Astral has to do with nitrogen and animal activity

Question from Dan Mangum:

I have been using biodynamic preps (including the 3 Kings) and I am getting an increasing amount of insect/pollinator diversity and quantity. I had problems with yellow jackets eating the cherries but after balancing the soil and trees that has subsided. This year I have a LOT of songbirds and such, including new varieties. But now the birds really took a toll on the cherries. Is this because of unseen insects? Is there some soil imbalance? Is it just the price of having birds? Do you have any ideas?

Answer from Kym Green:

We had huge issues with rainbow lorikeets that arrived on Christmas Day 2013 on our apples. We had all of our 20 kilometre of nets deployed on our cherry trees in harvest. The weather had been exceedingly hot and dry for Spring and Summer— strong astral forces. I decided to make a homeopathic reagent based on biodynamic preparations that work mainly on the soil — etheric forces, to balance the atmosphere. I used my Rogers radionics instrument, and Malcolm Rae bd cards that Hugh made. I made remedies — horn manure, chamomile, yarrow, all at 20c, Also oakbark, stinging nettle at 30c. Combined the 2 and broadcast. The birds moved away from our orchards into 2 days. Our neighbour was inundated!!! I have had birds since but not been as successful in moving them off like I did that year. Hope this helps!

Answer from Hugh Lovel:

I’m glad to hear Kym use the word astral, as this is an important concept. But what does astral mean? What distinguishes it from the etheric?

Astral has to do with nitrogen and animal activity. Birds are astral beings, but so also are bugs and worms in the soil, or even protozoa. It is the astral activity–particularly the manuring–that feeds the trees with the lime minerals and the nitrogen compounds plants need for growth. So there is astrality in the canopy with the birds eating the fruits, and astrality around the roots of the plants chewing away at the soil food web and feeding it to the trees with their gift of fruits to the astrality in the canopy. The intense warmth that was occurring is etheric, as warmth, light, tone and life are etheric and have to do with plant activity. Oxygen carries the etheric activity, and this oxygen, basic to chemistry rather than astrality, paves the way for engaging nitrogen. It frees up or activates the soil’s mineral complex. The yarrow preparation is intensely astral. It is made out of flowers packed into the bladder of a male deer, which is an extremely sensitive animal aware of its surroundings. Yarrow is an herb associated with the nitrogen excretions of the kidney bladder system and it is associated with the planet Venus, which as the planet closest to the earth and is the planet of affinity. It helps the body shed nitrogen that has fallen out of the living process, keeping the chemical equilibrium of the blood shifted toward the living amino phase instead of the uric acid/salt phase. But it is just this uric acid chemistry that frees up potassium in the soil to be taken up at the roots of plants to build–with the help of sulphur, which locks the potassium in place to form the fibrous transport system that carries nutrients up into plant growth and fruiting. The yarrow, using stationary sulphur’s connection to the widest circumference, engages mobile potassium with immobile silica to form plant stalks tough and make the plant strong. The chromatogram of the yarrow preparation shows extremely strong peripheral silica forces. The old wiccans used to use yarrow stalks to make their ‘brooms’ that carried them on their nightly astral flights, and yarrow stalks are used for divination using the I Ching–also an astral activity. The chamomile preparation, working with digestion and absorption of proteins works more with Mercury, carbon and the solid life ether where yarrow works with Venus, silica and the soluble chemical ether. The nettle preparation, which works with the heart and blood, the ego, identity and the sun is involved in the whole works, and is the most intensely astral of them all, the richest in protein (36%) and the most awareness provoking. It supports the other two and really may be the main thing that mirrors the bird’s astrality and scares them away. Then, lastly the oak bark preparation, working with the moon and reflecting the nettle’s intense light ether, keeps oxidation of amino acids in the living realm so the oxygen activity of the chemical ether is not so strong that the astral nitrogen compounds break down to the nitrate form. Between the yarrow and the oak bark astral nitrogen compounds are kept in the living phase or else excreted into the soil to activate potassium to carry amorphous fluid silica into the capillaries of plant’s xylem that hold up the plant. This could all combine to make the astrality within the fruits so intense it repels the astral (bird) activity surrounding the plant and its fruits. This should repel insects too.

I want to ponder how one might tweak this recipe further. Right off, I think I would like to include the horsetail decoction (BD 508) to ensure potassium silicate availability. And you’d want to prepare in advance by keeping/feeding the soil food web to be strong and robust. If you come out of a long, wet period in the preceding spring this might not work so well.

How to use radionics for your farm

Setting Up an Agricultural Enterprise


By Hugh Lovel


At The Start

  1. Plan

Part of this mix is maps, soil tests and a wide range of studies to fund the imagination and attainment of skills. The other part is inspiration, desire and initiative.

  1. Build that most important capital item–soil fertility and robust ecology.

This comes first and it isn’t even on any balance sheet. Yet, it is the most important asset of every agricultural enterprise. Enjoy a big chuckle while writing off input expenses and hiding investment gains from appraisers and tax collectors. Other infrastructure like roads, fencing, hydrology, buildings, machinery and livestock are secondary and should come along later. Since we are in the IT age, couple this with the old adage, ‘Observation is the Basis of Intelligence.’


An Outline of Priorities

0.0. To use your resources to their fullest requires knowing what you’ve got and what you don’t have. As part of the examination process before buying a new property, do a comprehensive soil test, such as the Quantum Soil Analysis, which involves both soluble and total tests. Of course you may inherit land or this might come after putting money down and signing a bit of paperwork, but the principle should be clear.

1.1. Go to Google Earth and download an aerial map of the property.

1.2. Draw the boundaries carefully around it.

1.3. Apply a full complement of Biodynamic Preparations to kick off the life processes.

Recommendations can be confusing about how to apply a biodynamic program. There are many options and hardly anyone agrees. At the risk of offending the orthodox, traditional, fearful and only-one-right-way folks, I would stick my aerial map of the area with its property boundaries and an intent written on it in my radionic instrument and start radionically applying a biodynamic preparation complex using quantum non-locality and entanglement. Stirring and spraying, putting up a Field Broadcaster, putting preparations in irrigation water and ‘Tea Bags’ in all the water troughs, putting small vials of preps at strategic energy intersections and holding prep burial and retrieval parties all tend to take a lot more doing and can come later.

For those new to radionics who don’t have a radionic instrument, print out a copy of the map, draw the boundaries on it and inscribe the following formula of intent:

“If it be Thy will, let the powers of nature converge to increase and enhance the beneficial energies and transform any detrimental energies into beneficial ones, within the boundaries as marked, for now and in the future, for as long as is appropriate, in deep gratitude, Amen.” 

Laminate this map and paint on it some stirred Earth Legacy Field Activator (a complex of all the biodynamic preparations in one easy-to-use formula.)*

Along with the map, Google search ‘radionic projection wheel’ and download the image file. Print off a projection wheel and laminate it. Find a spot with good, healthy warmth and light. Place the laminated map on top of the Projection Wheel and say the intentional prayer “If it be Thy will . . . .” If dowsers prefer they can check for the appropriateness of the spot, when best to begin and how long to continue.

Projecting the influences of the biodynamic preparations via the aerial map launches a paper radionic program, which works on the fluid dynamic principle that a microscopic change at a point can effect large scale changes in the medium. According to the definition section in my early book, A Biodynamic Farm, I would call this sympathetic magic or sympathetic vibratory physics. Paradoxically if one doubts that this works then it won’t. Otherwise this works wonderfully well.

1.4. Study the lay of the land as thoroughly as possible. Existing watercourses, roads, fences, wooded and cleared areas, rock outcropping and wind-swept ridges, all are important features of the asset base. Water flows downhill and soil tends to follow, while warmth and air flow upward. A topographical map, oriented north south so you know the path of the Sun, will get you started; but you have to apply this to laying out the property. Get P. A. Yoeman’s book Water For Every Farm and do your best to keyline your property so you catch and conserve all the water you can. Get help if you need it.

Hydrogen the principle component of water, is the gateway to organization and organization is the basis of life. Keep in mind that life arises at boundaries. (That’s why it is key to draw the boundary around the property on the map.) As the smallest element, hydrogen is almost all surface and virtually no content. As a feature of nature this is very special, as a surface is a boundary and plenty of hydrogen maximizes boundaries. Hydrogen is the gateway to life. Life is all in the activity rather than the substance. Since hydrogen comes first, have a care to conserving, managing and using it well.

1.5. Diversity of species gets a lot of dynamic synergy going, which is what feeds soil fertility and builds ecological bounty. Synergy involves a mathematics not taught in most schools, since in a living, dynamic system 10 plus 10 can add up to 25 or 30. In most math classes that is a flunk, but in an agricultural enterprise this is meat, potatoes and gravy. A diverse soil cover is the beginning of synergy—so cover all bare spots—if not with plants, with some sort of mulch to create habitat for soil animals.

1.6. Maximize biomass production.

This is the plant side of things. Gabe Brown in North Dakota, one of the most inhospitable places to farm in the USA, is a great example for us all, as is Colin Seis in NSW. The rule of thumb here is, ‘export no more than 8% of your total biomass production if you want your asset base to grow’. Selling off hay, for example, is not a good idea. Selling meat, milk, pumpkins or apples generally is a good idea if we don’t buy in to the toxic chemical/soluble fertilizer death and fear rubbish. Let life thrive and watch closely. It has a wonderous way of sorting itself out.

1.7. Maximize digestive activity. This is the animal side of things. Most important is the protozoa, the smallest animal life in the soil. (Don’t forget the hydrogen in water or the fact that life arises at boundaries.) These microscopic animals move about at the finest level, and a thriving ecosystem requires robust protozoal activity working at the surfaces of soil particles where warmth, air, water and life meet solid substance. Ants, earthworms, cows, bees, eagles and everything in between should be taken into account—a huge diversity.

Also consider mowing or grazing summer and winter vegetation at the peak of its biomass productivity, and laying it down on top of the next season’s seeds. This is a digestive activity that sets the stage to maximize biomass production.

On the other hand, consider mechanical cultivation. Though this too is a digestive activity, it devastates the soil food web while aerating and exposing the surfaces of soil particles to the warmth and air, sometimes in the absence of water and life. Use cultivation with care. High populations of the smallest animal life in the soil does the job at the finest level and does it better.

1.8. Fertility inputs from outside the property—if they are the right ones—can be a big multiplier. Base your inputs and amounts on comprehensive soil testing and the biological sequence of importance of what has to be functional before the next thing kicks in. From this viewpoint, even in the most compacted soils, sulfate exposes the surfaces of soil particles to oxygen. After all, sulfate is SO4= which, as a soluble ion with four oxygens that travels with water everywhere. Water, of course, carries oxygen. This tends to be the source of corrosion in anaerobic water-logged soils. Sulfate, on the other hand, carries useable, surplus oxygen. That and a little humic acid, kicks off the life processes. Then boron, silica (mostly made available at the surfaces of soil particles) and lime precede the utilization of nitrogen, which is 78% of the air we breathe.

Also, just so you know, it’s a relatively rare soil that doesn’t have significant reserves of magnesium, phosphorous, trace minerals and potassium, but it does happen. A total test will give the true picture here. Anything deficient in the soluble test may indeed be needed to ‘prime the pump’ so that access to soil reserves can occur. It helps to add compost, raw humates or refined humic acids along with inputs such as gypsum, lime, rock phosphate and sea minerals—especially boron. This feeds the inputs to the soil food web.

1.9. Keep records.

The doing has to come first, but keeping track of the doing facilitates feedback to see what is working and how. This is essential for fine tuning the enterprise. Remember, this is the IT age. Establish GPS points for such things as taking pictures, soil test sites, spreading fertilizers, planting trees, measuring areas and elevations, mapping resources, siting buildings and fences, etc. Feed this data stream into a computer program that can correlate the data. This is important for future planning as well as documentary background for interaction with others in the fields of science, education, finance, law, politics, community planning and social interaction.




In Sum

It helps that a few of us here and there know the methods and benefits of building a holistic, living system, but the vast majority of folks do not. We need to enroll them in this kind of restorative agricultural agenda before the wider world flushes the toilet. Then we’ll see.


*In Australia this can be obtained by contacting Biodynamic Agriculture Australia (BAA), +61 (0)2 6655 0566. In New Zealand go to BD Max, which sells an even easier to use homeopathic complex under the name Etherics 1000. Quantum Agriculture also is preparing to market a homeopathic 8x version of all the preps called Ecology Activator. Other sources of biodynamic preparations exist elsewhere throughout the world.

Hugh Lovel is a farmer, scientist and teacher of Quantum Agriculture. Author of A Biodynamic Farm and Quantum Agriculture, his articles appear in ACRES, Australia and News Leaf, the Journal of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia (BAA). When in Australia he and his wife, Shabari Bird, reside in Wiangaree, NSW and can be reached at 02 6636 2274.



The Discovery of Horn Clay and Biodynamics

By Hugh Lovel

With thousands of lectures and uncounted insights Rudolf Steiner launched anthroposophy as a study of human wisdom. With extraordinary learning in both the classics and modern science, Steiner combined his immense erudition with innate clear seeing gifts to forge a vision of the world that at once was both spiritual and scientific.

