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Evidence for biodynamic agriculture

 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 2001
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I have started to experiment with various aspects of biodynamic gardening. I don't pretend to really understand it well, but I'm having an open mind.  Several people on this site and others spend a great deal of time and energy ridiculing biodynamics.  Some have decided that it can't work. I realize that it is a complicated system, and some people are amazingly uncomfortable with systems that have parts that can't be established under double blind controlled studies.  They often state that there is no evidence that it works, and proudly walk away.  I have found parts of  it to work in my experience. I realize that what I'm experiencing is not research. Here is some from Washington State University. This is from ATTRA, the sustainable research newsletter part of the USDA:

Research at WSU
by Dr. Lynn Carpenter-Boggs and Dr. John
Reganold found that biodynamic compost
preparations have a significant effect on compost
and the composting process (7). Biodynamically
treated composts had higher temperatures,
matured faster, and had higher nitrates than
control compost piles inoculated with field soil
instead of the preparations. The WSU research is
unique for two reasons: it was the first
biodynamic compost research undertaken at a
land-grant university, and it demonstrated that
biodynamic preparations are not only effective,
but effective in homeopathic quantities.
A summary of this research can be found on the
USDA-Agriculture Research Service's Tektran
Website at:
Effects of Biodynamic Preparations on Compost
Development
www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/tektran/data/
000009/06/0000090623.html

In my view, if even the big ag centered USDA is willing to admit that there is something going on in biodynamic agriculture, we are very narrow minded if we dismiss it out of hand. John S
PDX OR
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 670
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
7
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That link doesn't work, and I couldn't find the study when I searched that site.
 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 2001
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Thanks Todd,
Let's see if this link works better.

http://www.demeter-usa.org/downloads/Demeter-Science-Biodynamic-Farming-&-Compost.pdf

 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 2001
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It describes the studies on pages 5 and 6. Although USDA no longer shows the studies (industry pressure?) Wsu shows some consideration of biodynamic agriculture under the general heading of sustainable agriculture, but doesn't show the study either.    I'm glad I found the newsletter.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 2001
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The link is from 1999, so they may not keep links from that far back, especially if they were partyin' like its 1999.
John S
PDX OR
 
chip sanft
Posts: 354
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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That first study, published in 2000, is available in its original form online, here:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241681900_Effects_of_Biodynamic_Preparations_on_Compost_Development

For what it's worth, it doesn't appear to have been a government publication but rather a journal (meaning peer reviewed, meaning better). Its abstract is unambiguous: "Biodynamic preparations thus effected discernible changes in compost chemical and microbial parameters."

My quick search turned up another article by the original authors plus a few others published in 2010:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20202833

That listing gives the abstract and publication information. You have to have access to PubMed (or maybe other databases) through a library or similar system to see the article, but the abstract is pretty definitive: they found "greater microbial activity in BD-treated compost" in the study.


Interesting stuff!
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