On Thu, 6 Apr 1995, Dick Dale wrote:
> Since Biodynamics is a system of farming, it should be examined
> holistically, by comparing a B.D. farm with a conventional or organic farm
> in the same region.
That is one way of study ing them, but it will not tell anything
about whether certain specific B.D. preparations are efficatious.
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> Ther have aslo been shown to be real
> differences in in the quality of produce grown using Biodynamic methods.
> Using the B.D. preparations or Pfeiffer's compost starter has been shown
> to have reproducible effects on compost. I could go on, but I would
> suggest that anyone who is interested should consult either Bio-Dynamic
> Agriculture by H.H. Koepf, B.D. Pettersson and W. Schaumann, or Culture
> and Horticulture by Wolf Storl.
Cites please, from peer-reviewed journals.
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> however, that it was a Biodynamic idea to compost farm manure in the first
> place (at least in recent Western circles). The reasoning was that where
> you have a limited amount of animal manure and other organic wastes
> available to provide nutrients to a farm, you should be applying them in a
> manner that conserves and makes the best use of these materials. What a
> good compost does is stabilize the organic matter and make it into
> long-lasting humus. You may lose some nitrogen and some of the gross
> yield-increasing effects, but the soil will benefit more from an
> application of compost than one of fresh manure. There are other benfits
> of composting as well. To B.D. farmers, that question was important,
> because they were not importing feeds and fertilizers from off the farm.
> They were interested in the farm as a functioning organism - sustainable,
> in other words, living and viable.
> Dick Dale
> Crop Consultant, Central NY Crop Management Association
I find it hard to believe that composting in the West orginiated with
Rudolf Steiner between June 7-16 1924, however if it can be correberated
that composting was unknown and unpracticed prior to that in Europe and
America, I am very willing to be corrected. With regard to the purpose of
composting, as I understand it the purpose was to beneficially influence
the "terrestrial and cosmic forces" in order to "vitalize the soil"
(Steiner cited in Kirchmann, 1994). It seems contraditory to state that
conserves nutrients, and then state that it doesn't matter that nutrients
such as nitrogen "and some of the gross yield increasing effects" are
lost. Maybe these yield increasing effects are also nutrients.
In terms of compost compound experiments the following experiments
would be important (if similar experiments have been tried citations
would be appreciated):
The application in randomized blocks of four treatments: a) application
of finely-ground quartz powder; b) application of silica compound
(designation 501); c) application of silica compound prepared in a
manner similar to designation 501 but either buryed in a cow horn
in winter rather than summer or agitated without changing the water's
circualtion direction; d) a control.
The application in randomized blocks of a) small
pieces of Oak bark that have been embedded in peat, stuffed into
the skull of domestic animal and buried in autumn at a place where large
amounts of rain water run past (designation 505);
b) small pieces of Oak bark that have been embedded in peat stuffed
into a plastic model of a skull and buried in the spring at a place
where ponding but not overland flow ususally occur; c) aged oak
bark; d) a control.
The application in radomized blocks of a) yarrow flowers that have
been pressed in the urine bladder of a red stag placed in the sun
during the sumer, in the soil during the winter and dug up in the
spring (designation 502); b) yarrow flowers that have been placed
in the urine bladder of a moose placed in the sun during the fall
buried for a week in november and dug up; c) yarrow flowers;
An experiment (I'm not sure how to set it up) to determine
whether compounds of yarrow, camomile, and stinging nettle
acting together in compost heaps can convert potassium and
calcium to nitrogen.