practicesand financial aspects of the farm. A comparison include a series of well-known organic farmingof objectives between biodynamic and techniques that improve soil health. “Dynamic”conventional agriculture systems in Appendix I practices are intended to influence biological assummarizes these ideas in table format. well as metaphysical aspects of the farm (such as increasing vital life force), or to adapt theA fundamental tenet of biodynamic agriculture farm to natural rhythms (such as planting seedsis that food raised biodynamically is during certain lunar phases).nutritionally superior and tastes better thanfoods produced by conventional methods. This The concept of dynamic practice  thoseis a common thread in alternative agriculture, practices associated with non-physical forces inbecause other ecological farming systems make nature like vitality, life force, ki, subtle energy andsimilar claims for their products. Demeter, a related concepts  is a commonality that alsocertification program for biodynamically grown underlies many systems of alternative andfoods, was established in 1928. As such, complementary medicine. It is this latter aspectDemeter was the first ecological label for of biodynamics which gives rise to theorganically produced foods. characterization of biodynamics as a spiritual or mystical approach to alternative agriculture.Today biodynamic agriculture is practiced on See the following table for a brief summary offarms around the world, on various scales, and biological and dynamic farming practices.in a variety of climates and cultures. However,most biodynamic farms are located in Europe, † The higher, non-physical realms include etheric, astral, and ego. It is the complicatedthe United States, Australia, and New Zealand. terminology and underlying metaphysical concepts of Steiner which makes biodynamicsWhile biodynamics parallels organic farming in hard to grasp, yet these are inherent in themany ways  especially with regard to cultural biodynamic approach and therefore they areand biological farming practices  it is set apart listed here for the reader’s reference.from other organic agriculture systems by its ‡ Life energy is a colloquial way of saying ethericassociation with the spiritual science of life force. Again, Steiner’s use of terms likeanthroposophy founded by Steiner, and in its etheric forces and astral forces are part andemphasis on farming practices intended to parcel of biodynamic agriculture.achieve balance between the physical and Biodynamic farmers recognize there arehigher, non-physical realms†; to acknowledge forces that influence biological systems otherthe influence of cosmic and terrestrial forces; than gravity, chemistry, and physics. Bio-Dynamic Farming Practices Biological Practices Dynamic Practices Green manures Special compost preparations Cover cropping Special foliar sprays Composting Planting by calendar Companion planting Peppering for pest control Integration of crops and livestock Homeopathy Tillage and cultivation Radionics // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 2
  • Dr. Andrew Lorand provides an insightfulglimpse into the conceptual model of (horn-silica) is made from powdered quartzbiodynamics in his Ph.D. dissertation (packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soilBiodynamic Agriculture  A Paradigmatic for six months through spring and summer) andAnalysis, published at Pennsylvania State applied as a foliar spray to stimulate and regulateUniversity in 1996 (2). growth. The next six preparations, BD 502−507, are used in making compost.Lorand uses the paradigm model described byEgon Guba in The Alternative Paradigm Dialog (3) Finally, there is BD preparation 508 which isto clarify the essential beliefs that underpin the prepared from the silica-rich horsetail plantpractices of biodynamics. These beliefs fall into (Equisetum arvense) and used as a foliar spray tothree categories: suppress fungal diseases in plants.1. Beliefs about the nature of reality with The BD compost preparations are listed below: regard to agriculture (ontological beliefs)2. Beliefs about the nature of the relationship • No. 502 Yarrow blossoms (Achillea millefolium) between the practitioner and agriculture • No. 503 Chamomile blossoms (Chamomilla (epistemological beliefs); and, officinalis)3. Beliefs about how the practitioner should • No. 504 Stinging nettle (whole plant in full go about working with agriculture bloom) (Urtica dioca) (methodological beliefs). • No. 505 Oak bark (Quercus robur) • No. 506 Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale) • No. 507 Valerian flowers (Valeriana officinalis)Lorands dissertation contrasts the ontological,epistemological, and methodoligical beliefs of Biodynamic preparations are intended to helpfour agricultural paradigms: Traditional moderate and regulate biological processes asAgriculture, Industrial Agriculture, Organic well as enhance and strengthen the life (etheric)Agriculture, and Biodynamic Agriculture. A forces on the farm. The preparations are used insummary of these four paradigms can be found homeopathic quantities, meaning they producein Tables 1−4, Appendix III. an effect in extremely diluted amounts. As an example, just 1/16th ounce  a level teaspoon  of each compost preparation is added to The Biodynamic Preparations seven- to ten-ton piles of compost.A distinguishing feature of biodynamic farmingis the use of nine biodynamic preparations Biodynamic Compostdescribed by Steiner for the purpose ofenhancing soil quality and stimulating plant Biodynamic compost is a fundamentallife. They consist of mineral, plant, or animal component of the biodynamic method; it servesmanure extracts, usually fermented and applied as a way to recycle animal manures and organicin small proportions to compost, manures, the wastes, stabilize nitrogen, and build soil humussoil, or directly onto plants, after dilution and and enhance soil health. Biodynamic compost isstirring procedures called dynamizations. unique because it is made with BD preparations 502−507. Together, the BD preparations and BDThe original biodynamic (BD) preparations are compost may be considered the cornerstone ofnumbered 500−508. The BD 500 preparation biodynamics. Here again, “biological” and(horn-manure) is made from cow manure “dynamic” qualities are complementary:(fermented in a cow horn that is buried in the soil biodynamic compost serves as a source offor six months through autumn and winter) and humus in managing soil health and biodynamicis used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth compost emanates energetic frequencies toand humus formation. The BD 501 preparation vitalize the farm. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 3
