What is Biodynamic Farming ?
Biodynamic farming involves using natural forces to increase the vitality of the soil. It’s comparable to organic farming, but it focuses on preserving the balance between man and nature. Farmers use living organisms found in nature to boost soil fertility and increase productivity in this farming approach. In the biodynamic farming method, you treat the entire farm as a single entity or organism.
The biodynamic farming and gardening method is a way for land cultivators to form a close relationship with their soil. Biodynamic farming practices consider the land’s life force and natural elements when growing crops, which leads to a more harmonious environment and more efficient farming.
History of Biodynamic Farming
Following farmer worries about soil degradation caused by the continual use of chemical fertilizers, Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner delivered an agriculture course in 1924. He provided a series of lectures on anthroposophic farming that would later become known as biodynamic farming.
- During the lectures, Steiner introduced the farmers to anthroposophy, or the study of man’s nature, a spiritual philosophy. These lectures are widely recognized as the initial introduction to modern organic farming.
- Steiner looked at the interaction between farmers and the land, claiming that humans are responsible for protecting their environment and natural resources. He established a major anthroposophical society/research group with over 800 members worldwide.
Principle of Biodynamic Farming
(1) Crop Rotation
It helps in the retention of soil nutrients and increases soil fertility. Plant a crop that provides nutrients to the soil in one season and then plant another crop that releases nitrogen in the following season. This approach replaces the nutrients that have been lost in the soil. It’s also a good way to control pests and weeds naturally.
(2) Crop Diversification
It is the practice of planting more than one type of crop in the same field so that if one depletes the soil’s nutrients, the other will replace them. It helps to maintain the diversity in the crop field, which helps keep the crops healthy, soil fertile and increases productivity.
(3) Animal Husbandry
It is the practice of using livestock in the agriculture. Crops and animals will work together to help each other, resulting in a reduction in the use of external inputs. You could use the manure produced by animals to boost production, and then you can use plants as livestock feed.
It is an integral part of biodynamic farming. You prepare compost in Biodynamic farming from organic waste and manure. Then you need to mix compost with the sprays and applied to the plants as compost. From 500 to 508, there are nine bio compost preparations—six of which farmers use for composting and the others for preventing and reducing fungal crop diseases.
(5) Life forces
Farmers use the biodynamic (or astrological) calendar to govern biodynamic farming. In the biodynamic system of agriculture, the influence of the earth, such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and cosmic forces like phases of the moon and cycles, play an important role in the farm.
Calendar in Biodynamic Farming
- Unlike conventional farming, a custom-made biodynamic (or astrological) calendar guides biodynamic farming. The basis of the calendar is the position of the moon/planet, as your horoscope. It shows when you should complete certain tasks.
- The calendar indicates when to plant, nurture, or harvest various crops based on the moon’s phase, the zodiacal constellation through which it is passing, and whether the crop is the plant’s root, leaf, flower, or fruit (or seed).
- The powers of air, water, fire, and earth are all present in these constellations. The days are heated while the moon passes through Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius (the fire signs), influencing fruit and seed production.
- The earth signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, encourage root growth by drawing the root into the soil. The moon’s influence over air encourages the creation of blossoms, substance, and color in Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius (air signs). In contrast, the moon’s influence over water encourages vegetative growth in Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces (water signs).
- It’s a centuries-old yet groundbreaking notion that predates Steiner’s time. It’s a throwback to when there were no synthetic pesticides, and the moon and stars served as the only dependable calendar.
Benefits of Biodynamic Farming
- Production of high-quality fruits and vegetables with great flavors and high nutrient levels (protein and vitamin content). The market value of products is also higher.
- Yields are always above average, higher on average than those produced by organic farming, and consistently high over time. It is as opposed to dropping yields gained by chemical farming when the soil mineralizes and pest populations become unbalanced and a problem.
- There have been a few problems with animal and plant diseases. There is no spread of insect pests and no significant economic impact due to their presence: The issue of insect pests is one of balance and control. You can restore it through effective management, such as planting shrubs and trees to house natural predators.
