Introduction to Biodynamic Farming
Biodynamic farming is a method which is similar to organic farming, but it involves some kind of natural forces which increase the vitality of the soil. In this method, the farmers will make use of all the living organisms present in nature to get a good production of the crops or any other products being produced. The farmers are even conscious about the decrease in the fertility of the soil, which is being caused due to the use of a large number of fertilizers to keep the crops healthy. The Biodynamics is being introduced to maintain the fertility of the soils and save them from being destroyed. In this method, the plants get to use the nutrients from the soil to the maximum and hence the fertility of the soil increases. In the biodynamic system of agriculture, the whole farm is considered as a single entity or a single organism instead of differentiation every organism. The farm is considered as a complete entity of the world.
Features of Biodynamic farming:
- The main goal of biodynamic farming is to maintain the soil fertility which in turn helps us get back to the previous environment.
- The harmony between mankind and the ecology are being destroyed these days and Biodynamics focus on this point. So it works on repairing the depleted soil and helps to get back its balance by producing a crop which is good in terms of health as well as nutrition.
- Biodynamics will never allow the destruction of forests in order to get land for farming. Biodynamics strives to maintain the habitats and diversity of the plants and animals.
- Diversification of crops is the main factor of biodynamic farming. The farmer will produce crops which are different from each other instead of going with monoculture. This is because growing of only one crop in a farm causes a decrease in the soil nutrients.
- The cultivation of crops should not be done too much so that the soil will regain its nutrients. Moreover, careful measures should be taken to prevent the erosion of soil.
- Biodynamic farming will deliberately avoid the use of treatments with chemicals to the soil and inputs which are not prepared on the farm.
- The main motto of biodynamic farming is to use green manure for farming. It also uses preparations and practices of Biodynamics such as the integration of livestock.
- Even the disease control methods and pest control methods should also be followed with the things available at the farm.
- Few factors such as the extent of penetration of light into the farm, time of cropping and the understanding of the habitats of the pests will help the biodynamic farmers to control the pests naturally.
- The control of weeds should also be done with proper planning. This can be done by understanding the weed life cycle and making a few adjustments in terms of fertility of the soil.
- The saving of water and the feed for the livestock present in the farm are the main features of biodynamic farming.
- Similarly, weed control can be achieved with the help of proper timing of planning, shade canopy, understanding the life cycles of weeds and making soil fertility adjustments that could inhibit weed growth.
Read: Agricultural Soil Testing.
Principles of Biodynamic farming:
The principles of biodynamic farming include:
- Crop diversification: It is a system which keeps the plants healthy. In this method, different plants grow in the soil which is not fertile or cultivated. The crops when mixed with the same land will support one another. That is, if one plant takes away the nutrients from the soil causing depletion, the other one will give the soil the required nutrients or the loss ones. This helps in the diversification of plants and the soil gets fertile.
- Crop rotation: The conventional method of farming will majorly focus on a single crop and grow it. As a result, the soil will lose the nutrients, making it dry and infertile. Hence, crop rotation helps in the use of land in a perfect way. Crop rotation can be carried by growing one type of crop in one season, which gives nutrients to the soil and after that season, another crop which releases nitrogen can be harvested so that the soil will replenish the nutrients which are lost. This will also reduce the pests in a natural way without the use of fertilizers. Moreover, weeds can also be controlled.
- Animal husbandry: The involvement of livestock in farming is also the main principle of biodynamic farming. Through the introduction of livestock into the farming, there would be an integration of the crops and animals which would help each other reducing the usage of any inputs from the external environment of the farm. The waste produced by the animals can be used to treat the plants in the place of fertilizers and the plants can be used as feed for the livestock.
- Biodynamic compost: Composting is one of the sections of biodynamic farming. This will help in keeping the soil healthy. The manure from the animals and the organic wastes will help to improve the content of nitrogen in the soil and increase the productivity of the crops.
- Solutions using homeopathy: There are nearly ten preparations of biodynamic compost which are prepared by using the animal wastes and the manure of minerals obtained from crops. These are mixed into the sprays and used as compost to the plants. This method is also called as dynamization. The nine bio compost preparations are named as from 500 to 508 in which six are very important for composting and the other two are used to prevent and reduce the diseases caused by the fungus to the crops.
- Lifeforce: Force of life is the one which differentiates the biodynamic farming from other methods of agriculture. The biodynamic agriculture will make use of the influences of the earth, such as chemistry, physics and biology and also includes the phases of the moon and cycles which are seasonal which are called cosmic forces. These also play an important role on the farm.
Advantages / Benefits of Biodynamic farming:
- The produce will be organic and healthy.
- The soil pollution and water pollution will be prevented completely.
- This method of farming will improve the efficiency of energy of the environment.
- Biodynamic farming will be able to take any kind of changes in the environment.
- When the crops which are produced by using biodynamic farming are consumed, there would be a good impact on the life of mankind and also for the ecology.