  • The traditional manner in which the biodynamic compost is made is rather exacting. After the compostwindrow is constructed, Preparations 502−506 are strategically placed 5−7 feet apart inside the pile, inholes poked about 20 inches deep. Preparation No. 507, or liquid valerian, is applied to the outside layerof the compost windrow by spraying or hand watering. Figure 1. Use of Biodynamic Preparations in a Compost Pile Dandelion (506) Yarrow (502) Nettle (504) Oak Bark (505) Valerian (507) Chamomile (503) Valerian (507) is mixed into a liquid; a portion is poured into one hole, andthe rest is sprinkled over the top of the compost pile. Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (1899−1961), a soil microbiologist and agronomic researcher whoMore specific instructions on biodynamicpreparations, placement in the compost,compost making, and compost use can be found worked directly with Steiner, conductedin the following booklets, available through the extensive research on the preparation and use ofBiodynamic Farming and Gardening biodynamic compost. For many years PfeifferAssociation (BDFGA) in San Francisco, served as a compost consultant to municipalCalifornia (4): compost facilities, most notably Oakland, CA, as well as countries in the Caribbean, Europe, and Blaser, Peter, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. the Far East. 1984. Bio-Dynamic Composting on the Farm; How Much Compost Should We Use? Pfeiffer’s research into the microbiology of Biodynamic Farming and Gardening compost production led to the development of a Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 23p. compost inoculant, BD Compost Starter®, that contains all the BD compost preparations Corrin, George. 1960. Handbook on (502−507) plus stirred BD No. 500, as well as 55 Composting and the Bio-Dynamic different types of microorganisms (mixed Preparations. Bio-Dynamic Agricultural cultures of bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, Association, London. 32 p. yeasts). BD Compost Starter® is widely used by biodynamic farmers because it is easy to apply Koepf, H.H. 1980. Compost − What It Is, while building the compost pile. Today, the How It Is Made, What It Does. starter is prepared and sold through the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Josephine Porter Institute (JPI) for Applied Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 18 p. Biodynamics (5) in Woolwine, Virginia. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Using the Bio- While use of BD compost preparations and/or Dynamic Compost Preparations & Sprays in BD Compost Starter® is universal in biodynamic Garden, Orchard, & Farm. Bio-Dynamic composting, the actual construction and Farming and Gardening Association, maintenance of compost piles  including Inc., Kimberton, PA. 64 p. frequency of aeration and length till maturity  may vary among farming operations. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 4
  • The static pile method is the traditional family of Austria and the Advanced Compostbiodynamic choice. In static piles materials are System promoted by Edwin Blosser offormed into a windrow, inoculated with BDpreparations, covered with straw, and left Midwestern Biosystems in Illinois  thatundisturbed for 6 months to one year prior to emphasize specialized compost turners,use. A small amount of soil is commonly microbial inoculation, frequent turning, dailysprinkled onto the outside of the pile prior to monitoring for temperature and CO2, compostcovering with straw. Soil can also be added fleece to cover and protect the windrow, andduring the windrow construction process, when qualitative testing for finished compost. Inbrown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) feedstock addition to efficient handling of organic wastes,materials are laid in alternating layers. premium-grade compost is a goal.On larger farms that handle massive volumes of It should be noted these highly mechanizedcompost feedstock, the piles are often managed systems seem to fit operations that generatewith a compost turner, so the time to maturity is large volumes of animal manures or othermuch shorter, for example 2−3 months. A new compost feedstocks, such as a dairy farm or fooddevelopment is the aerated static pile (ASP), processing plant. On-farm production ofwherein ventilation pipes are inserted into a compost is often matched with sale of bagged orstatic pile to increase oxygen supply and reduce bulk compost to local horticultural operations asthe length of time to compost biomaturity. a supplemental income.Contrasting viewpoints exist in the compost Ultimately, the choice of composting methodindustry as well as amongst on-farm compost will depend to a large extent on the scale ofmakers as to which method is best. When push farming operation, equipment and financialcomes to shove, most people agree that the best resources on hand, and intended goals forcompost method is one that fits the individual compost end-use.farmer’s situation. Research at Washington State University (WSU)Recent biodynamic research supports the static by Dr. Lynn Carpenter-Boggs and Dr. Johnpile approach as a viable compost option. In the Reganold found that biodynamic compostJuly−August 1997 issue of Biodynamics , Dr. preparations have a significant effect on compostWilliam Brinton (6) of Woods End Agricultural and the composting process (7). BiodynamicallyResearch Institute published “Sustainability of treated composts had higher temperatures,Modern Composting: Intensification Versus matured faster, and had higher nitrates thanCosts and Quality. ” Brinton argues that low- control compost piles inoculated with field soiltech composting methods are just as effective in instead of the preparations. The WSU research isstabilizing nutrients and managing humus as unique for two reasons: it was the firstthe management and capital intensive compost biodynamic compost research undertaken at asystems that employ compost turners and daily land-grant university, and it demonstrated thatmonitoring. These findings are particularly biodynamic preparations are not only effective,encouraging to farmers choosing the low-input but effective in homeopathic quantities.approach to this age-old practice oftransforming organic matter into valuable A summary of this research can be found on thehumus. The full report can be viewed on USDA-Agriculture Research Services TektranWoods End Institute’s website at: Website at:<www.woodsend.org/sustain.pdf>. Effects of Biodynamic Preparations on CompostAt the other end of the compost spectrum are Developmentthe high intensity windrow systems  for www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/tektran/data/example the Controlled Microbial Composting 000009/06/0000090623.htmlsystem promoted by the Siegfried Luebke // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 5
  • In related research, Carpenter-Boggs and “Raw Materials Useful for Composting.” HeReganold found that biodynamically managed said that soil is an essential ingredient tosoils (i.e., treated with biodynamic compost and • compost and should be added at 10%-20% ofbiodynamic field sprays) had greater capacity to the windrow volume.support heterotrophic microflora activity,higher soil microorganism activity, and different Mineralized Compost: The addition of rocktypes of soil microrganisms than conventionally powders (greensand, granite dust) to compostmanaged soils (i.e., treated with mineral piles is a long-time biodynamic practice knownfertilizers and pesticides). as mineralized compost. The dusts add mineral components to the compost and the organicA summary of this latter research can be found acids released during the decomposition processon the USDA-Agriculture Research Services help solubilize minerals in the rock powders toTektran Website at: make nutrients more available to plants.Biodynamic Compost and Field Preparations: • Phases of Compost: An outgrowth of Dr.Effects on Soil Biological Community Pfeiffer’s compost research was a clearerwww.nal.usda.gov/ttic/tektran/data/ understanding of the Breakdown and Buildup 000009/06/0000090640.html compost phases:Because compost is often at a premium on The Breakdown Phase: In the breakdownfarms, European biodynamic researcher Maria phase organic residues are decomposed intoThun developed Barrel Compost. Consisting of smaller particles. Proteins are broken downfresh cow manure that has been treated with the into amino acids, amines, and finally tooriginal preparations as well as egg shells and ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and freebasalt rock dust  then allowed to ferment in a nitrogen. Urea, uric acids, and other non-pit for about 3 months, finished Barrel Compost protein nitrogen-containing compounds areis diluted in water and applied directly to the reduced to ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, andfields as a spray. Use of Barrel Compost free nitrogen. Carbon compounds arecompensates to some degree for lack of oxidized to carbon dioxide (aerobic) orsufficient compost. A variation on Barrel reduced methane (anaerobic). TheCompost is mixing stinging nettle with fresh identification and understanding ofcow manure in a 50:50 volume to volume ratio. breakdown microorganisms led to the development of a microbial inoculant toSome notable concepts and practices relating to moderate and speed up the breakdownsoil and compost management from the phase. The BD Compost Starter® developedbiodynamic experience: by Dr. Pfeiffer contains a balanced mixture of the most favorable breakdown organisms,• Microbial inoculation: Dr. Ehrenfried ammonifiers, nitrate formers, cellulose, Pfeiffer’s work with composts in the 1940’s sugar, and starch digesters in order to bring and 50’s led to the development of the BD about the desired results. The microbial Compost Starter®, one of the earliest inoculant also works against organisms that compost inoculants in commercial use in the cause putrefaction and odors. United States. The Buildup Phase: In the build-up phase• Soil in Compost: The addition of soil to simple compounds are re-synthesized into compost was an early biodynamic practice complex humic substances. The organisms prescribed by Steiner. Dr. Pfeiffer discussed responsible for transformation to humus are the reasons and benefits for adding soils to aerobic and facultative aerobic, sporing and compost in the 1954 edition of Bio-Dynamics non-sporing and nitrogen fixing bacteria of Journal (Vol. 12, No. 2) in an article titled the azotobacter and nitrosomonas group. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 6
  • Actinomycetes and streptomycetes also play buildup are moderated by microbes. Many an important role. The addition of soil, 10% biodynamic farmers, especially those who by volume, favors the development and follow the guidelines established by Dr. survival of these latter organisms. The Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, spray the green residue with development of humus is evident in color a microbial inoculant (BD Field Spray®) prior to changes in the compost, and through plowdown. The inoculant contains a mixed qualitative tests such as the circular culture of microorganisms that help speed chromatography method. decomposition, thereby reducing the time until planting. In addition, the inoculant enhances• Compost & Soil Evaluation: Biodynamic formation of the clay-humus crumb which research into compost preparation and soil provides numerous exchange sites for nutrients humus conditions has led to the and improves soil structure. development or specialized use of several unique qualitative tests. A notable Further information on this topic can be found contribution of biodynamics is the image- in the ATTRA publication Overview of Cover forming qualitative methods of analysis; Crops and Green Manures e.g., circular chromatography, sensitive <www.attra.org/attra-pub/covercrop.html>. crystallization, capillary dynamolysis, and the drop-picture method. Other methods Crop Rotations & Companion Planting focus on the biological-chemical condition; e.g., The Solvita® Compost Test Kit and The Crop rotation  the sequential planting of crops Solvita® Soil Test Kit (8), colorimetric  is honed to a fine level in biodynamic humus value, and potential pH. farming. A fundamental concept of crop rotation is the effect of different crops on the Cover Crops and Green Manures land. Koepf, Pettersson, and Schaumann speak about “humus-depleting” and “humus-Cover crops play a central role in managing restoring” crops; “soil-exhausting” and “soil-cropland soils in biological farming systems. restoring” crops; and “organic matterBiodynamic farmers make use of cover crops for exhausting” and “organic matter restoring”dynamic accumulation of soil nutrients, crops in different sections of Bio-Dynamicnematode control, soil loosening, and soil Agriculture: An Introduction (9).building in addition to the commonlyrecognized benefits of cover crops like soil Seemingly lost to modern agriculture with itsprotection and nitrogen fixation. Biodynamic monocrops and short duration corn-soybeanfarmers also make special use of plants like rotations, soil building crop rotations were under-phacelia, rapeseed, mustard, and oilseed radish stood more clearly earlier in this century when thein addition to common cover crops like rye and USDA published leaflets like Soil-Depleting, Soil-vetch. Cover crop strategies include Conserving, and Soil-Building Crops (10) in 1938.undersowing and catch cropping as well aswinter cover crops and summer green manures. Companion planting, a specialized form of crop rotation commonly used in biodynamicGreen manuring is a biological farming practice gardening, entails the planned association ofthat receives special attention on the two or more plant species in close proximitybiodynamic farm. Green manuring involves the so that some cultural benefit (pest control,soil incorporation of any field or forage crop higher yield) is derived. In addition towhile green, or soon after flowering, for the beneficial associations, companion plantingpurpose of soil improvement. The increases biodiversity on the farm which leadsdecomposition of green manures in soils to a more stable agroecosystem. See theparallels the composting process in that distinct ATTRA publication Companion Planting: Basicphases of organic matter breakdown and humus // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 7