This was an awesome, overwhelming act for others to follow. To date it would be hard to find a more thoroughgoing response to the need for a scientific world view with soul, purpose and wisdom. Unfortunately, it is characteristic of such figures and movements that a core of orthodox adherents develops which ossifies into a cult of true believers unable to think for themselves, dependent upon quotation from scriptures. Biodynamic agriculture, which grew out of Rudolf Steiner¹s work, has not escaped some measure of this. For one thing Steiner’s insights, even though more than 75 years old, are still ahead of our universities.

In lecture two of his agriculture course, Steiner touched on the importance of clay as a mediator between the lime and silica poles of nature. He emphasized clay’s primary role in conducting the silica forces, which develop deep within the earth, upward for plant development towards fruit and seed. No matter how else clay is described or what we do to make it fertile–all is of secondary importance. The important thing is clay promotes the upward stream associated with silica.

Needless to say this is revolutionary thinking. Soil testing only measures the extent clay acts as a reservoir of nutrients. After testing the soil, we may apply lime and other nutrients, but the key question really is how to move these nutrients upward to the fruit. What moves the nutrients is the silica stream, with clay as the conductor. Reading Steiner’s agriculture shows he had encyclopaedic knowledge and insight to share–with very limited time to share them. He could only hit the high spots, going on to the next insight and the next.

He said in lecture two that later he would give recommendations for treating clay to better conduct the growth forces welling out of the earth. However, later he failed to do so. We know he meant to give a second agriculture course, but he fell ill and died without doing this. So for 75 years biodynamic agriculture proceeded with horn manure (BD 500) and horn silica (BD 501) but no horn clay. Steiner didn’t give enough indications, so who knew how to pack the horns or use the finished horn clay? Characteristic of the paralysis of true believer cults, little was done by experiment.

With changing a light bulb, it is clear that a minimum of one, though possibly under some conditions more, persons are necessary. And experiments could determine how many are required under what conditions. With making and using horn clay things are similarly clear cut. Experiments could have proceeded at any time. Now after 75 years they have. The results are most interesting.

“Let me remark here that if we are dealing with a soil that does not carry these influences upward during the winter as it should, it is good to furnish that soil with some clay, the dosage of which I will indicate later.” –Rudolf Steiner

My first experience with biodynamic horn clay was at Michael Topolos’ winery in Forestville, California. This merlot vineyard adjoined a busy two lane highway, with pollution near the road. WE applied Horn clay here as part of a back-to-back sequence of all of the BD preps, and a belt of selected plants were established at the boundary by the road.

More than twenty years of biodynamics makes me aware of subtle nuances. What I perceived at the roadside was gas, oil, rubber and asbestos. What I perceived stepping down into the vineyard below the road was soil, foliage and ripe grapes. Just a couple steps made a remarkable difference. Up on the road I could see in my mind’s eye a protective membrane enveloping the vineyard. The difference between being within this membrane and being outside was like the difference between life and death.

The horn clay created a dome, like a plastic greenhouse covering, which enveloped the entire vineyard and protected its biodynamic energies. All of the BD preps held together and worked in concert. Though this vineyard was only a few years biodynamic, this was best interaction of the preps I had ever seen including that on my own farm.

From then on I knew I must investigate horn clay beyond my philosophical discussions with Hugh Courtney and Harvey Lisle. We took the contemplation of horn clay into use. With horn manure and horn silica we only had the up and down forces with no middle, no coordination holding things together. Clay is that glue. With horn clay plants not only work into the atmosphere–they are held there to fruit and ripen. Moreover, with horn clay the soil is stimulated to better receive what works back into it when digestion occurs.

Horn clay goes to the very basis of how and why biodynamics works. Back when Rudolf Steiner gave his agricultural lectures in 1924 he emphasized the importance of clay as conducting the silica factor welling up from deep within the earth. This silica factor builds up over the winter and causes plants to grow strongly in spring. Unfortunately in his agriculture , despite his promise, Steiner failed to indicate how the soil should be dosed in regard to clay. When talking about making the horn silica he mentioned the horn cavity probably should be capped off with a plug of clay to seal it. Those who worked with him in Switzerland were taught to make both horn manure and horn silica with a clay plug sealing the open end. However, since Steiner was not explicit in his agriculture course that this clay should be incorporated in the finished horn preparations it became common practice to unearth the horns, take out the clay and throw it away and use the horn manure and horn silica without any clay admixture.

The idea of making horn clay was part of biodynamics from the beginning. In this regard Walter Stappung’s booklet Die Dünger-Präparate, published in Switzerland in 2000, cites Voegele (1926), Lippert (1938) Remer (1980) and Willis (1999). We got the idea of making horn clay from a lecture delivered almost a decade earlier by Gunter Hauk. When asking Gunter how to make the horn clay the response was “No one knows. Steiner didn¹t give any indications.” However, in the process of making biodynamics work so that it made farms self-sufficient and addressed all issues of agricultural importance as Steiner clearly intended it to Willis found he had to make horn clay. Horn clay goes to the basis of how and why biodynamics works.



Geologists know that silica cooks up out of the Earth’s mantle. High mountains are thrust up by the rising silica forces within the earth. In fact it is only through the uplifting, vertical forces of silica that such heavy elements as gold, silver, platinum, lead and uranium are brought to the surface. In plants the silica forces work on the vertical axis driving plants toward fruit and seed. It is through the uplifting activity of silica that the lime elements such as calcium are carried up into leaf, fruit and seed. Steiner pointed out that the outer planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, work upward toward fruit and ripening through the siliceous substances of the Earth. However, the silica forces do not move upward into plants very well without clay as clay governs the ebb and flow of sap within the plant. This is why tomatoes do best in clay soils while potatoes produce better in sandy soils. With tomatoes the silica forces must rise very high in the plant, while with potatoes it is better if this does not occur. In sandy soils where clay doesn’t convey the silica forces so strongly toward fruit and seed potatoes won¹t waste their energies on flower and fruit. Instead the silica forces stay below the surface where potatoes form.  For some other examples, Georgia peanuts and soybeans do ever so well on heavy red clays near Columbus while onions do much better in lighter soils near Vidalia. There are many corollaries to this.


As the Sun evolved from a new star to its present form it converted hydrogen and helium into denser elements. These denser elements often are ejected from the Sun as ionized plumes called solar prominences or coronal discharges. When these ions strike the Earth’s magnetic field they stream in over the poles causing the northern and southern lights.

Earlier in the Sun’s evolution much carbon was given off. In later ages there have been more heavier elements like magnesium, calcium, iron and copper. This is why so many coal deposits are overlayed with limestone. Our planet has long collected material from the Sun, laying it down horizontally as sediments. Just as silica carries vertical forces, lime carries horizontal forces. Every housewife knows that dust accumulates in her closets, but how much more dust settles in open fields?