- The inputs to the soil in order to achieve fertility will be decreased.
- The products produced in biodynamic farming will have very good quality and can be termed as premium.
- The production of crops in biodynamic farming will be consistent and the returns will also be high.
- Biodynamics is a type of farming, which interlinks the relationship between soil and wildlife.
- It completely avoids the usage of the artificial fertilizers in growing the plants. It completely takes a stand on the integration of wildlife and crop life.
- The preparations of bio compost made by using herbs and minerals which are fermented will be used in the sprays of the fields.
- This composting is very less in cost and it is also easy to prepare it and also takes less time.
- This type of compost will help the farmers to keep the farms dry and also moist.
- This compost will help to reduce the pests in the soil along with the emission of methane content.
- The availability of water increases due to the reduction in the sediments.
Basic method of preparation of biodynamic compost:
- The heap for biodynamic compost will be built on a site which is flat and dry. The site should be away from trees which give shade and the things which log the water.
- The farmer should then make a plot which is rectangular in shape and places a set of PVC pipes in the center of the rectangular plot in order to allow circulation of air and helps in supplying oxygen to the pile.
- The other layers of green biomass and the dry ones are added on the upper surface of it.
- The lime which is being slaked and crushed will be added along with the rock phosphate to the center layers. This is done in order to increase the decomposition and to act as a supplement for the content of minerals.
- After the completion of the layering process, the pile will be covered with the help of a paste which is prepared by using cow dung and soil.
- After this, the pile should be watered for every seven days for the first 2 months on a regular basis. This should be observed carefully and if any cracks seem to occur in the outside environment, then they should be covered accordingly.
- After completion of two months, the compost which is prepared will be sent for testing by collecting the samples of it from various locations of the heap.
- When the sample which is crushed will have an odour of soil from the forest, then the process of degradation is completed by 80% and the biodynamic compost is prepared for usage.
Method of preparation of six composts:
The biodynamic composts are of nine types in which six are used for composting and the other three are used as fertilizers to remove fungus from the crops in the biodynamic farm.
The organic matter present in the soil should be humified in order to have a good biodynamic environment. The biodynamic compost is prepared in a heap. The six preparations made of compost are then injected into this heap. Then the heap will be covered with earth, straw etc.
The preparations made will work on the biodynamic compost. They will work on the soil where the compost is being sprayed. The compost will not act as nutrients. They just assemble the soil elements and create an environment which is cosmic. These will work as yeast by improving the vitality of the soil. They also increase the health of the soil
- Preparation of yarrow:
In order to assemble sulphur and potassium in the soil, Achillea millefolium will play a vital role. This is prepared by using only the flowers without the use of stems.
- Preparation of Camomile preparation
The plant Matricaria recutita is the one which is completely related to the metabolism of calcium. This will help in controlling the process of nitrogen.
- Preparation of Nettle
The plant Urtica dioica is based on nitrogen and iron. The preparation of this will be influencing the preparation of 502 and 503. This will help in providing some sort of intelligence and sensitivity the compost and also to the soil. This is done by helping in the humus formation.
- Preparation of Oakbark
The preparation of Quercus robur is based on calcium. The preparation of this one which helps in enhancing the resistance power of the crops to diseases which are caused by more amount of vigour.
- Preparation of Dandelion
The preparation of taraxacum dens Leonis plays a major role in terms of silicic acid and hydrogen. This is the preparation, which allows silicic acid and hydrogen to work in their natural way and works on processes of limestone, potassium and nitrogen.
- Preparation of Valerian
The preparation of Valeriana officinalis will help to assemble the content of phosphorus present in the soil. This will help in forming a mantle which gives warmth wound the heap which is holding the compost. This preparation will act as protection which would be helpful to all the organisms. This will also reduce most of the stress of the plants.
Differences between organic farming and biodynamic farming:
- The main principle of organic farming is to get the food which is rich in nutrition and is also sufficient to mankind by using the organic way of growing. Biodynamic farming is similar to organic farming but it is one step ahead of organic farming. This grows the plants by using organic content like green manures, etc. but it interlinks the crops with the forces of life such as cosmic forces, solar system, etc.
- Organic farming will add fertility to the soil by not using any kind of fertilizers which are made of chemicals, whereas the biodynamic farming adds vitality to the soil by increasing its sensitivity.
- Organic farming will protect the soil from being depleted whereas the biodynamic farming helps the soil to heal and replenish itself.
- Organic farming will work to create ecological balance in the farm, whereas biodynamic farming creates the ecological balance externally too.
- Organic farming is done mainly to get the crops in a healthier way, but the biodynamic farming will be working according to the changes in nature and through careful observations of nature.
- Organic farming uses the manure which is obtained from waste generated from crops and livestock whereas biodynamic farming will prepare the fertilizers which are made up of herbs and minerals. This is completely similar to homeopathy.
- Organic farming works based on environmental influences. Biodynamic farming also gets influenced by the changes in the environment, but there are also astrological influences added to it.