  • Concepts and Resources disease-curing) spray with a mild<www.attra.org/attra- pub fungus-suppressing effect. During the months /complant.html> for more information. when green plants are not readily available, you can prepare an extract by covering dry plants Liquid Manures and Herbal Teas with water and allowing them to ferment in a sunny place for about ten days. DriedHerbal teas, also called liquid manures or equisetum, available through the Josephinegarden teas, are an old practice in organic Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics (5) infarming and gardening  especially in Woolwine, Virginia, can also be used to makebiodynamic farming  yet little is published horsetail tea.on this topic outside of the practitionerliterature. A complementary practice is the use Stinging nettle tea is extracted from whole nettleof compost teas. plants (Urtica dioica) at any stage of growth up to seed−set. To make nettle tea, use about threeIn reality, herbal teas usually consist of one pounds of fresh plants for every gallon of water,fermented plant extract, while liquid manures allow the mixture to ferment for about ten days,are made by fermenting a mixture of herb plants then filter it and spray a diluted tea. Dilutionin combination with fish or seaweed extracts. rates of 1:10 to 1:20 are suggested in theThe purpose of herbal teas and liquid manures biodynamic literature. A biodynamic nettle teaare manyfold; here again, they perform dual is prepared by adding BD preparations 502, 503,roles by supporting biological as well as dynamic 505, 506, and 507 prior to the soaking period.processes on the farm; i.e., source of solubleplant nutrients; stimulation of plant growth; Chamomile tea is derived from the flowers ofdisease-suppression; carrier of cosmic and true chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) whichearthly forces. To reflect their multi-purpose have been picked and dried in the sun. Freshuse, they are sometimes referred to as immune- flowers may be used too, but they are onlybuilding plant extracts, plant tonics, biotic available during a short part of the growingsubstances, and biostimulants. season. To prepare the tea, steep about one cup of tightly packed flowers per gallon of hotFurther insight into foliar-applied plant extracts, water. Stir well, and spray the filtered tea whenliquid manures, and compost teas can be cool. Chamomile is high in calcium, potash, andunderstood by viewing biological farming sulfur; it is good for leafy crops and flowers andpractices in the way they influence the promotes health of vegetables in general.rhizosphere or phyllosphere. (Those microbially-rich regions surrounding the root and leaf Comfrey tea is another tea commonly used insurfaces). Herbal teas and liquid manures aim organic farming and gardening. Comfrey is ato influence the phyllosphere; composts, tillage, rich source of nutrients; it is especially good forand green manures influence the rhizosphere. fruiting and seed filling crops. It can be madeIn addition to physical modification of the leaf by packing a barrel three-quarters full withsurface to inhibit pathogen spore germination fresh cut leaves, followed by topping the barrelor the promotion of antagonistic (beneficial) full of water. It is allowed to steep for 7−14microbes to compete against disease-causing days, then filtered and diluted in half withorganisms (pathogens), foliar-applied biotic water prior to use.extracts can sometimes initiate a systemic The Biodynamic Farming & Gardeningwhole plant response known as induced Association (4) can supply literature on herbalresistance. teas. Two pamplets you may be interested toHorsetail tea is extracted from the common know about are:horsetail (Equisetum arvense), a plant especially Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Using the Bio-rich in silica. Horsetail is best seen as a Dynamic Compost Preparations & Sprays inprophylactic (disease-preventing, not Garden, Orchard, & Farm. Bio-Dynamic // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 8
  • Farming and Gardening Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 64 p. Astronomical Gardening Guide, available through Koepf, H.H. 1971. Bio-Dynamic Sprays. Agri-Synthesis in Napa, California (11) for a Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening self-addressed stamped envelope, is the Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 16 p. biodynamic gardening guide compiled by Greg Willis of Agri-Synthesis. This calender, which isCompost teas are gaining wider recognition in a simple 2-sheet information leaflet, focuses onbiodynamic and organic farming for their lunar phases.disease suppressive benefits as well as for theirability to serve as a growth-promoting microbial Community Supported Agricultureinoculant. See the ATTRA publication CompostTeas for Plant Disease Control for more detailed In its treatment of the farm as a self-containedinformation at: entity or farm organism, biodynamics completes<www.attra.org/attra-pub/comptea.html>. the circle with appropriate marketing schemes to support the economic viability of farms. The Planetary Influences Demeter label for certified biodynamically grown foods is one avenue. A second outgrowth of thisLunar and astrological cycles play a key role in view is the Community Supported Agriculturethe timing of biodynamic practices, such as the movement.making of BD preparations and when to plantand cultivate. Recognition of celestial influences Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is aon plant growth are part of the biodynamic direct marketing alternative for small-scaleawareness that subtle energy forces affect growers. In a CSA, the farmer grows food for abiological systems. A selection of resources are group of shareholders (or subscribers) wholisted below. On examination of the variations pledge to buy a portion of the farms crop thatin agricultural calendars that have sprung from season. This arrangement gives growers up-the biodynamic experience, it is apparent that front cash to finance their operation and higherdiffering viewpoints exist on which lunar, prices for produce, since the middleman hasplanetary, and stellar influences should be been eliminated. Besides receiving a weekly boxfollowed. or bag of fresh, high-quality produce, shareholders also know that theyre directlyStella Natura − The Kimberton Hills Biodynamic supporting a local farm.Agricultural Calendar, available throughBDFGA for $11.95, is the biodynamic calendar Farms of Tomorrow Revisited: Communityedited by Sherry Wildfeur and the most Supported Farms, Farm Supported Communitiesprominently known calendar of this type (12) by Trauger Groh and Steven McFadden is ain the United States. It contains informative 294-page book that discusses the principles andarticles interspersed with daily and monthly practices of CSA’s with insights to theastrological details, and lists suggested times biodynamic perspective and farm case studies.for planting root, leaf, flowering, and The ATTRA publication Community Supportedfruiting crops. Agriculture  located on the ATTRA website at <www.attra.org/attra-pub/csa.html> Working with the Stars: A Bio-Dynamic Sowing provides a summary of ideas and businessand Planting Calendar, available through JPI for practices for CSA farms, accompanied by$12.95, is the biodynamic calendar based on extensive resource listings.Maria Thun’s research and is more prominentlyused in Europe. Of the three calendars Food Qualitymentioned here, Thun’s calendar relies moreheavily on planetary and stellar influences. It A host of biodynamic researchers have lookedcontains research briefs as well as daily and into the quality of biodynamically grown foods.monthly astrological details, again with Though nutritional comparisons between foodssuggested planting times. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 9
