Biodynamic Farming

Lowline cattle and beef

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming with homeopathic composts that treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, animals as a self-nourishing system without external inputs insofar as this is possible given the loss of nutrients due to the export of food.

Regarded by some as the first modern ecological farming system and one of the most sustainable, biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants.

Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. Biodynamics originated out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the spiritual philosophy anthroposophy.

Essentially, biodynamic farming looks upon the soil and the farm as living organisms. It regards maintenance and furtherance of soil life as a basic necessity if the soil is to be preserved for generations, and it regards the farm as being true to its essential nature if it can be conceived of as a kind of individual entity in itself a self-contained individuality.

The maintenance of soil life is vital also in order to protect the soil from erosion and to create, improve, and augment the humus content. The result will be a fine, crumbly structure containing the necessary organic colloids. This leads to the production of high-quality crops, which in turn means better feed for livestock and better food for human beings.

Soil improvement is obtained by proper humus management e.g., by the application of sufficient organic manure and compost in the best possible state of fermentation; by proper crop rotation; by proper working of the soil; by protective measures such as wind protection; cover crops, green manure, and diversified crops rather than monocultures; and by mixed cropping so that plants can aid and support each other.

Biodynamic agriculture is a way of living, working and relating to nature and the vocations of agriculture based on good common-sense practices, a consciousness of the uniqueness of each landscape, and the inner development of each and every practitioner. Common-sense practices include striving to be self-sufficient in energy, fertilizers, plants, and animals; structuring our activities based on working with nature's rhythms; using diversity in plant, fertilizers, and animals as building blocks of a healthy operation; being professional in our approach to reliability, cleanliness, order, focus on observation, and attention to detail; and being prompt and up-to-date in doing one's job.

It is a process that redeems dead soils and makes farms viable. It is a labour-intensive process carried out by committed and socially responsible farmers.