Friday, June 19, 2009

What is Biodynamic farming?

Biodynamics is a regenerative agriculture, holistic in approach and practice, through which the farmer and gardener brings the substances and forces of nature into a quality and sustainable production.

Biodynamics - Tools for making organics easier
Let increased soil biology work for you
Strengthens plants and animals against stress
Optimise growth cycles using lunar and cosmic rhythms
Quality Produce
Tastes good
Reflects the essence of your farm or garden
With increased shelf life
Cost Effective
Reduced fertility inputs
Premium quality products
Consistent production and high net returns
Biodynamic Preparations
Create deeper soil and root depth
Increases water holding capacity of soils - good in drought and flood
Improve plant and animal health and yield, reducing weeds and pests
The Grower
Empowerment of human skills - understanding of natural cycles
Increased professional satisfaction
Health for individual, family, farm and customer

A healthy, well-structured soil, rich in humus and high in biological activity is a prerequisite for any sustainable agricultural system.

Decades of experience with the Biodynamic (BD) method on Australian farms have shown that these soil qualities can be promoted and degradation reversed by the correct application of BD techniques.

Mixed farms practising the Biodynamic method have been in existence for over 65 years with none showing any evidence of loss of fertility or productivity.

Biodynamic practitioners seek to understand and work with the life processes as well as enhance their understanding of the mineral processes used in conventional agriculture. Healthy soil is a prime basis for healthy plants, animals and people.

BD farming practices are of an organic nature, not relying on bringing artificial fertilisers on to the farm, although some organic or natural mineral fertiliser may be necessary during the establishment phase.

On Biodynamic farms we seek instead to enhance the soils structure and nutrient cycles as well as plant growth and development with the use of specific Preparations which are made from farm-sourced materials.

These are the Biodynamic Preparations numbered 500 to 507 used in conjunction with established agricultural practices such as composting and manuring, crop and pasture rotations, tree planting, the integrated use of livestock, etc. As the name suggests, these Preparations are designed to work directly with the dynamic biological processes and cycles which are the basis of soil fertility.

Pest and disease control is generally managed by developing the farm as a total organism. However, BD practitioners may make use of specific products for weed and pest control, which they make from the weeds and pests themselves.

Weeds and pests are very useful indicators of imbalances in soil, plants and animals; and the aim in the Biodynamic method is to use such indicators in a positive way.

The Biodynamic Preparations were developed out of indications by Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924. They are not fertilisers themselves but greatly assist the fertilising process. As such they only need to be used in very small amounts.

Horn Manure Preparation (500) is used to enliven the soil, increasing the microflora and availability of nutrients and trace elements. Through it the root growth, in particular, is strengthened in a balanced way, especially the fine root hairs. Develops humus formation, soil structure and water holding capacity.

Horn Silica Preparation (501) enhances the light and warmth assimilation of the plant, leading to better fruit and seed development with improved flavour, aroma, colour and nutritional quality.

Compost Preparations (502 to 507), known collectively as the compost preparations, help the dynamic cycles of the macro- and micro-nutrients, via biological processes in the soil and in material breakdown.

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