  • Journals & Newslettersraised by organic and conventional productionmethods is controversial  certainly Biodynamics, started by Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffermainstream science adheres to the view that no in 1941, is the leading journal on biodynamicsdifferences exist  notable contributions from published in the United States. Contentsbiodynamic researchers include image-forming includes scientific articles as well as practicalqualitative methods of analysis (e.g., sensitive reports on: composts, soils, biodynamiccrystallization, circular chromatography, preparations, equipment, research trials,capillary dynamolysis, and the drop-picture laboratory methods, biodynamic theory, andmethod) and studies that report on nutritional farm profiles. Subscriptions are $35 per yearanalysis (13−15). for six issues, available through BDFGA (4). Research into Biodynamics Applied Biodynamics is the newsletter of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Bio-Research in Biodynamic Agriculture: Methods and Dynamics, which makes and distributesResults (16) by Dr. H. Herbert Koepf is an 84- biodynamic preparations. The journal featurespage booklet that presents an overview of articles on use of the preparations, compostbiodynamic research from the early 1920s to the making procedures, and other biodynamicpresent. It includes testing methods, farm trials, methods from a practical perspective.university studies, and a complete bibliography. Subscriptions are $30 per year for three issues,This pamphlet is especially useful because much available through JPI (5).of the research features German studies whichare otherwise inaccessible to most Americans. It The Voice of Demeter is the newsletter of thelists for $9.95 in the BDFGA catalog. Demeter Association, which is the official certification organization for biodynamicallyDr. John Reganold published a study in the April grown foods. It is published twice yearly as an16, 1993 issue of Science  “Soil Quality and insert to Biodynamics; separate copies are availableFinancial Performance of Biodynamic and by request from Demeter Association (19).Conventional Farms in New Zealand”  thatcontrasted soil quality factors and the financial Star and Furrow is the journal published by theperformance of paired biodynamic and conven- Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Association (BDAA)tional farms in New Zealand (17). In a comparison in England. Established in 1953, the Star andof 16 adjacent farms, the biodynamic farms Furrow follows earlier publications of the BDAAexhibited superior soil physical, biological, and dating back to the 1930s. Issued twice (‘Summer’chemical properties and were just as financially and ‘Winter’) per year, overseas (airmail)viable as their conventional counterparts. subscriptions are £6 British pounds. Contact:Agriculture of Tomorrow (18) contains research Star and Furrowreports from 16 years of field and laboratory Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Associationwork conducted by the German researchers Rudolf Steiner HouseEugen and Lilly Kolisko. Unlike much of the 35 Park Roadbiodynamic research by Koepf, Reganold, London NW1 6XTPfeiffer, and Brinton which focuses on compost Englandand soil agronomic conditions, the Koliskos diveright into the esoteric nature of biodynamics: the Harvests is the current publication of the Newmoon and plant growth; the forces of Zealand Biodynamic Farming and Gardeningcrystallization in nature; planetary influences on Association (NZ-BDGA), published four timesplants; homeopathy in agriculture; experiments per year. The NZ-BDGA has published awith animals to study the influence of newsletter or journal since 1947. Subscriptionshomeopathic quantities; capillary dynamolysis; are NZ$55 per year. Contact:research on the biodynamic preparations. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 10
  • Harvests The fact remains that biodynamic farming is NZ−BDGA practiced on a commercial scale in many countries P.O. Box 39045 and is gaining wider recognition for its Wellington mail Centre contributions to organic farming, food quality, New Zealand community supported agriculture, and qualita- Tel: 04 589 5366 tive tests for soils and composts. From a practical Fax: 04 589 5365 viewpoint biodynamics has proved to be biodynamics@clear.net.nz productive and to yield nutritious, high-quality foods.The News Leaf is the quarterly journal of theBiodynamic Farming and GardeningAssociation of Australia Inc. (BDFGAA), in References:print since 1989. Subscriptions are $US25.Contact: 13) Steiner, Rudolf. 1993. Spiritual Foundations The News Leaf for the Renewal of Agriculture: A Course of BDFGAA Lectures. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, P.O.Box 54 Kimberton, PA. 310 p. Bellingen 2454 NSW Australia 2) Lorand, Andrew Christopher. 1996. Tel/Fax +2 66558551 or +2 66575306 Biodynamic Agriculture  A Paradigmatic poss@midcoast.com.au Analysis. The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Agricultural and Extension Eduation. PhD Dissertation. 114 p. Summary −Viewpoint − Conclusion 3) Guba, E. 1990. The Alternative Paradigm Dialog.Biodynamics uses scientifically sound organic Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.farming practices that build and sustain soil 4) Biodynamic Farming and Gardeningproductivity as well as plant and animal health. AssociationThe philosophical tenets of biodynamics  25844 Butler Roadespecially those that emphasize energetic forces Junction City, OR 97448and astrological influences  are harder to 888-516-77977grasp, yet they are part and parcel of the info@biodynamics.combiodynamic experience. www.biodynamics.comThat mainstream agriculture does not accept the 5) Josephine Porter Institute P.O. Box 133subtle energy tenets of biodynamic agriculture Woolwine, VA 24185is a natural result of conflicting paradigms. In 276-930-2463mainstream agriculture the focus is on physical- info@jpibiodynamics.orgchemical-biological reality. Biodynamic www.jpibiodynamics.orgagriculture, on the other hand, recognizes theexistence of subtle energy forces in nature and 6) Brinton, William F. 1997. Sustainability ofpromotes their expression through specialized modern composting: intensification versus“dynamic” practices. costs & quality. Biodynamics. July-August. p. 13-18.A third view, expressed by a local farmer, 7) Carpenter-Boggs, Lynne A. 1997. Effects ofaccepts the premise that subtle energy forces Biodynamic Preparations on Compost, Crop,exist and may affect biological systems, but and Soil Quality. Washington Stateholds there is not enough information to University, Crop and Soil Sciences. PhDevaluate these influences nor make practical Dissertation. 164 p.agronomic use of them. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 11
  • References: (continued) 16) Granstedt, Artur, and Lars Kjellenberg. 1997. Long-term field experiment in Sweden:8) Woods End Research Laboratory Effects of organic and inorganic fertilizers on Rt. 2, Box 1850 soil fertility and crop quality. p. 79-90. In: Mt. Vernon, ME 04352 William Lockeretz (ed.) Agricultural 207-293-2456 Production and Nutrition. Tufts University Contact: Dr. William Brinton School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Held E-mail: info@woodsend.org March 19−21, Boston, MA. URL: www.woodsend.org 17) Koepf, Herbert H. 1993. Research in9) Koepf, Herbert H., Bo D. Pettersson and Biodynamic Agriculture: Methods and Results. Wolfgang Schaumann. 1976. Biodynamic Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Agriculture: An Introduction. Anthro-posophic Association, Kimberton, PA. 78 p. Press, Hudson, New York. 430 p. 18) Reganold, J.P. et al. 1993. Soil quality and10) Pieters, A. J. 1938. Soil-Depleting, Soil- financial performance of biodynamic and Conserving, and Soil-Building Crops. USDA conventional farms in New Zealand. Science. Leaflet No. 165. 