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Biodynamic agriculture is one of the founding trends of organic farming. As early as the early 1920s, farmers were concerned about phenomena such as the degeneration of cultivated plants, the loss of herd fertility or the decline in food quality. They then called upon Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian philosopher and scientist known for being the founder of Anthroposophy, a current of thought that incorporated the psychic and spiritual components of the world into his scientific approach. Rudolf Steiner then gave a series of eight lectures in 1924 known as the Farmers' Course, where he laid the theoretical and practical foundations of this agriculture which seeks to grasp the deep nature of the land, plants and animals for work with respect for them.

It aims to be global, with a strong quest for autonomy, and a work with all the elements and forces of nature. The crucial role of observer allows everyone to apply concrete measures on their farm that are tailored to their needs. These are good agronomic and biological practices, but can also be more specific to biodynamics: biodynamic preparations, herbal teas, respect for cosmic rhythms and nature…

The essential aspect of biodynamics is the use of preparations to stimulate the processes of life in soil and plants. These biodynamic preparations, made from medicinal plants, cow dung or quartz crystals, are used at homeopathic doses for their energetic action, with convincing effects on the composting process, soil structuring, the health of cultivated plants as well as the food and taste quality of the products obtained

La bouse de corne (préparation 500)

is the result of the maturation of cow dung in a cow horn, buried in the soil, throughout the winter period. Aimed at the ground, this preparation promotes life and amplifies the composition of a lumpy structure. It promotes deep root growth (growth force). It also promotes the link between the plant and the soil (sensitivity forces). As a result, crops become more resistant to dry periods and bind strongly to their "terroir"

Bouse corne préparée (préparation 500P)

Originally produced and tested by Alex Podolinski in Australia, prepared horn dung (500 P) is horn dung (500) in which the six preparations usually used for compost have been added using a particular process. It can be used in place of traditional horn dung to apply the six specific preparations of compost where it is little or not used. Prepared horn dung (500P) has proven its worth in both large crops, grassland cultivation, market gardening, arboriculture, and viticulture and it is desirable to use it wherever possible. It replaces, in a single pass, the triple spread of dung compost followed by a spray of "simple horn dung".

La silice de corne (préparation 501)

is particularly aimed at the aerial part of the plants (differentiation force). It is obtained by a long maturation of silica powder in a cow horn, buried in the soil during the summer. The spraying of horn silica acts as a surplus of sunlight for plants. It makes plants more sensitive to subtle influences of the cosmos, promotes photosynthesis and has a positive effect on colors, flavors and aromas. It slows down too much luxuriance and promotes the structure of plants that become more resistant to diseases, especially cryptogamic diseases. It also improves the maturation and preservation of fruits and vegetables.

These preparations are brewed (energized) in the water for an hour before being sprayed, on the ground in large drops for the 500 and 500P, as a fine fog for the 501. Like homeopathic medicine, the quantities used are very small: a hundred grams in a volume of 30 to 50 liters of water per hectare for horn dung; 4 grams per hectare only for horn silica.

Compost preparations

Heae composting with the contribution of biodynamic compost preparations is an important practice for biodynamicists. These six preparations are made from medicinal plants:

Préparation d’achillée millefeuille (502)

It plays a special role in the mobility of sulphur and potash

La préparation d’écorce de chêne (505)

It has to do with calcium and regulates plant diseases due to proliferation and exuberance.

Bouse coLa préparation de camomille matricaire (503)

It is linked to calcium metabolism, it regulates the nitrogen process.

La préparation de pissenlit (506)

Among other things, it plays an important role with regard to silic acid.

La préparation d’ortie (504)

nitrogen and iron, it reinforces the influence of the first two preparations. It gives the compost and soil a kind of sensitivity and promotes good humification.

La silice La préparation de valériane (507)

It helps the mobility of phosphorus in soils and forms a kind of protective heat mantle around the compost, a skin essential to any organism.

In the Farmer's Course, Rudolf Steiner emphasizes extensively the influence of the cosmic periphery on the life of plants and animals. It evokes solar and lunar influences, but also talks about those of other planets in the solar system, as well as more distant influences from the zodiac.
There is a well-known physical dimension of these influences: it is the gravitational pull exerted on Earth by the Sun and moon: it is this force that causes the tides and also acts on the dynamics of sap currents in the plant.
However, the influences (or forces) that are being tried to use in biodynamics are not only physical in nature. The Moon and the planets act on one side on the development and growth of plants, and on the other hand on their maturation and their ability to reproduce. As for the distant influences of the zodiac, they are more related to the animal world (as the name suggests: zoo-diaque – circle of animals) and to the processes of individualization and evolution over the long course.
Following Steiner, several researchers (mainly Lily Kolisko, Hartmut Spiss, Maria Thun, Ernst Zurich) have been interested in these phenomena and have been able to establish links between the different cosmic rhythms and the processes of life: germination, growth and development, differentiation, flowering, fruiting, etc.). In practice, these observations are translated into "planting schedules", with practical indications for the various agricultural works: periods of planting, planting or tillage, favourable times for pruning, harvesting or even winemaking and all agri-food processing (bread, cheese, etc.).