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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biodynamic Compost and Field Preparations: Effects on Crops and Soil Fertility

Authors
item Carpenter-Boggs, Lynne - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Reganold, John - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Kennedy, Ann

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 1999
Publication Date: January 1, 2000
Citation: Carpenter-Boggs, L., Reganold, J.P., and Kennedy, A.C. Biodynamic preparations: short-term effects on crops, soils and weed populations. Amer.J. Alter. Ag. 15-110-118. 2000.

Interpretive Summary: The biodynamic preparations are fermented herbs and minerals, used in very small amounts as additions to compost and as field sprays on biodynamic farms. These agricultural products have not previously been subjected to field testing under scientific guidelines. Compost that had been treated with the six biodynamic compost preparations did not have different fertilizer value or otherwise affect crops differently than compost that had not been treated with the biodynamic preparations. Three separate biodynamic preparations are used as homeopathic field sprays. These sprays had a variety of small effects on the crops' chemical makeup. In one year of the study the soil of sprayed plots had a higher level of ammonium. These effects were sporadic, but may suggest that the sprays affect crop physiology or soil microbial processes. This research will impact farmers who use the biodynamic preparations, farmers who are considering using the preparations, and extension agents who may advise farmers on the preparations.

Technical Abstract: Biodynamic preparations were investigated in field trials. Treatments represented a 4 x 2 factorial design of fertilizers and field sprays. Biodynamic compost, nonbiodynamic compost, mineral NPK fertilizers, and no fertilizer were tested with and without the biodynamic field sprays. Results in soil chemical parameters, crop yield, and crop quality parameters after 2 years of study showed no difference between soils or crops fertilized with biodynamic compost or nonbiodynamic compost. Use of biodynamic field sprays was correlated with lower carbon and crude protein contents and higher grain yield per unit biomass in lentils in the first year of study. In the second year, plots sprayed with biodynamic field sprays had lower nitrate content in wheat and higher soil ammonium than unsprayed plots. Effects of biodynamic field sprays may warrant further research.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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