7 p. April 16. p. 344−349.11) Agri-Synthesis, Inc. 19) Kolisko, E. and L. 1978. Agriculture of P.O. Box 10007 Tomorrow, 2nd Edition. Kolisko Archive Napa, CA 94581 Publications, Bournemouth, England. 322 p. 707-258-9300 707-258-9393 Fax 20) Demeter Association, Inc. Contact: Greg Willis Britt Rd. info@agsyn.com Aurora, NY 13026 www.agsyn.com 315-364-5617 315-364-5224 Fax12) Groh, Trauger, and Steven McFadden. 1997. Contact: Anne Mendenhall Farms of Tomorrow Revisited: Community demeter@baldcom.net Supported Farms, Farm Supported Commu- nities. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Kimberton, PA. 294 p. Contacts:13) Schulz, D.G., K. Koch, K.H. Kromer, and Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association U. Kopke. 1997. Quality comparison of 25844 Butler Road mineral, organic and biodynamic Junction City, OR 97448 cultivation of potatoes: contents, 888-516-7797 strength criteria, sensory investigations, info@biodynamics.com and picture-creating methods. p. 115- www.biodynamics.com 120. In: William Lockeretz (ed.) Publisher of Biodynamics bi-monthly journal, Agricultural Kimberton agricultural calendar, and extensive selection of books.14) Production and Nutrition. Tufts University School of Nutrition Science Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics, Inc. and Policy, Held March 19−21, Boston, Rt. 1, Box 620 MA. Woolwine, VA 24185 540-930-246315) Schulz, D.G., and U. Kopke. 1997. The quality http://igg.com/bdnow/jpi/ index: A holistic approach to describe the JPI makes and distributes the full range of BD quality of food. p. 47-52. In: William Lockeretz Preparations, as well as the BD Compost Starter® and the BD Field Starter®. Publisher of Applied (ed.) Agricultural Production and Nutrition. Biodynamics, a quarterly newsletter. Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Held March 19−21, Boston, MA // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 12
  • Contacts: (continued) Koepf, Herbert H., Bo D. Pettersson and Wolfgang Schaumann. 1976. Biodynamic Agriculture: AnPfeiffer Center Introduction. Anthroposophic Press, Hudson,260 Hungry Hollow Road New York. 430 p.Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977845-352-5020, Ext. 20 Koepf, Herbert H. 1993. Research in Biodynamic845-352-5071 Fax Agriculture: Methods and Results. Bio-Dynamicinfo@pfeiffercenter.org Farming and Gardening Association,www.pfeiffercenter.org Kimberton, PA. 78 p. Educational seminars and training on biodynamic farming and gardening. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1975. Sensitive Crystallization Processes − A Demonstration ofDemeter Association, Inc. Formative Forces in the Blood. AnthroposophicBritt Rd. Press, Spring Valley, NY. 59 p.Aurora, NY 13026315-364-5617 Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1981. Weeds and What315-364-5224 Fax They Tell. Bio-Dynamic Literature,Contact: Anne Mendenhall Wyoming, RI. 96 p.demeter@baldcom.net Demeter® certification for biodynamic produce; Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1983. Bio-Dynamic publisher of The Voice of Demeter. Gardening and Farming. [collected articles, ca.Michael Fields Agricultural Institute 1940 - 1961] Volume 1. Mercury Press, SpringW2493 County Rd. ES Valley, New York. 126 p.P.O. Box 990 Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1983. Bio-DynamicEast Troy, WI 53120 Gardening and Farming. [collected articles, ca.262-642-3303 1940 - 1961] Volume 2. Mercury Press, Springwww.michaelfieldsaginst.org Valley, New York. 142 p. Research and extension in biodynamics, publications, conferences and short courses. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1983. Soil Fertility: Renewal and Preservation. Lanthorn, East Grinstead, Sussex, England. 200 p.Suggested Reading on Biodynamic Farming: Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Chromatography AppliedBDFGA (New Zealand). 1989. Biodynamics: New to Quality Testing. Bio-Dynamic Literature,Directions for Farming and Gardening in New Wyoming, RI. 44 p.Zealand. Random Century New Zealand, Auckland.230 p. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Bio-Dynamic Gardening and Farming. [collected articles, ca.Castelliz, Katherine. 1980. Life to the Land: 1940 - 1961] Volume 3. Mercury Press, SpringGuidelines to Bio-Dynamic Husbandry. Lanthorn Valley, New York. 132 p.Press, Peredur, East Grinstead, Sussex, England. 72 p. Podolinsky, Alex. 1985. Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Introductory Lectures, Volume I. GavemerGroh, Trauger, and Steven McFadden. 1997. Farms Publishing, Sydney, Australia. 190 p.of Tomorrow Revisited: Community SupportedFarms, Farm Supported Communities. Biodynamic Podolinsky, Alex. 1989. Bio-Dynamic AgricultureFarming and Gardening Association, Introductory Lectures, Volume II. GavemerKimberton, PA. 294 p. Publishing, Sydney, Australia. 173 p.Lovel, Hugh. 1994. A Biodynamic Farm for Growing Proctor, Peter. 1997. Grasp the Nettle: MakingWholesome Food. Acres, USA, Kansas City, MO. 215 p. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Work. Random House, Auckland, N.Z. 176 p.Koepf, Herbert H. 1989. The Biodynamic Farm:Agriculture in the Service of the Earth and Humanity. Remer, Nicolaus. 1995. Laws of Life in Agriculture.Anthroposophic Press, Hudson, New York. 248 p. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Kimberton, PA. 158 p. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 13
  • Suggested Reading on Biodynamic Farming: Introduction. The Anthroposophic Press, Spring(continued) Valley, NY. 430 p.Remer, Nikolaus. 1996. Organic Manure: Its Koepf, H.H. 1980. Compost − What It Is, How It IsTreatment According to Indications by Rudolf Made, What It Does. Biodynamic Farming andSteiner. Mercury Press, Chestnut Ridge, NY. 122 p. Gardening Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 18 p.Sattler, Fritz and Eckard von Wistinghausen. 1989. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1983. Soil Fertility, Renewal &Biodynamic Farming Practice [English translation, Preservation (3rd Edition). The Lanthorn Press, East1992]. Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Association, Grinstead, England. 199 p.Stourbridge, West Midlands, England. 336 p. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Bio-dynamicSchilthuis. Willy. 1994. Biodynamic Agriculture: Gardening and Farming. [collected articles, ca.Rudulf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice. Anthroposophic 1940 - 1961] Volume 3. Mercury Press, SpringPress, Hudson, NY. 11 p. Valley, New York. 132 p.Schwenk, Theodore. 1988. The Basis of Potentization Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. 1984. Using the Bio-DynamicResearch. Mercury Press, Spring Valley, NY. 93 p. Compost Preparations & Sprays in Garden, Orchard, & Farm. Bio-Dynamic Farming and GardeningSteiner, Rudolf. 1993. Spiritual Foundations for the Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 64 p.Renewal of Agriculture: A Course of Lectures. Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, Remer, Nikolaus. 1996. Organic Manure: ItsKimberton, PA. 310 p. Treatment According to Indications by Rudolf Steiner. Mercury Press, Chestnut Ridge, NY. 122 p.Storl, Wolf D. 1979. Culture and Horticulture: APhilosophy of Gardening. Bio-Dynamic Literature, Sattler, Friedrich, and Eckard v. Wistinghausen.Wyoming, RI. 435 p. 1992. Bio-Dynamic Farming Practice. Bio- Dynamic Agricultural Association, Stourbridge,Thompkins, Peter, and Christopher Bird. 1989. England. 