> Citations for the biodynamic research would be very helpful.
> Why should the biodynamic techniques only work in the context
> of the whole farm. Does this mean that they are not applicable
> or loose their efficacy if applied at a smaller, say, garden
> scale? If so, why should this be? If the technique like designation
> 502 has a benefit for some portion of a field why shouldn't a
> viable experimental plot size be determinable? Then setting up
> a randomized block design that takes into account potential
> edge effects if relatively easy. What features of the rest of
> the farm are necessary in this context for designation 502 to
> work, and why couldn't they be included in the experiment?
> Jonathan Haskett
You're doing a really great job of keeping us focussed on BD - not
easy in these discussions. The point about the whole farm is that the
preps will work to a certain extent but it is the 'whole picture'
approach that probably defines or distinguishes bd in the wider
context of sustainable or organic farming. Pfeiffer published Three
Introductory Articles which detailed the bacterial activity in each of
the preparations starting with the unprepared plant or mineral
material and comparing it with the end product and eventually I
believe with treated composts - still looking for the reference!
But like many environmentalists/ecologists and even health
professionals the BD farmer emphasises the farm as a whole comprising
innumerable individual components. Over emphasise or neglect one link
and the trickle down effect can be very deleterious. As other
correspondents have pointed out - people more qualified than I - this
is where the need for longterm research lies, but that very time frame
is often one of the off-putting factors. Day to day living and market
requirements call for quick fix solutions.
It's not to say the preps for instance don't work in a limited
condition, but that any one aspect is not the criterion of bd. The
healthy and nutritionally balanced soil grows unstressed nutritional
plants that in turn provide unstressed healthy animals, including
human beings. Unstressed and nutritionally balanced plants and
animals are more able to withstand pests and disease. This is a
recognised factor in animal and human health.
Pfeiffer's research, early thought it was, showed that the
preparations brought in microbial activity directly related to
particular 'nutrients' (my word for lack of a better one) along with a
very wide range of trace elements. Don't forget that at this stage -
late 40s/early 50s ? - zinc and selenium deficiencies in livestock,
for instance, had not been identified.
There is some research being conducted here at Massey University
comparing dairy farms conventionally managed with bd dairy farms. I'm
not sure of the exact parameters and whether they would meet your