Biodynamic Association Farm Services is a new service being offered in order to support those wishing to further Organic and Biodynamic related land work in the UK.
This is in response to meeting a growing need for solidarity for the producer licensee community and to offer support and technical know-how for farmers and growers who wish to convert their land to biodynamic and organic management. In addition to one-to-one assistance we aim to offer themed workshops and seminars on a range of themes and facilitate opportunities for licensees to meet and discuss around a common focus. We also are able to offer a whole farm planning service for those who might be considering a transition to Biodynamics or Organics.
Whether you are an old hand, new entrant or considering a move to biodynamic or organic certification, we are here to help
Dan Powell (right) joined the BDA team as Farm Services Development Manager in 2020.
He has spent his whole adult life immersed in farming and the countryside, starting off as a farm apprentice nearly 40 years ago on a well-known Biodynamic Farm in Sussex. Since then, Dan has gained both practical and academic experience across Europe and the UK and on a diverse selection of farms, before moving into farm consultancy.
Exclusive Producer Licensee Offer for 2021!
To get a flavour of the quality and range of support that is now available, the Biodynamic Association is excited to offer free to our new and existing licensees, a selection of services of equivalent value to one half day (1 credit) of advisory time.
Each service (see below) is a stand alone service you can mix and match your selection depending on your requirements. If you have requirements for services not listed below or exceed the 1 credit offer then please contact Farm Services to discuss. This offer is only available to be used during 2021 while resources allow, so be quick and get in touch while it’s still available!
Soil Testing and Interpretation
The objective of biodynamic and organic land care is the development of a healthy living soil. You are the most influential ingredient in reaching this goal. Testing your soils for key biological, physical and chemical indicators will yield valuable information when, interpreted correctly, can help you make informed decisions on how to manage your soil. These results can also help build a picture to monitor your progress over time,
1. Active carbon test. Value: 6 samples = 0.5 day
Also known as Permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC), is a soil fertility indicator that can be used to measure impact of soil fertility interventions. Active carbon consists of the available portion of Soil Organic Matter (SOM), of which carbon is the backbone. The labile (bio-available) pool of carbon is primarily influenced by ‘new’ organic matter (originating from plants and/or animals) contributed annually and has a significant role in microbial nitrogen turnover and supply. SOM enhances water-holding capacity of soils, feeds soil life that binds soil particles together, and enhances the storage of plant nutrients in soils, so that the active fraction of soil carbon measured by this test is linked to many ecological functions of the soil.
2. Broad Spectrum Xtra Value: 3 samples = 1 credit
This is a comprehensive soil test giving results on the following mix of chemical and physical parameters: P K Ca Mg S B Cu Fe Mn Mo Zn Na CEC, pH, Lime Req. Organic Matter, Sand % Silt % Clay %, Soil Texture Classification. This is more suited when a new piece of land is being taken on, or where more intensive cropping rotations are planned such as in a market garden situation.
3. Broad spectrum + Biological test. Value: 2 samples = 1 credit
As for Broad spectrum Xtra but with these added biological parameters: CO2 Respiration, Microbial Biomass, C:N Ratio, PMN*, Soil Assessment Score. * Potential mineralizable nitrogen
All the above soil tests are suitable for all licensees and include an interpretation (sample reports can be supplied). The services include sample postage in supplied envelopes, OR courier collection for more than 6 samples. Please contact Farm Services for advice on sampling procedure. A full list of available services supplied upon request.
Licensee Advisory Support
1. Whole farm Assesment Value: 1 credit
The biodynamic and organic farm should be aiming to be as self sufficient as possible with respect to fertility, seed, feed and livestock. This service offers an assessment of the farm/holding and its strength with respect to it self sufficiency or its capability to operate as an organism. The proportion of livestock to cropping, type of livestock, dependency on outside resources and existence of “wild” places on the farm are all taken into account. An assessment of potential changes required to “close the loop” are then made. This service is ideal for those taking on a new farm/holding or looking at converting an existing holding over to biodynamic or organic management. It will form the basis for a more in depth process that will aid in moving from current system to a future scenario.
2. Certification Support Value: 1 credit = 3.5 hours
This service specifically looks at certification issues that concern licensees. It can be conducted (currently) via telephone or teleaudio (eg zoom) or via e-mail and focuses on interpretation of certification and queries arising from an annual inspection. The certification team cannot offer advice within their inspectorate and regulatory responsibilities so the BDA is offering this bespoke and confidential service to licensees without compromising existing certification rules. Please contact farm services to discuss your needs and situation.
3. General Licensee Support Services. 1 credit = 3.5 hours
Only 15% of farmers actually use off farm advice. We believe that this is largely due to cost and perceived value. This service offers licensees the opportunity to use advisory support focusing on any area of their biodynamic or organic business. This is not a service that offers all the answers but rather it offers a friendly outside perspective on a particular issue that the farmer or grower is currently facing or considering embarking on. As examples it could be changes to an enterprise mix, a new market or investment opportunity or examining opportunities related to current or future funding or financial support available.
4. Biodyamic preparation support 1 credit = 3.5 hours
This service offers support in sourcing, practical use and storage of the Biodynamic spray and compost preparations. This can be used with other licensees and would ideally lead to an on-going local support group where licensees can exchange experience and practice in the use of the preparations.