- Biodynamic farming can respond to any changes in the environment. Farmers can use this strategy to produce crops consistently and profitably. A biodynamic farm’s goods will all be of the highest quality.
Preparations in Biodynamic Farming
Specific Biodynamic methods have been in use for over 65 years. Many farmers and gardeners have firsthand knowledge of their effects. Scientists have also generated. Experiment evidence has also which has contributed to the body of empirical knowledge.
When Steiner developed his biodynamic principles, he devised nine ‘preparations’. He created these preparations from herbs, mineral sources, and animal manures. Each of which you can aim to treat certain plant health concerns.
- The measures consist of two types of particularly fermented ingredients known as preparations. The first group consists of six different herbal ingredients, numbered 502-507, like BD 503; you put these preparations in modest amounts to manure and compost.
- As a result, they are referred to collectively as compost preparations. These figures are arbitrary, having been determined by those who created the preparations first. The sprays are in the second group and have numbers from 500 and 501.
- Although not regarded as one of the eight basic preparations. A ninth preparation often is popular as 508. You create it by boiling the horsetail plant. You can use it to combat fungal illnesses only in exceptionally wet years. Following are various biodynamic preparations.
- BD 500 Cow horn manure- It is basically fermented cow dung.
- BD 501 Cow horn silica- This is finely ground quartz crystals specially prepared.
Compost Preparations 502 – 507
These are a series of preparations made from various medicinal herbs in such a way as to enhance their inherent qualities.
- Achillea millifolium compost (BD502) – You prepare this compost from yarrow flowers combined with a stag’s bladder.
- Matricuria chamomilla compost (BD 503 ) – You compose this compost with flowers of the Chamomile plant combined with cow intestine.
- Urtica parviflora compost (BD 504)- You prepare it from Himalayan stinging nettle.
- Quercus glauca compost (BD 505)- You prepare this compost by combining the oak tree’s bark with the skull of an animal.
- Taraxicum officinalis(BD 506 )- You prepare this compost from the dandelion wrapped up in a bovine mesentery.
- Valeriana officinalis compost(BD 507) – You need to use the juice of valerian flowers for this preparation.
- Equisetum arvense compost (BD 508 ) is very high in silica; you can also use it as a tea to control fungus in the early season.
Biodynamic Farming vs. Organic Farming
In most ways, organic and biodynamic farming are similar.
- Chemicals, artificial growth, and hormone injections are not used in organic farming. Genetically modified foods and promoters are strictly prohibited in organic farming. Its goal is to improve the health of the land and crops while also giving food to consumers in a more natural state.
- Its goal is to maintain a balance between the earth’s ecological system and the production of high-quality food. Antibiotics and artificial hormone boosters are not used in organically produced meat, poultry, or eggs.
- It persistently and actively believes in proper land management. It does not interfere with natural laws that aid in food production.
- You practice everything in biodynamic farming. But it takes it a step further by infusing the Cosmological forces into the farming process. It takes a holistic approach, believing that the entire universe and the moon phases and celestial cycles. Everything works together to generate food.
- Biodynamic farming uses healthy concepts of mindful farming to repair the environment, restore the soil, and add life to livestock. On the other hand, the traditional farming approach only tempers the soil, eventually deteriorating soil and decreasing production.
- Homeopathic medicines used in Biodynamic farming are well-known strategies for improving compost quality. It happens with the generation of humus, which is essential for healthy produce and helps sunlight penetrate deeper into plants for better outcomes.
Thousands of regenerative gardens, farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards now exist in various climates, ecological contexts, and economic circumstances. It is making up the biodynamic farming movement. Biodynamic farmers try to cultivate a diverse, well-balanced farm environment that creates as much health and fertility as possible from inside the farm.
Biodynamic farming is a method of mending the environment and human beings; it enlivens the land and, as a result, the food we consume. We can accomplish this through a variety of cultural traditions. But the center lies on the farmer’s intensely intimate relationship with their farm.
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