The significance of lime working horizontally is that it fills things out. So it is of great importance in leaves which spread out horizontally and catch sunlight. It also is lime that fills out the apple, grape or watermelon and makes them juicy and fat. And it is lime that gives legumes like beans or alfalfa the ability to draw nitrogen from its dead form as an inert gas in the air into the life of the soil.


On the periodic table of the elements berylium, magnesium, calcium and strontium are group II, alkaline substances which grasp and hold other elements. On the other hand carbon, silicon and germanium are group IV substances which are very free in their chemical nature. In between  groups II and IV are the group III elements of boron, aluminum and galium. These are the mediators as they both give and take. Clay basically is aluminum silicates, though, of course, clays can contain a wide variety of other minerals. Clay is plastic, absorbent, holds and releases water extremely well and is easily molded into various forms.

According to ancient wisdom man is made of clay, and clay relates to the heart and circulation, as well as the feelings and emotions which bridge between the brain and the guts, the thinking and willing parts of the human being.


Taken by themselves chemical elements in their pure states are lifeless. This is even true of oxygen, the carrier of life. Diatomic oxygen gas in the atmosphere is lifeless. But when oxygen combines with other elements life comes into the picture. Thus in their pure states calcium and magnesium or carbon and silicon are lifeless. But their oxides, lime, silica or carbon dioxide provide the basis for life as we know it.

This is just as true for aluminum, which mediates between lime and silica. Pure aluminum is lifeless. But its oxide, alumina, forms the basis for clay and in combination with silica is clay. As such alumina directly channels the expansive, cosmic, formative, life giving forces of silica into interaction with lime and all the interplay going on between the lime and silica. Not that there is much aluminum in our bodies or in plants. There’s only a small amount. But it is no accident that the Bible identifies man as “made of clay.” Truly it is clay that holds us together, receiving and retaining the forces of order, form and energy that give us life.

How BD Works

Applying the BD preps establishes patterns that organize the energies and substances in nature. The patterns of light and warmth associated with silica bring about photosynthesis, blossoming, fruiting and ripening in the atmosphere where the elements of air and fire are organized in plants. The patterns of tone and life associated with lime bring about digestion and nourishment in the soil where the elements of water and earth are organized by the soil food web. In between these are the ebb and flow of sap in plants that brings sugars down from above to the roots and brings nutrients back up from the soil.

The biodynamic practice of burying cow horns with quartz powder, cow manure and bentonite in them focuses the cosmic pattern energies on the materials in the horns and the material within the horn cavity resonates (inaudibly) like a bell ringing. Ever hold a conch shell to your ear and hear the roar within? The cow horn does something similar though it resonates to the cosmos rather than just to the sea.

This imparts a tremendous pattern force to the horn preparations. Then when these preparations are stirred and sprayed the droplets act as seeds to establish resonant patterns that, in the case of horn silica enhance photosynthesis and ripening, in the case of horn manure enhance digestion and nourishment, and in the case of horn clay enhance the ebb and flow of sap within the plant.

What Horn Clay Does

It doesn’t do all that much good to enhance photosynthesis, fruiting and ripening in the above ground part of the plant and boost the digestive and nutritive activities in the soil at the plant¹s roots if there is insufficient give and take occurring between these two polarities. By itself horn clay doesn¹t do so much. But used in conjunction with horn quartz and horn manure it works as follows.

As its first activity horn quartz enhances photosynthesis, the manufacture of sugars which powers all the complex chemistry in the leaf. The horn manure yields a rich and active soil food web. Yet it is the horn clay that is so key in boosting the ebb and flow of the plant¹s sap resulting in a lively exchange between roots and tops. When the sap in the plant ebbs into the roots sugars and other compounds are exuded into the soil near the plant¹s feeder roots. This provides energy for the mycorhyzae, azotobacters and other soil food web organisms so that nitrogen is fixed and nutrients are elaborated from the soil. As the sap is sucked back up into the plant and flows back to the growing tips these nutrients are taken up in abundance.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this relates to the most mobile nutrient of all, nitrogen. When nitrogen is supplied from external sources it will be available to plants as salts, whether these are oxidized to the nitrates, reduced to ammonia or in some intermediary state such as urea. Nitrogen salts are very soluble and mobile and they are taken up very readily by plants. If they are abundant they depress nitrogen fixation by microorganisms and are taken up by plants to exclusion of more complex nitrogen compounds such as amino acids. This results in salty, watery protoplasm in the leaves and growing tips and the plant must expend considerable energy in elaborating these nitrogen salts into proteins and into its DNA. This can never produce a plant that fulfills its genetic potential.

However, if the plant is sending sugars to its roots and feeding azotobacters which are fixing atmospheric nitrogen the plant gets its nitrogen requirement in the form of amino acids rather than nitrogen salts. These are assembled without further ado into proteins and the plant can manifest the full complexity of its genetic templates so that its cells are turgid, cell structure is dense, brix is high, protein is high and flavors are out the roof. Then all the toxic rescue chemistry becomes superfluous if not damaging, weeds lose out in the race to keep up with larger seeded robust crops, insects and diseases fall by the wayside and the bottom line is NO FERTILIZER COSTS.

The results obtained with a BD program using horn clay are best when NO salt fertilizers whatsoever are used, and especially no salt nitrogen. Compost applications at modest levels may be advisable, especially on land where silage or hay is cut and the growth is removed.

However, heavy applications of compost are inadvisable because the nitrogen compounds in the compost will oxidize to the nitrates and having nitrogen salts present in the soil dilutes the plant¹s sap and makes its protoplasm salty and watery. The key is to get the exchange going between sugars from the leaves and amino acids from the soil so that the plant maxes out and high yields of the finest quality are obtained.

Doing Horn Clay

Builder¹s supply stores commonly sell sodium bentonite clay, which is cheap and makes a very good horn clay. Other clays will do and some may be particularly superb, but bentonite is one of the classic clays with good water absorption and release and a good cation exchange capacity. Getting cow horns may be more of a problem, but if you know of folks in the slaughter business these too can be obtained. The best horns are from mature cows living on free range that have had several calves. It is important that the horns have heavy weight compared to their volume, because such horns have a stronger resonance or better “ring.”

Ideally horn clay should span the entire year in the horn, both summer and winter. Clay functions differently in summer than in winter and both the ebb and flow functions should be present. This means one can bury horns filled with (moisten first) bentonite at the spring equinox and unearth them after the following spring equinox. Or one can bury them at the fall equinox and go all the way until the following fall equinox passes. But in case one has the basic patterns of full year horn clay and one wants to emphasize either just the summer or just the winter patterns one can bury horns filled with clay from spring equinox to fall equinox (summer horn clay) or bury them from fall equinox to spring equinox (winter horn clay).

