All biodynamic farmers and growers practice organic methods of production, and share very similar certification standards. Both also share similar aims and ideals, but biodynamics has metaphysical and spiritual roots that organics does not.
It is this that makes biodynamics distinctively different in both its approach to agriculture, and its farming practices.
There are some farming methods that are specific to biodynamic agriculture, some of these are detailed below:
Cows have horns
Dehorning cattle is forbidden in biodynamic (Demeter) standards; cows that are born with horns keep their horns and are encouraged to lead a naturally healthy lifestyle. Read more about why this is important here
The use of biodynamic herbal and mineral preparations to improve the health and vitality of soil, compost and crops is unique to biodynamic farming. Biodynamic preparations are uniquely fermented natural remedies that play a pivotal role in successful biodynamic production. There are nine remedies in total, all with different properties, characteristics, and uses, please see below for more detail. They are often made by biodynamic practitioners, but can be bought ready made from our online shop, and which include instructions on how to use them. They are inexpensive and available to everyone to try. In some areas it is also possible to join a local group, who make and share them to use in their own gardens.
Sowing and planting calendar
Though not obligatory, a biodynamic astronomical calendar is often consulted to help assess optimum times for sowing, planting etc. Read more about the calendar below.
The use of antibiotics
In common with organic farming, the use of antibiotics is strictly regulated, and routine and prophylactic use of antibiotics is prohibited. This is in stark contrast to conventional industrialized and intensive farming systems, where routine and overuse of antibiotics is now acknowledged to significantly contribute to the widespread antimicrobial resistance that increasingly threatens human health. Our approach goes further. We believe that domesticated animals, are sentient beings, who deserve our respect and the best health and welfare care possible. We achieve this through humane management practices which mirror natural rhythms: constant observation, and careful selection of appropriate breeds, feeds and shelter form the basis of biodynamic husbandry. Organic, homeopathic, herbal extracts, and other natural remedies are used in preference to antibiotics. However, in justified cases of illness, and where deemed necessary to prevent suffering, antibiotics are permitted. As a safeguard to human health, withdrawal times for animals receiving antibiotics are three times that of conventional farming before the animal is allowed into the food chain. The health and vitality of our stock is, and always will be, paramount . We believe our approach ensures maximum health and well- being for our livestock, borne out by the daily experience of biodynamic farmers. Mitigating the use for the need of antibiotics, thus keeping their use to a minimum, benefits the well- being of our animals, and helps ensure their efficacy for future generations.
Biodynamic preparations are uniquely fermented natural remedies and play a pivotal role in successful biodynamic farming and growing. There are 9 preparations in total, all with different properties, characteristics, and uses.
They are used to encourage humus forming processes in the soil; enliven and increase the microbial soil population; vitalise plant growth; and to harmonise life processes with that of its immediate and more distant surroundings. Their effects are primarily subtle and qualitative but profoundly important There are two main types: