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The bio-dynamic agriculture
by Harald C. Letizi
Biodynamic agriculture is a kind of organic agriculture and it was founded on 1924 by Rudolf Steiner (1961-1925), an Austrian scientist and philosopher. He founded the anthroposophy, who comprehends arts and sciences based on metaphysic theories. He studied the oriental religions and sciences and the anthroposophy was developed from occidental and oriental science and metaphysic knowledge. In agriculture the anthroposophy was presented by the adjective bio – dynamic, or dynamic of life. His lonely text is a proceeding of his conferences in Koberwitz, in Germany in 1924 (title of the proceeding book: "Geisteswissenschaftliche Grundlagen zum Gedeihem der Landwirtschaft" : "scientific-spiritual impulses for the progress of agriculture"). After his first indications he died and others scientists and farmers continued his work for the progress of bio-dynamic agriculture. This movement is one of the oldest organic agricultural movements there are in Europe. The historical home State of this movement is Germany, but this kind of agriculture is now applied in different parts of Europe and also in Australia, South America, USA, New Zealand. In Australia bio – dynamic agriculture have been developed increasing cultivated areas in the last years by the contribute of Dr. Alex Podolinsky. The trade mark of the bio – dynamic products is Demeter (the name of the Greek god of agriculture) and they are certified after a check control in the farm and in food industry who produce them.
In Italy this kind of agriculture have been done since Fifty's years and during Ninety's years it had a big develop also because of the public financial helps to organic agriculture.
Bio-dynamic agriculture is based on the increase of soil fertility by organic amendments and fertilisers in a close cycle farm. The components of the farm are: the farmer, the soil, the hood (also with conifers), the kitchen garden, the cereal field, the lake. The most appreciated animal in bio – dynamic agriculture is the cowl, because of its biological and physiological characters and also its manure.
Bio – dynamic agriculture use some special preparation to improve soil fertility, dunghill maturation and plant photosynthesis.
The bio – dynamic preparation
There are two kind of preparations: spray and dunghill preparations.
Dunghill preparation are six and they are made by one herb each: yarrow (Achillea millefolium), camomile (Matricaria chamomilla), British oak (Querqus peduncolata), taraxacum (Taraxacum officinale), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), valerian (Valeriana officinalis). These herbs are typical of Europe and temperate climate. Probably they are absent in tropical areas, so these dunghill preparation are not usable there.
Spray preparations are two. One is made by milk cow manure and the other by silica (or quartz rock crystal). These preparations are usable in tropical areas, because are present all the ingredients.
The preparation is also called by a code: preparation 500 is made by milk cow manure; preparation 501 is made by silica; preparation 502 until 507 are the dunghill preparations.
Preparation methodology of 500 and 501
The preparation 500 is made by introducing the fresh autumn milk cow manure (from local milk cow) inside milk cow horn during September (in Europe) and laid underground in a fertile and well - drained soil, 30 – 50 cm. deep, far from tree roots, roads, walls and protected from animals. The manure must be well formed and from fresh forage or pasture. The horn must be without imperfections and not cooked. This preparation remains there until spring (March in Europe) and is ready when it looks and smells like humus colloid. Usually not all horns are well prepared, so they must be selected when the preparation is pulled out. The conservation of this preparation is inside pot, whit micro – aeration, in a fresh and shadow side, isolated by a peat cover (5-10 cm). The horns can be reused until they are integers.
The preparation of 501 is made by breaking a small silica (or quartz rock crystal) until to obtain powder. Then the silica powder is introduced inside a milk cow horn during spring (end of March in Europe) and is laid underground 30-50 cm. deep, in a fertile sunny and well - drained soil, far from tree roots and protected from animals. The horns are locked by terrain. At the end of Summer (September, in Europe), the horns are discovered and the powder is pulled out. The conservation of the powder is in glass pots in a dry sunny site. The horns cannot be used again.
Use of preparation 500 and 501
The use of preparation 500 is in improving soil fertility and root ability. The quantity used is from 100 gr. to 300 gr. per hectare. It is solved in warm clean water inside a butt (in wood or in copper. Glass is also good). The solving process is called "dynamisation" and is one hour long and mixed by a pole. The mixing turning sense changes when the solution makes a perfect whirlpool and the base centre of the butt is without water. For this reason the level of the water in the butt is not more then 2/3.
This preparation is sprayed on the moisture soil, better during afternoon or evening, especially before saw and transplanting. It must be sprayed as very big drops.
The preparation 501 is used to increase plant photosynthesis in cloudy periods or in autumn and spring. It can be caustic when used too much in sunny days. The dose is from 1 to 2 gr./ha. each treatment, repeated three or four days continue once each day, better during the early morning.
It needs the same dynamisation of the preparation 500, then it will be sprayed on leaves in very fine drops (like fog).
The applicability of the bio – dynamic agriculture: the example of the Marche Region, Italy
In Marche Region exist the regional section of the Association for the Bio-dynamic Agriculture in Italy. There are seven bio-dynamic farms who has got also the trade mark Demeter, and some others who are bio-dynamic but have not the trade mark yet. In fact they need at list four years of bio-dynamic agriculture to obtain the trade mark. The farmers who are associate work together to obtain the preparations. They also organise seminars and courses of bio-dynamic agriculture calling experts from all Italy. Now the preparations are stored in one farm where each farmer can go and take what he need. The food product is sold directly or to shops, or used by the farmer family. At the moment the bio-dynamic surfaces in this Region are very low. The work of the bio-dynamic farmers represent just a different approach to agriculture than conventional chemical system and in add to others organic farming systems.
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