Application by stirring and spraying can cover 15 or 16 acres per barrel full. With a stirring rod suspended from a tripod one gets the water in the barrel moving in one direction, builds it up, puts a lot of energy into it, gets the vortex really whirling and draws the stirring rod in to center where it spins up with increased angular momentum as it nears the axis. And then. . . at the center it comes to rest with the whole barrel of solution spinning round it. You can see the etheric vortex lines cut across with the counter vortex lines of laminate water layers. These vortex/counter-vortex lines form a pattern like a great sunflower, such as Van Gogh painted so often. Each cycle grows, matures, senesces and is swept away.

The stirrer takes the pole back out of center, enters in the vortex in the counter fashion, and disrupts the dying cyclone into seething . . .chaos . . .Then winds into a new vortex–stoking it with energy and building to crescendo once again. Generation after generation goes the dance of life. Vortex/counter-vortex, leading, building, evolving inexorably to a universe of higher orderedness.

Then the spray is filtered and applied with a spray rig. Horn quartz is sprayed in the early morning as a mist into the atmosphere. It is supposed to evaporate upwards into the atmosphere. Horn manure is sprayed on the soil in late afternoon in very large droplets. It is supposed to sink in, and if one can disc it in or plow it down it seems to work better. With horn clay one wants a moderately fine spray in the afternoon to cover the surface of the soil or the lower trunks of trees so as to form a skin or diaphragm at the surface to mediate between the dynamic patterns of the atmosphere and the soil.


Life Processes Through the Elements Warmth, Light


  1. The sulphur warmth process: Ever at work at the surfaces of things, sulphur, as sulphate, infiltrates the interstices between the soil’s colloidal particles and exposes their surfaces. In short, sulphur is the ‘open sesame’ to the soil’s mineral storehouse.
  2. The silica light process: Always at work in the boundaries, silicon, along with light, is of key importance for containment and transport. In fibrous tissues, particularly in plant stems, this silica process forms the linings of capillary vessels, and these transport vessels do double duty as connective tissues—for example, in the stems of fruits.
  3. The carbon photosynthesis process: In the leaf the magnesium/chlorophyll complex that catches light is stationary, though it vibrates like a tuning fork. Via phosphorous, it sends the energy it captures to where water and carbon dioxide combine to make sugar and release oxygen. The rate of photosynthesis is determined by the transport speed of the energy boosted phosphorous, as well as the transport of sugars once they are made. The reason why brix readings for C4 grasses like sugar cane, maize or sorghum are taken from the bases of leaves or stems rather than from leaf panels is these plants rapidly move sugars away from where they are made.
  4. The boron root exudation process: When boron is sufficient and the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil is strong, photosynthesis will be productive, and root exudation will feed nitrogen fixation and nitrate reduction.
  5. The molybdenum amino acid (nitrogen fixation and nitrate reduction) process: In this process microbes uses root exudates along with molybdenum to fix nitrogen. They require roughly 10 units of carbohydrates to fix one unit of amino acid.
  6. The lime digestion process: Soil animal life, starting with protozoa, provide the daily digestion and release of fresh amino acids that makes this process efficient. This is a lime process that feeds amino acids and minerals back to the plant so it can capture energy, etc.
  7. Return to the silica light process: The overall process is one of taking up amino acids and minerals from the soil so the carbon process in the leaves can capture energy and make carbohydrates for growth. This feeds root exudates to soil microbes which require molybdenum to fix nitrogen and thus to feed protozoal digestion. The nitrogen soil process requires roughly 10 units of carbohydrates to fix one unit of amino acid. Working properly, this feeds amino acids and minerals back to the plant so it can capture energy, etc. The dynamic interplay between what goes on below ground and what goes on above depends on boosting each activity at the right times, morning and evening—as if we were pumping our farms or gardens up on a swing set.

Finest Wool on the Planet

In 1987 my late husband, Christopher Bird, whose passion was bringing frontier science to the fore, travelled for months in Australia researching for his book “Secrets of the Soil” which he co-authored with Peter Tomkins. This led him to a deeper understanding of Biodynamic Agriculture. Also in 1969 and again in 1987 Chris interviewed scientist/inventor T. Galin Hieronymus for his chapter entitled “Cosmiculture”.

            I’m personally dedicated to the entire planet being covered with living soils in the next 200 years, which will require passionately inspired young blood. Since arriving in Melbourne on September third 2009 to partner with my former neighbour, Hugh Lovel,

I have been blessed to visit with Hugh’s clients on farms, livestock stations, biodynamic dairies, vineyards, orchards and vegetable operations, all of which have opted for a new approach to agriculture that we call Quantum Agriculture. It is exciting seeing these ideas, based on biodynamics and the quantum nature of reality, put to use, and Australian farmers seem to be leading the way. –Shabari Bird, 22-11-2009


When interviewing farmers and station owners I ask who is going take over your operation when you retire? Ninety percent have no answer. I see the dearth of passionate and dedicated new farmers as a greater issue for the planet than the short-sighted exploitations of corporate chemical agriculture.


A Case In Point


When Hugh and I first drove into Kyabra Station near Kentucky, NSW on an early spring day, I was intrigued to see a cheerfully painted building with an amusing illustration of a ram lying in a lounge chair, wearing sunglasses and reading Playboy magazine. Above were the words, Ram Resort. Surely something different was occurring here.

We were warmly greeted and served a delicious lunch by Susan Lytton-Hitchins and her husband Michael; and within minutes in walked their son, Peter, manager of Kyabra and developer of the distinctive breed of sheep branded Coolmeina. A dynamic thirty year old who has passionately embraced cutting edge eco-agriculture, Peter grew up on his parent’s 1000 acre sheep station south of Sydney where, amongst other things, the family spent a decade stirring and spraying the Biodynamic Preparations.

At sixteen Peter met Dr. Jim Watts, whose unique breeding system kindled Peter’s personal ‘sheep quest’ and changed the course of his family’s enterprise. Peter wondered if they had a larger acreage and more sheep what could they genetically develop; and he spent several years researching and consulting with experts to create his future plan for a new breed of sheep.

Every animal has dominant and recessive genes, but for 200 years Australian sheep breeders have paid little attention. Dr. Watts’ approach takes time and a genetic pool of thousands of sheep. Peter’s family vigorously embraced Dr. Watt’s SRS (Soft Rolling Skin) method by purchasing a much larger station. This nature based approach requires understanding how Nature produces the animal and how the skin of the animal grows the fibre structure. Then it is possible to carefully select how fine your fibre will be.

