Biodynamic Agriculture - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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Biodynamic agriculture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture Biodynamic agriculture From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming originally developed by Rudolf Steiner that employs what proponents describe as a holistic understanding of agricultural processes [1]:145. One of the first sustainable agriculture movements,[2][3][4] it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologic
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  Biodynamic agriculture From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Biodynamic agriculture  is a method of organic farming srcinally developed by Rudolf Steiner thatemploys what proponents describe as a holistic understanding of agricultural processes [1]:145 . One of thefirst sustainable agriculture movements, [2][3][4]  it treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care asecologically interrelated tasks, [5][6][7]  emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives. Proponents of  biodynamic agriculture, including Steiner, have characterized it as spiritual science as part of the larger anthroposophy movement. [1][2][8] Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures andcomposts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamicapproach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system; an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems; its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties; and the use of an astrological sowing and planting calendar. Biodynamic agricultureuses various herbal and mineral additives for compost additives and field sprays; these are sometimes prepared by controversial methods, such as burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow, which aresaid to harvest cosmic forces in the soil , that are more akin to sympathetic magic than agronomy.As of 2011 biodynamic techniques were used on 142,482 hectares in 47 countries. Germany accounts for 45% of the global total; [9]  the remainder average 1750 ha per country. Biodynamic methods of cultivatingwine grapes have been taken up by several notable vineyards [10]  There are certification agencies for  biodynamic products; most of these agencies are members of the international biodynamics standards groupDemeter International. No difference in beneficial outcomes has been scientifically established between certified biodynamicagricultural techniques and similar integrated farming practices. Critics have further characterized biodynamic agriculture as pseudoscience on the basis of a lack of strong evidence for its efficacy andskepticism about aspects criticized as being magical thinking. [11][12][13][14] Biodynamic agriculture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture1 of 1328.11.2013 20:34  Contents 1 History1.1 Geographic developments2 Biodynamic method of farming2.1 Biodynamic preparations2.1.1 Field preparations2.1.2 Compost preparations2.2 Planting calendar 2.3 Seed production3 Biodynamic certification4 Studies of efficacy4.1 Reviews4.2 Individual studies5 Criticism as pseudoscience6 See also7 References8 Further references9 External links History The development of biodynamic agriculture began in 1924 with a series of eight lectures on agriculturegiven by philosopher Rudolf Steiner at Schloss Koberwitz in Silesia, Germany, (now Kobierzyce in Polandsouthwest of Wrocław). [15][16]  The lectures, the first known to have been given on organic agriculture, [2] were held in response to a request by farmers who noticed degraded soil conditions and a deterioration in thehealth and quality of crops and livestock resulting from the use of chemical fertilizers. [17]  The one hundredeleven attendees, less than half of whom were farmers, came from six countries, primarily Germany andPoland. [2]  The lectures were published in November 1924; the first English translation appeared in 1928 as The Agriculture Course . [18] Steiner emphasized that the methods he proposed should be tested experimentally. An Association for Research in Anthroposophical Agriculture (Versuchsring anthroposophischer Landwirte), directed by theGerman agronomist Erhard Bartsch, was formed to test the effects of biodynamic methods on the life andhealth of soil, plants and animals; the group published a monthly journal  Demeter  . [8]  Bartsch was alsoinstrumental in developing a sales organisation for biodynamic products, Demeter, which still exists today.The Research Association was renamed The Imperial Association for Biodynamic Agriculture(Reichsverband für biologisch-dynamische Wirtschaftsweise) in 1933. It was dissolved by the NationalSocialist regime in 1941. In 1931 the association had 250 members in Germany, 109 in Switzerland, 104 inother European countries and 24 outside Europe. The oldest biodynamic farms are the Wurzerhof in Austriaand Marienhöhe in Germany. [19] In 1938, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's text  Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening   was published in five languages – English, Dutch, Italian, French, and German; this became the standard work in the field for severaldecades. [8]  In July 1939, at the invitation of Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne, Pfeiffer travelled to theUK and presented the 'Betteshanger Summer School and Conference on Biodynamic Farming' at Northbourne's farm in Kent. [20]  The conference has been described as the 'missing link' between biodynamicagriculture and organic farming because, in the year after Betteshanger, Northbourne published his Biodynamic agriculture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture2 of 1328.11.2013 20:34  manifesto of organic farming,  Look to the Land  , in which he coined the term 'organic farming' and praisedthe methods of Rudolf Steiner. [20]  In the 1950s, Hans Mueller was encouraged by Steiner's work to createthe organic-biological farming method in Switzerland; this later developed to become the largest certifier of organic products in Europe,  Bioland  . [5]:5 Today biodynamics is practiced in more than 50 countries worldwide and in a variety of circumstances,ranging from temperate arable farming, viticulture in France, cotton production in Egypt, to silkworm breeding in China. [1]:141  Germany accounts for nearly half of the world's biodynamic agriculture. [21] Demeter International is the primary certification agency for farms and gardens using the methods. Geographic developments In Australia the first biodynamic preparations were made by Ernesto Genoni in Melbourne in1927. [22]  Bob Williams presented the first public lecture in Australia on biodynamic agriculture on 26June 1938 at the home of the architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin atCastlecrag, Sydney. [23]  Since the 1950s research work has continued at the Biodynamic ResearchInstitute (BDRI) [24]  in Powelltown, near Melbourne Australia under the direction of AlexPodolinsky. [25]  In 1989 Biodynamic Agriculture Australia was established, as a not for profitassociation.In 1928 the  Anthroposophical Agricultural Foundation  was founded in England; [8]  this is now calledthe  Biodynamic Agriculture Association . In 1939, Britain's first biodynamic agriculture conference,the Betteshanger Summer School and Conference on Biodynamic Agriculture, was held at Lord Northbourne's farm in Kent; Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was the lead presenter. [26] In the United States, the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association was founded in 1938 as a New York state corporation.In France the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was formed in1972 with five founding members, one of which was the Swedish Biodynamic Association. [27] The University of Kassel had a Department of Biodynamic Agriculture from 2006 to March 2011. [28] Biodynamic method of farming In common with other forms of organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture uses management practices thatare intended to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. [3]  Central features include cropdiversification, the avoidance of chemical soil treatments and off-farm inputs generally, decentralized production and distribution, and the consideration of celestial and terrestrial influences on biologicalorganisms. [3][29]  The Demeter Association recommends that (a) minimum of ten percent of the total farmacreage be set aside as a biodiversity preserve. That may include but is not limited to forests, wetlands,riparian corridors, and intentionally planted insectaries. Diversity in crop rotation and perennial planting isrequired: no annual crop can be planted in the same field for more than two years in succession. Bare tillageyear round is prohibited so land needs to maintain adequate green cover. [30] The Demeter Association also recommends that the individual design of the land by the farmer, asdetermined by site conditions, is one of the basic tenets of biodynamic agriculture. This principleemphasizes that humans have a responsibility for the development of their ecological and socialenvironment which goes beyond economic aims and the principles of descriptive ecology. [1]:141–142  Crops,livestock, and farmer, and the entire socioeconomic environment form a unique interaction, which biodynamic farming tries to actively shape ...through a variety of management practices. The primeobjective is always to encourage healthy conditions for life : soil fertility, plant and animal health, and product quality. [1]:141–142   The farmer seeks to enhance and support the forces of nature that lead to healthycrops, and rejects farm management practices that damage the environment, soil plant, animal or human Biodynamic agriculture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture3 of 1328.11.2013 20:34  health....the farm is conceived of as an organism, a self-contained entity with its own individuality, [31]:148 holistically conceived and self-sustaining. [3]   Disease and insect control are addressed through botanicalspecies diversity, predator habitat, balanced crop nutrition, and attention to light penetration and airflow.Weed control emphasizes prevention, including timing of planting, mulching, and identifying and avoidingthe spread of invasive weed species. [30] Biodynamic agriculture differs from many forms of organic agriculture in its spiritual, mystical, andastrological orientation. It shares a spiritual focus, as well as its view toward improving humanity, with the nature farming movement in Japan. [5]:5  Important features include the use of livestock manures to sustain plant growth (recycling of nutrients), maintenance and improvement of soil quality, and the health and well being of crops and animals. [17]  Cover crops, green manures and crop rotations are used extensively and thefarms to foster the diversity of plant and animal life, and to enhance the biological cycles and the biologicalactivity of the soil. [3] Biodynamic farms often have a cultural component and encourage local community, both throughdeveloping local sales and through on-farm community building activities. Some biodynamic farms use theCommunity Supported Agriculture model, which has connections with social threefolding.Compared to non-organic agriculture, BD farming practices have been found to be more resilient toenvironmental challenges, to foster a diverse biosphere, and to be more energy efficient, factors EricLichtfouse describes being of increasing importance in the face of climate change, energy scarcity and population growth. [32] Biodynamic preparations Steiner prescribed nine different preparations to aid fertilization, and described how these were to be prepared. Steiner believed that these preparations mediated terrestrial and cosmic forces into the soil. [33]  The prepared substances are numbered 500 through 508, where the first two are used for preparing fieldswhereas the latter seven are used for making compost. A long term trial (DOK experiment) evaluating the biodynamic farming system in comparison with organic and conventional farming systems, found that bothorganic farming and biodynamic farming resulted in enhanced soil properties, but had lower yields thanconventional farming. Regarding compost development beyond accelerating the initial phase of composting,some positive effects have been noted: [10] The field sprays contain substances that stimulate plant growth include cytokinins.Some improvement in nutrient content of compost. Field preparations Field preparations, for stimulating humus formation: 500 : (horn-manure) a humus mixture prepared by filling the horn of a cow with cow manure and burying it in the ground (40–60 cm below the surface) in the autumn. It is left to decompose duringthe winter and recovered for use the following spring. 501 : Crushed powdered quartz prepared by stuffing it into a horn of a cow and buried into the groundin spring and taken out in autumn. It can be mixed with 500 but usually prepared on its own (mixtureof 1 tablespoon of quartz powder to 250 liters of water) The mixture is sprayed under very low pressure over the crop during the wet season, in an attempt to prevent fungal diseases. It should besprayed on an overcast day or early in the morning to prevent burning of the leaves.Both 500 and 501 are used on fields by stirring about one teaspoon of the contents of a horn in 40–60 litersof water for an hour, creating vortexes in alternate directions. Biodynamic agriculture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture4 of 1328.11.2013 20:34
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