Today, various concepts and practices are actively developing to improve the sustainability of agriculture. Farmers and other participants of agribusiness are looking for solutions, including a variety of farming software, to help them use resources more accurately, make better decisions and reduce their environmental impact.
Biodynamic methods of horticulture and farming provide an opportunity to establish a symbiotic relationship with the soil. Biodynamic farming assumes that the natural strength of the ground will be taken into account when growing crops. An essential part of this concept is also a biologically harmonious farm environment and efficient farm management.
The organic movement emerged in the first half of the 20th century. It was connected with the industrialization of agriculture and the use of synthetic fertilizers. Biodynamic agriculture originated in 1924.
This concept was born out of a series of lectures by the Austrian philosopher and social reformer Rudolf Steiner. While farmers were concerned about the negative influence of nitrogen fertilization on soil health, Steiner proposed several principles and methods for sustainable farming. Thanks to the followers of his ideas, joint research, observation, and implementation of new practices began to be carried out. Thus, biodynamic agriculture developed.
Biodynamic agricultural practices involve the elimination of chemical fertilizers, which contribute to increasing soil fertility. An important point is the consideration of biological organisms since they are necessary for the health of the soil. Crop rotation and cover crop cultivation are also included in the list of essential procedures.
Maintaining ecological balance is also of great importance. A portion of the farmland is allocated for various activities, including waterlogging. Farmers also maintain insect habitats to maintain environmental balance. The principles of biodynamic agriculture aim to connect humans to the earth to care for the environment.
In addition, biodynamic agriculture includes the input of specialized preparations. A mixture of highly diluted substances is made to oxygenate and disperse the active ingredients. They have to be mixed for an hour, and then they are applied to the ground and crops.
The preparations include several types of manure, with which fields and compost are treated. The waste is collected in the fall and then converted, especially into peat chips. Funds are applied to the soil in the morning. The biodynamic spray contains bacteria and fungi, which contributes to an increase in soil fertility.
Differences between organic and biodynamic
In the UK, you need to obtain a special certificate for biodynamic accreditation, which means complying with specific environmental regulations set by the EU. Then you need to go through a two-year conversion period. During this period, it is necessary to activate the growth of crops and improve the properties of the soil through the introduction of several mineral and herbal preparations.
While farmers have observed and recorded improvements in soil conditions, more research is needed as well. Long-term field studies by FiBL show that the concept is effective. For 21 years, the state of the soil under the conditions of the biodynamic farming system remained stable.
Farmers using biodynamic methods carry out various procedures, including cultivating the soil, based on a calendar. The biodynamic calendar was developed over 60 years ago, and it includes the constellations and alignment of the planets. The growers who use biodynamics methods also associate field events with astronomical factors, and they also use the lunar calendar when planting and growing crops. The use of a calendar is optional to obtain certification.
Biodynamic farming is a way to achieve sustainable agriculture in the long term. One of the main distinguishing features of this practice is eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers to improve the quality of the soil. Farmers using these methods receive special certificates. In the UK, this is the certificate of the Demeter Association. Certification is only available if the farm meets several requirements. Biodynamic farming involves specific animal husbandry practices, tillage procedures, and post-harvest tillage and greenhouse management.
Many farmers also use a unique biodynamic calendar, focusing on different phases of the moon and other astronomical factors. However, using this calendar is not a prerequisite, especially when it comes to obtaining a certificate. Long-term research has shown that biodynamic farming practices are effective, and this efficiency is expressed in a stable soil condition.
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