To create the Coolmeina breed Peter included such natural factors as year round cover and rotational grazing, and the development of more than 250 carefully tended, ecologically sustainable paddocks for nutritional support. Peter spent a mere 12 years using a breeding pool of 85,000 sheep to create the Coolmeina breed. While wool is the oldest natural and sustainable fibre, working with nature at Kyabra Station they generated a new natural fibre that is so fine it is no longer called wool but is globally branded as Coolmeina. This breed is raised on open pastures, tenderly cared for and carefully rotated to provide an even plane of nutrition. Coolmeina fibre is so sensual against the skin that you think it is silk, while at the same time it has such stretchiness that it is in a class by itself, and the price received reflects the fact that this fibre is the finest (13.6 micron) in the world.

As Peter notes, the secret to success in agriculture is understanding nature instead of over-riding nature. Kyabra Station’s Coolmeina breed is extremely fertile and fast growing with particularly loose and non wrinkling skin structure, suited to low intensive farming. They eat less, produce less methane, eat a greater variety of forages and are easier on pasture. An added benefit of breeding an animal whose skin and fibre is very fast growing is the animal not only does not need mulesing—a barbaric mutilation that is being phased out all over Australia—it also does not need jetting, which is the external application of a liquid substance to kill parasites and deter infection by blow flies.  This is important since fly strike is the main cause of death in sheep.


The Ram Resort


One of the challenges in breeding a new animal is how to speed up the process. Peter did this through embryo transplant and artificial insemination, but he points out that you must work with nature and understands the animal’s natural cycles when approaching such a new method or technology. You can abuse technologies without understanding the power of nature and actually create huge negatives in your system. In this case working with nature involved observation of the merino breed. Although female sheep can be bred at any time, rams have several breeding cycles annually where the semen quality varies with the season. Some of the rams will have inferior semen during some of these cycles, and Peter and his team learned to collect the semen when a ram’s testosterone is at its highest and when the semen’s possibility of defective and inferior genes are lowest. A lot of this has to do with the quality of the environment, which should be as optimal as possible. To soak up the summer rain and yet thrive during drought and the extreme temperatures of the area at Kyabra Station they implemented a planned paddock and lane system where even a child could move the sheep with ease, and this gave rise to a deep rooted native pasture. In designing and achieving this high quality grazing system Peter was especially inspired by Allan Savory and Holistic Management International.

Peter pointed out that they keep everything as simple as they can to stimulate as much biological activity as possible. In their planned grazing system they prefer using animals instead of tractors. Instead of ploughing, their animals become the helpers that loosen and build the soil. Animals create the manure which supports both the flora and fauna of biologically active soils while sequestering carbon. Leaving the soil mostly undisturbed, with plant roots in place and stubble and crop litter on the surface allows soil micro-organisms to flourish. Then when these micro-organisms die, their decay creates carbon-rich humus that improves soil structure and water retention. This overthrows the assumption that animals degrade the soil. The rule is everything in balance. Obviously overgrazing can harm the soil, but plant growth must be digested to build soil.

People should give more consideration to what animals really add to the environment. If organic soil carbon were increased at the rate of one tonne per hectare per year over 30 million hectares, this would greatly contribute to carbon sequestration. Grazing animals can be a key part of the solution to global warming. One aspect of this is selective breeding, because individual animals vary significantly in their methane and fibre outputs. Another aspect is careful management of nutrition, since sheep and cattle produce less methane when grazing on good quality bio-diverse pastures. Over a period of a few decades, environmentally aware paddock management can probably restore or improve on the original soil carbon of most farm soils.


Energy in Agriculture


Peter calls his system natural biological farming. He recognizes the connection of all the creatures and their life force, the free nitrogen above and animal and microbial life in the soils and on the land—a concept compatible with their years of experience with biodynamic agriculture, which conceives of a farm as a living, self-contained entity with its own individual characteristics. In Peter’s system emphasis is placed on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, maintenance of soil, and the health and well being of crops and animals. The farmer too, along with his family life, is part of this whole.

In Peter’s opinion the success of every business depends on how well it uses its energy. Energy creates life and is in all things. On the one hand he feels the BD patterns give an energy boost to the soil, and on the other he is a fan of low cost and low input methods that give a significant kick to the system. Peter knew that they could not continue the practice of stirring and spraying the biodynamic preparations at Kyabra Station with its sixteen thousand acres. Moreover, Peter and his family found that stirring and spraying biodynamic preparations worked well where soils had moisture but not so well where rain fall is challenged.  After considerable investigation he believed that using Field Broadcasters could best fill this need. Thus to establish the homeopathic biodynamic energy patterns he installed three field broadcasters as a way to save money while more rapidly stimulating the energy of Kyabra Station’s paddocks.


Earth and Sky


Surely earthworms are the gate keepers of the soil. In addition, Peter has come to appreciate that there is a balance between the atmosphere and the soil. By stimulating the organizational patterns of the atmosphere with an Atmospheric Reorganizer, another of Hugh Lovel’s devices that utilize biodynamic preparations, he hopes to establish a better relationship between the soil and the atmosphere. Peter believes that a good farmer must work with the energies of the earth environment, both seen and unseen, and he finds the synergy of these Quantum Agriculture implements are compatible with all his other management tools.  Peter noted that Nature has loads of invisible presences and processes.

Because he increased his knowledge and wisdom through consultants like Allan Savory, Jim Watts, Graeme Sait and Hugh Lovel, he recommends that all young farmers bring in consultants in those areas where they need support. He also feels farmers should keep benchmarks so that each year they are able to refer to the data for that year. Thus he tasks helpers to record data, and he feels gratified that his ‘sheep quest’ has led him to using his management skills along with his inquiring mind to build a new approach to sheep grazing which includes teaching of the method.


In Summary


Peter’s passion for agriculture is the driving force behind Kyabra Station. He states “Tomorrow is about producing food, fibre and fuel for the future and simultaneously restoring the balance of nature and sustainable fertility of the soil. Young farmers have the possibility of great financial success in the future because of the mass desire for highly nutritious and densely organized plants which are sustainable.” Peter encourages other young farmers to create their plan now. “Agriculture is where we can improve the environment; agriculture will create the products that will fuel the world, build our homes, and anyone entering agriculture is in the most exciting industry for the future. Without agriculture life will not exist on our planet.”

Biodynamic Banana Culture

By Hugh Lovel

The first biodynamic banana farm I consulted for was in Innisfail, Far Northern Queensland in 2005. It was a bit upland on the coastal side of the Dividing Range with good rainfall and awesome red basalt soils. The grower showed me a picture from his first banana harvest 40 years previously where he and his brother cleared a few hectares of rainforest, burned the timber, spread the ashes and—something new after WW II—they fumigated the soil with methyl bromide and gave it a powerful blend of soluble NPK before planting. His picture showed a world record 314 pound bunch of bananas.  “And,” he said, “It went straight downhill from there. This time I thought I’d do something different.”