333 p.The Secrets of the Soil. Harper & Row, NewYork, NY. 444 p. E-mail Discussion Groups: BDNOW!  E-mail discussion groupSuggested Reading on Biodynamic Compost: www.igg.com/bdnow Send mail to listproc@envirolink.org, andBlaser, Peter, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. 1984. “Bio- type SUBSCRIBE BDNOW YOUR NAME inDynamic Composting on the Farm” and “How Much the body of the message.Compost Should We Use?” Bio-Dynamic Farming andGardening Association, Inc., Kimberton, PA. 23 p. BDNOW! E-mail archives http://csf.colorado.edu/biodynamics/Corrin, George. 1960. Handbook on Compostingand the Bio-Dynamic Preparations. Bio-Dynamic BDA Discussion ForumAgricultural Association, London. 32 p. www.biodynamics.com/discussionCourtney, Hugh. 1994. Compost or biodynamiccompost. Applied Biodynamics. Fall. p. 11−13. World Wide Web Links:Courtney, Hugh. 1994. More on biodynamic What is Biodynamics? by Sherry Wildfeuercomposting. Applied Biodynamics. Winter. p. 8−9. www.angelic-organics.com/intern/ biodynamics.htmlCourtney, Hugh. 1995. More on biodynamiccomposting - II. Applied Biodynamics. Biodynamics: A Science of Life and Agriculture bySpring. p. 4−5. Sherry Wildfeur www.twelvestar.com/Earthlight/issue06/Koepf, Herbert H., B.D. Pettersson, and Wolfgang Biodynamics.htmlSchaumann. 1976. Bio-Dynamic Agriculture: An // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 14
  • World Wide Web Links: (continued) Biodynamic Research Institute in Sweden www.jdb.se/sbfi/indexeng.htmlThe Nature of Forces by Hugh Lovelwww.twelvestar.com/Earthlight/issue07/ Long-Term Field Experiment in Sweden: Effects of Nature%20of%20Forces.html Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on Soil Fertility and Crop QualityRudolf Steiner: Biographical Introduction for www.jdb.se/sbfi/publ/boston/boston7.htmlFarmers by Hilmar Moorewww.biodynamics.com/bd/ UC-SAREP Newsletter Review: “Soil quality and steinerbioPAM.htm financial performance of biodynamic and conventional farms in New Zealand.”Michael Fields Agricultural Institute www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/SAREP/NEWSLTR/www.michaelfieldsaginst.org v6n2/sa-13.htm Bulletin #1 (1989): Thoughts on Drought- Subtle Energies in a Montana Greenhouse by Woody Proofing your Farm: A Biodynamic Approach, by Wodraska Walter Goldstein. www.biodynamics.com/bd/subtle.html www.steinercollege.org/anthrop/ mfbull1.html Rudolf Steiner Archive and e.Library www.elib.com/Steiner Bulletin #2 (1992): Issues in Sustainable Agriculture: What are the Next Steps?, by Cheryl Biodynamic and Organic Gardening Resource Site Miller. www.biodynamic.net www.steinercollege.org/anthrop/ /mfbull2.html Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association www.biodynamics.com Bulletin #3 (1992): Soil Fertility in Sustainable Low Input Farming, by Dr. Herbert H. Koepf. The Josephine Porter Institute of Applied www.steinercollege.org/anthrop/ Biodynamics /mfbull2.html http://igg.com/bdnow/jpiBiodynamic Research: An Overview BDNOW!  Allan Balliett’s Web Sitehttp://ekolserv.vo.slu.se/Docs/www/Subject/Biod www.igg.com/bdnowynamic_farming/100-149/ 141BIODYNA_RESEARCH-_AN_OVERVIE American Biodynamic Association www.biodynamics.orgBiodynamic Preparations at Sacred-Soil Sitehttp://sacred-soil.com/frlobdpreps.htm Rudolf Steiner College www.steinercollege.orgEffects of Humic Acids and Three Bio-DynamicPreparations on the Growth of Wheat Seedlingswww.wye.ac.uk/agriculture/sarg/ Videos: postesa1.html Bio-Dynamic Gardening: A How to Guide videoInfluence of Bio-Dynamic and Organic Treatments on www.bestbeta.com/biodynamic.htmYield and Quality of Wheat and Potatoes: The Wayto Applied Allelopathy? Rudolf Steiner and the Science of Spiritual Realities,www.wye.ac.uk/agriculture/sarg/ A Video Documentary oral96.html www.bestbeta.com/steiner.htm // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 15
  • Publishers − Distributors of Biodynamic & Rudolf Steiner College BookstoreSteiner Literature: 9200 Fair Oaks Blvd. Fair Oaks, CA 95628Acres, USA Bookstore 916-961-8729P.O. Box 8800 916-961-3032 FaxMetairie, LA 70011-8800 www.steinercollege.org/bstore/index.html504-889-2100504-889-2777 Fax Woods End Research Laboratoryinfo@acresusa.com Rt. 2, Box 1850 Mt. Vernon, ME 04352Anthroposophic Press 207-293-24563390 Route 9 Contact: Dr. William BrintonHudson, NY 12534 E-mail: info@woodsend.org518-851 2054 URL: www.woodsend.org/800-925-1795 Woods End publishes noteworthy manuals onanthropres@aol.com compost, soil organic matter, and green manures.Biodynamic Farming andGardening Association The electronic version of Biodynamic Farming &25844 Butler Road Compost Preparation is located at:Junction City, OR 97448888-516-7797 http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/biodynamic.htmlinfo@biodynamics.comwww.biodynamics.com By Steve Diver NCAT Agriculture Specialist February 1999 The ATTRA Project is operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology under a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. ATTRA is located in the Ozark Mountains at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville at P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702. ATTRA staff members prefer to receive requests for information about sustainable agriculture via the toll-free number 800-346-9140. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 16
  • Appendix I Objectives in Biodynamic and Conventional Farming* ‘Biodynamic’ objectives ‘Conventional’ objectives A. Organization Ecological orientation, sound economy, efficient Economical orientation, mechanization, minimizing labor input labor input Diversification, balanced combination of enterprises Specialization, disproportionate development of enterprises Best possible self-sufficiency regarding manures and Self-sufficiency is no objective; importation of feed fertilizer and feed Stability due to diversification Programme dictated by market demands B. Production Cycle of nutrients within the farm Supplementing nutrients Predominantly farm-produced manuring materials Predominantly or exclusively bought-in fertilizers Slowly soluble minerals if needed Soluble fertilizers and lime Weed control by crop rotation, cultivation, thermal Weed control by herbicides (cropping, cultivation, thermal) Pest control based on homeostasis and inoffensive Pest control mainly by biocides substances Mainly home-produced feed Much or all feed bought in Feeding and housing of livestock for production and Animal husbandry mainly oriented towards health production New seed as needed Frequently new seed C. Modes of influencing life processes Production is integrated into environment, building Emancipation of enterprises from their environment healthy landscapes; attention is given to rhythm by chemical and technical manipulation Stimulating and regulating complex life processes No equivalent biodynamic preparations; use of by biodynamic preparations for soils, plants, and hormones, antibiotics, etc. manures Balanced conditions for plants and animals, few Excessive fertilizing and feeding, correcting deficiencies need to be corrected deficiencies D. Social implication; human values National economy; optimum input : output ratio National economy; poor input : output ratio regarding materials and energy regarding materials and input Private economic : stable monetary results Private economic : high risks, gains at times No pollution Worldwide considerable pollution Maximum conservation of soils, water quality, wild Using up soil fertility, often erosion, losses in water life quality and wild life Regionalized mixed production, more transparent Local and regional specialization, more anonymous consumer-producer relationship; nutritional quality consumer-producer relation; interested in grading standards Holistic approach, unity between world conception Reductionist picture of nature, emancipated, mainly and motivation economic motivation* Koepf, H.H. 1981. The principles and practice of biodynamic agriculture. p. 237−250. In: B. Stonehouse (ed.) Biological Husbandry: A Scientific Approach to Organic Farming. Butterworths, London. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 17
  • Appendix II Yield and Quality Under the Influence of Polar Opposite Growth Factors* Earthly influence Cosmic Influence Include among others:Soil life, nutrient content of soil; water supply; Light, warmth and other climatic conditions; andaverage atmospheric humidity. their seasonal and daily rhythms. Vary locally according to:Clay, nutrient, humus, lime and nitrogen content of Sun; cloudiness; rain; geographical latitude; altitudethe soil; nutrient and water holding capacity; and degree of exposure; aspect of land; annualtemperature and precipitation. weather pattern; silica content of soils. Normal influences on growth:High yields protein and ash content. Ripening; flavor; keeping quality; seed quality. One-sided (unbalanced) effects:Lush growth; susceptibility to diseases and pests; Low yields; penetrating or often bitter taste; fibrouspoor keeping quality. woody tissue; hairy fruit; pests and diseases. Managerial measures for optimum effects:Liberal application of manure and compost treated Use of manures; no overfertilization; compensatingwith biodynamic preparations; sufficient legumes in for deficiencies; suitable spacing of plants; amountrotation; compensating for deficiencies; irrigation; of seed used.mulching.Use of Preparation No. 500 Use of Preparation No. 501* Koepf, Herbert H., B.D. Pettersson, and Wolfgang Schaumann. 1976. Bio-Dynamic Agriculture: An Introduction. The Anthroposophic Press, Spring Valley, NY. p. 209. // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 18
  • Appendix III Table 1. Traditional Agriculture Paradigm*Ontology Epistemology MethodologyTraditional agriculture varies from The traditional practitioner stands in The traditional practitioner practicesculture to culture, from region to relationship to farming that is often rote patterns of seasonalregion, sometimes from tribe to tribe characterized by customs, rituals, preparations, planting, cultivation,within a culture and a region. It is generational wisdoms, tribal rules, and harvesting based on conventionoften a complex, living and dynamic superstitions, religious mores and handed by parents, tribal elders andweb of relationships, in which: often other external values. consistent with customs.the earth is a living being within a Innovations are not continuallyliving universe; sought out and typically are slow in acceptance.forces are at work in all that is both Biodiversity is part of the traditionalanimate and inanimate; practices, stemming from the farmer’s need for self-sufficiency with as much variety as possible.celestial rhythms play a role inhealth and prosperity;animals and humans are an integralpart of the wholethe farm is not considered a distinctbeing; andalthough these elements form awhole, the image of health is notnecessarily discernable Table 2. Industrial Agriculture Paradigm*Ontology Epistemology MethodologyIndustrial agriculture is an economic The industrial practitioner stands in The industrial practitioner isenterprise aimed at maximum short- an exploitative business relationship successful to the extent thatterm profit based on the most with the “factory” farm. economic profit is maximized.efficient use of resources and Observation, analysis and policy Consequently, methods andmaximization of labor and decisions are made on a bottom line practices that lead to efficiencies oftechnological efficiencies, in which: basis. technology and labor are employed, assessed, and refined.the earth is a relatively unlimited A technological framework shapes Innovations are constantly soughtsource of exploitable resources; and restrains the thinking, problem out, but evaluated on the basis of identification and analysis of the their contribution to added profit practitioner. from the business enterprise; which may come from increased output or decreased input.substances are analyzed for a Biodiversity is seen to bemechanical/manipulative use; economically inconsistent with efficiency. Monocrop production is the rule in the industrial paradigm.the influences of natural conditionsare limited by technology;animals and humans are seen in thecontext of output of cash flow; andthe farm is often seen as a machineor “factory” (mechanicalperspective) // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 19
  • Table 3. Organic Agriculture Paradigm* Ontology Epistemology Methodology Organic agriculture recognizes life The organic practitioner stands in a The organic practitioner seeks a as a complex ecosystem in which: benevolent appreciation of the sustainable subsistence, and restricts complexity of the ecosystem and his/her activities to non-exploitative attempts to work within the practices that “do no harm,” and framework of this ecosystem thus that support ongoing towards sustainability (zero-sum net sustainability. gains or losses). nature, on earth, is a living Organic production does not ecosystem; albeit purely material; emphasize biodiversity as an essential principle, and monocrop production is common. substances are analyzed for balanced, ecological use; natural conditions are accepted and adjusted to; domestic animals are often excluded for ethical values; and the farm is seen as an integral part of larger ecosystem (ecological perspective) Table 4. Biodynamic Agriculture Paradigm* Ontology Epistemology Methodology Biodynamics is a complex living and The biodynamic practitioner stands From the diagnostic-therapeutic dynamic (spiritual) system of in both a supportive and remedial relationship follows that the agriculture, in which: relationship to this complex, living, biodynamic practitioner’s activities dynamic farm individuality**. are divided into supportive (preventative) maintenance and remedial (therapeutic) inteventions. the earth is a living being in a living Observation, diagnosis and therapy In practice, there is a strong focus on universe, characterized by a development are the central themes balance, biodiversity, and plant and spiritual-physical matrix; of the practitioner’s relationship animal immunity. with the farm. substances are carriers of forces that create life; celestial rhythms directly effect terrestrial life; animals and humans emancipate from celestial rhythms; and the farm is a living, dynamic, spiritual individuality** (spiritual perspective)* Lorand, Andrew Christopher. 1996. Biodynamic Agriculture  A Paradigmatic Analysis. The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Agricultural and Extension Eduation. PhD Dissertation. 114 p.** Where Lorand uses the terminology of Steiner (individuality), other authors instead use the term organism // BIODYNAMIC FARMING & COMPOST PREPARATION Page 20