What is meant by biodynamic agriculture?

edited by Dr. Giuseppe Marrone

Practically doubled in ten years in Italy biodynamic farms that follow the techniques codified in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner between moon phases, Cow horns and homeopathic solutions with 400 certified realities for a total extension of almost 12 thousand hectares in 2017.

Biodynamics is an interpretation of agricultural production centered on the sustainability of land within a more general balance of the natural world, but it is also an investment from the environmental and economic point of view since the yield per hectare can reach 10 thousand euros in value.

The objectives of biodynamics are in fact to keep the soil fertile, to keep the plants healthy, to increase the quality of the products and to use completely natural fertilizers excluding artificial substances and, for example, by prohibiting the use of copper on crops, arable land, vegetable gardens and pastures.

Among the practices codified in biodynamics is the “green manure”, that is the burial of particular plants for fertilizer purposes and crop rotation. But it is also planned to use on the ground “biodynamic preparations” obtained from bovine manure, quartz powder, vegetable substances that ripen in animal parts such as deer bladder, cow’s horns or its intestine or ox skull. These objects must be treated, buried and then dug up with a precise calendar also related to the moon phases.

The preparations to be spread on plants and soils are 3: the “cornosilica” based on ground quartz to be spread on plants, the “cornoletame” based on cattle manure and the “Fladen” to be spread in the ground.

The cornosilica is sprayed on plants to stimulate fruiting and the processes related to photosynthesis and light. The manure horn is sprayed on the soil to increase its content in humus, acting accordingly on the root development and nutrition of the plant. The Fladen is obtained by mixing the fresh manure for an hour with “flour” of rock and eggshells, and left to “mature/transform” under the ground for a certain period: sprinkled in the soil aims to improve the structure and fertility of the soil. For the natural fertilizer and biodynamic techniques provide for the maturation of bovine manure in special “heaps” with the inclusion of six different special preparations that activate the spontaneous maturation of the compost and facilitate the natural decomposition of humus and soil. These preparations are obtained from medicinal herbs (Achillea millefolium, Matricaria chamomilla, Urtica dioica, Quercus robur, Taraxacum officinalis, Valeriana officinalis) macerated in particular environmental conditions and used as containers parts of animals.