My mental image was one of all that biomass—living protoplasm—released all in one flush from a thriving rainforest soil. And then it became an ordinary banana plantation. By themselves, bananas only took up what they needed and the rest went to waste. Every ecosystem collapses when the diversity of organisms sharing essential jobs and processes is broken and lost. The result is a leaky bucket, and the life leaks away.

This grower cleared and planted his field in a legume called pinto peanut (Arachis pintoi) along with mixed grasses and volunteers. This is a perennial forage legume that grows from a central crown with a several meter deep tap root, and when it blooms it sticks its pod in the ground and spreads by planting itself. Grazing rotationally with sheep led to peanut dominance in preparation for planting bananas. For the banana rows, using his Yoemans’ Plough, he ripped two parallel trenches two meters apart and alternated his Cavendish banana sets zig-zag between the two trenches to ensure robust root exudate overlap. Grown biodynamically this commercial variety yields a creamy, aromatic fruit that, when ripe, has a moist, light-yellow colour like clover-fed Jersey butter. And once the young banana ‘trees’ grew tall enough the farmer went back to rotational grazing with sheep.

With rotational grazing, maximizing growth maximizes grazing. Grass dairies adjust their herds and pastures to graze, either by day or night but never both in succession. Long grazing periods allow livestock to eat the best plants down to a nub and leave unpalatable or trashy plants with enough leaf panel to take off again. Grazing only about 40 % and leaving 60 % behind–some gets trampled and feeds the soil food web, but there’s enough leaf panel left for quick re-growth. Commonly it takes three weeks before re-grazing, though

There is a vigorous biodynamic group on the Atherton Tablelands with dedication to making excellent preps and holding workshops. This farmer was producing cheaply and efficiently, and he reckoned these were the best bananas he had grown in forty years—since that first banana crop where he cashed in all the protoplasm of a living rainforest. His chief problem was banana rust thrips causing unmarketable fruit. My take on this was not so much an inner vegetative weakness that invited the animal digestion into the early formation of the fruit. Yes, its physical structure was too weak in its early development of cell walls and connective tissues. But my sense was the animal digestion (astrality) was too weak around the banana roots, and thus the amino acids drawn from the soil to form the new fruit were too mineral (nitrate) This invites the thrips to feast during the earliest development of fingers after petals open, causing a water-soaked appearance to the newborn hand of bananas—a clear case for using the dandelion and horsetail preparations in the canopy, and the chamomile and nettle preparations on the soil to boost the astral complexity the plant draws in at its roots. Potassium silicate and soluble humates fortnightly in the irrigation would help, as silica lies at the basis of physical structure.

I’ve seen and consulted for my share of biodynamic banana farms, but most of my conventional banana farmers used biodynamic preparation patterns imparted to the products they used because they got good results and problems were minimized. Humic and fulvic acid feed the soil biology that cleans up Roundup and other toxic residues, but it also grows better bananas. I have recipes for these inputs in my book, Quantum Agriculture.

Banana farming is a hard business. The biodynamic farmer and his wife in the above example retired as the work became too much. A big biodynamic farm planted in Mareeba, terraced beautifully with the local majestic boulders, connected by wide avenues shaded with mangos and undersown in pinto peanut, dandelions and mixed perennial grasses. These folks lost a tractor-trailer load of fruit shipped 3000 km to Sydney. The shipment was rejected as rotten upon receipt and auctioned off, a windfall for an unscrupulous broker but a total loss for the farmers. My own immigration sponsor was ripped off for shipments of biodynamic potatoes and zucchinis to a wholesaler in Melbourne who sold the produce but never paid for it. The Mareeba banana folks asked themselves why work so hard just to lose a few hundred grand in one rip-off? They sold up and that beautiful farm with its rich soils is now a full-on chemical plantation using Roundup and growing large quantities of tasty-as-chalk bananas.

One of the people I have consulted for is Frank Sciacca, who has popularized the Red Tip Eco Bananas which are easy to see in supermarkets because the banana tips are dipped in red wax. See picture. His commitment to the environment shows in his low nitrogen, herbicide and insecticide free approach that has resulted in some of the best insect collections I’ve seen in Australia.

Managing bananas goes beyond the tree making a bunch of 10 or more hands. You try to have as many functional leaves as there are hands of bananas in the bunch. Alongside this is the decaying trunk of the previous tree with its top cut down so the crown reabsorbs what it can. Close by is the adolescent trunk that will take the place of the present producing tree. And alongside that should be a few suckers, one of which will be chosen to be the next adolescent tree. There’s all kinds of tropical vines, some of which love to climb bananas, so a good, non-climbing ground cover is a big help. I’ve visited and consulted for banana growers all the way south to Coff’s Harbour, where the first commercial bananas were grown in Australia. I’ve been telling Florida citrus growers they should diversify into bananas, as Floridians can grow bananas in their yards.  But if they do they will have to give up their chemicals and rejuvenate their environment with what they grow because Life is the biggest deficiency in agriculture.

My preferred clients are  new growers, who know they don’t know much about growing bananas, so they follow instructions carefully. It’s  the conventional growers looking to convert that have trouble. They are used to the WOW effect when they apply chemical nitrogen, and they don’t get that with biodynamics, which builds nitrogen fixation into the soil biology. The biodynamic approach is so gradual that four out of five think they will assist the BD program with some urea and other fertiliser salts. This damages the soil food web and sets progress back to the start.




Bees and Love within the Hive quotes from Rudolf Steiner Nine Lectures on Bees

the bees surrender themselves entirely to Venus, unfolding a life of love throughout the whole hive. This life will be filled with wisdom; you can well imagine how wise it must be!

I have already told you various things about the reproductive process and the unconscious wisdom contained in it. This unconscious wisdom is unfolded by the bees in their external activity. What we only experience when love arises in our hearts is to be found, as it were, in the whole bee-hive as substance. The whole hive is in reality permeated with love. The individual bees renounce love in manifold ways, and thus develop love throughout the whole hive. One only begins to understand the life of the bees when one knows that the bee lives in an atmosphere completely pervaded by love.

On the other hand the bee is quite especially favoured by the fact that, in its turn, it feeds upon just those parts of the plants which are also wholly pervaded by love. The bees suck out their food — which they then turn into honey — exclusively from those parts of the plants that are centred in love; they bring, so to speak, the love-life of the flowers into the hive.

Hence one must say that the life of the bees must be studied by making use of the soul.

This is much less necessary when we study the ants and the wasps for we shall see that here, though they withdraw themselves to some extent, still they do surrender themselves more to sexual life. With the exception of the Queen, the bees are actually beings which, as I would like to put it, say to themselves “We will renounce the individual sexual life that we make ourselves ‘bearers of love.’” Thus they have been able to bring what lives in the flowers into the hive; and when you begin really to think this out rightly, you will reach the whole mystery of the bee-hive.

