A healthy, well-structured soil, rich in humus and high in biological activity is a prerequisite for any sustainable agricultural system.
Decades of experience with biodynamic methods in Australia have shown that these soil qualities can be promoted and degradation reversed by the correct application of biodynamic techniques.
Biodynamic practitioners seek to understand and work with the life processes as well as increase their understanding of the mineral processes used in conventional agriculture. Healthy soil is the essential basis for healthy plants, animals and people.
Biodynamic practices are of an organic nature, not relying on bringing artificial fertilizers on to the farm, although some organic or natural mineral fertilizer may be necessary during the establishment phase.
In Biodynamics we seek to enhance soil structure and nutrient cycles resulting in maximized plant growth and development, with the use of specific preparations that are made from farm-sourced materials.
These are the biodynamic preparations numbered 500 to 507 used in conjunction with established agricultural practices such as composting and manuring, crop and pasture rotations, tree planting, the integrated use of livestock, etc. As the name suggests, these preparations are designed to work directly with the dynamic biological processes and cycles, which are the basis of soil fertility.
Pest and disease control is generally managed by developing the farm as a total organism. However, biodynamic practitioners may make use of specific products for weed and pest control, which they make from the weeds and pests themselves. This practice is similar to homeopathic principles.
Weeds and pests are very useful indicators of imbalances in soil, plants and animals; the aim in the biodynamic practitioner's method is to use such indicators in a positive way.
The biodynamic preparations were developed out of indications given by Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924. They are not fertilizers themselves but greatly assist natural fertilizing processes such as compost and spreading of manure to add humus to soil. As such they only need to be used in very small quantities.