The life of this sprouting, budding love which is in the flowers is there too, within the honey. You can also study what honey does, when you eat it yourself. What does the honey do? When honey is eaten it furthers the right connection in man between the airy and the watery elements. Nothing is better for man than to add the right proportion of honey to his food. For in a wonderful way the bees see to it that man learns to work with his soul upon the organs of his body. In the honey the bee gives back again to man what he needs to further the activity of his soul-forces within his body. Thus when man adds some honey to his food, he wishes so to prepare his soul that it may work rightly within his body — breathe rightly.

Bee-keeping is therefore something that greatly helps to advance our civilisation, for it makes men strong.

You see, when one realises that the bees receive very many influences from the starry worlds, one sees also how they can pass on to man what is fitted for him. All that is living, when it is rightly combined, works rightly together. When one stands before a hive of bees one should say quite solemnly to oneself: “By way of the bee-hive the whole Cosmos enters man and makes him strong and able.”


Let’s talk about carbon

If we’re going to attract the life forces that agriculture feeds to human society as a whole to keep it alive, then we have to collect carbon.

Let’s talk about carbon. Carbon is associated with the earth element, and of course we’ve got water, air and fire as well. Sometimes carbon is called the Philosopher’s Stone. The hardest substance on earth is diamond, made from carbon. It’s also the framework for all living organisms, and it’s the magnet for hydrogen. So anytime we’re talking about conserving water then we need to talk about carbon because water will evaporate into the atmosphere – it will drain away and leave the landscape – unless there’s carbon there. Carbon attracts rainfall out of the sky. Carbon holds onto the water in the land, and carbon is what the chemistry of water works upon. So when we’re looking at what accumulates life-energy, it’s carbon.

When Wilhelm Reich did his work with orgone accumulators, he found carbon was the basis of orgone accumulation. Metal was the way of conducting it, but to attract it you had to have carbon. Carbon is the earth element, it’s the anchor for whatever we’re going to do in terms of building life into the landscape. And of course agriculture is what we’re doing to give life to our society. As far as the sociologists are concerned they know very well that we live in an agrarian society today, the days of the hunter-gatherers and whatnot are just not what’s mainstream anymore. Agriculture has given us the division of labor and the abundance, the savings of being able to specialize. So with the advent of agriculture, we had the rise of civilizations. Now here we are.

If we’re going to attract the life forces that agriculture feeds to human society as a whole to keep it alive, then we have to collect carbon. If we’re not collecting carbon with our agriculture, if we’re somehow or another dispersing the carbon, burning it up, exhausting it, robbing our soils of it or whatever then our agriculture is going to crash. Now carbon is the gold of our environment. What about the idea of the Philosopher’s Stone turning something to gold, turning base metal into gold? Carbon is what does that in terms of what’s the most valuable to us in our society – and that’s life. Carbon is what conserves life, draws in life, it accumulates life. When we’re talking about making agriculture free, we’re talking about building up carbon in our soils, accumulating carbon and being able to have a surplus of carbon so that we can harvest it from our farms and give it to people in our markets, in our restaurants and our dinner tables so that everyone has sufficient life in order to be healthy and happy. So it’s carbon that’s the wealth of our society.

The question is how do we accumulate carbon? Photosynthesis accumulates carbon from the carbon dioxide which is the free carbon in the atmosphere. It draws in carbon dioxide and turns that into sugar which is the basis, the framework of all of our carbohydrates. It of course also combines with nitrogen to make proteins. Oxygen organizes carbon in carbon dioxide and puts it out there everywhere for free. Photosynthesis unites water and carbon dioxide to make sugar, and it releases oxygen then to go off and organize other things.

Anytime we want to accumulate carbon what we have to do is to encourage photosynthesis. Whether it’s algae on the surface in the desert or algae on the surface of the ocean or it might be plankton in the ocean, they’re big carbon accumulators. But whatever it is, we accumulate carbon through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis – the capture of fire, you might say – and the building of a carbon framework, allows us to accumulate carbon in the landscape. Right now today on the planet earth we’ve got more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than in any other time that we know of. We’re in a period of great wealth if we want to accumulate carbon because it’s everywhere, it’s free.

Hugh answers Ibo Zimmermann, Deputy Director Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences Namibia University of Science and Technology

Dear Ibo,

How biodynamic does a farm have to be to be biodynamic? Here is what Rudolf Steiner had to say about farms:

A farm is true to its essential nature, in the best sense of the word, if it is conceived as a kind of individual entity in itself — a self-contained individuality. Every farm should approximate to this condition. This ideal cannot be absolutely attained, but it should be observed as far as possible. Whatever you need for agricultural production, you should try to posses it within the farm itself (including in the “farm,” needless to say, the due amount of cattle). Properly speaking, any manures or the like which you bring into the farm from outside should be regarded rather as a remedy for a sick farm. That is the ideal. A thoroughly healthy farm should be able to produce within itself all that it needs. (Agriculture, Lecture II)


What I’ve found is the most important part of a farm is its boundaries. That’s like our skin is our most important organ, without which our inner organization would neither arise nor maintain itself. You could plant casuarina trees along the boundaries and horsetail like hair in the ditches and dykes, and that would really help the farm to be self-sufficient, but how are you going to delineate the boundaries of experiment plots so they are comparable to rice paddies on biodynamic farms? My smallest rice terrace was somewhere around 7 to 8 square metres and my largest would have been more like 50 square metres. The dykes were in grass, clover, dandelions, plantain, and other ‘weeds’ that got mowed occasionally (maybe once a month) with a lawnmower. You could have used a whipper snipper. All my local frogs, from the huge bull frogs to tiny tree frogs reproduced in the rice terraces, which were teeming with life. My old farm cat developed a taste for the young bull frogs and couldn’t wait to catch them at the boundaries. She stalked them through the rice. She would emerge slathered down in mud and algae with a frog in her jaws. Her tongue bath and toilet afterward must have been a lot of work, but somehow she reckoned it was worth it–there was a really strong life going on in those terraces and the frogs must have tasted really delicious. Being from South Louisiana I never ate frogs legs raw. I always dipped my frog legs in an egg batter and dredged them in corn flour and seasoning to fry them. I never tried the frog legs from my rice terraces because I didn’t have enough rice swamp to have a night-time frog gigging party with headlamps and tridents like we had in Louisiana. But with a few acres of rice instead of a mere 120 square metres we could have had parties–a great place to grow frogs and crayfish.


I paint this picture above to illustrate how difficult it might be to plant one or two experiment blocks of biodynamic rice in a larger context of test plots including control plots where nothing is added or taken away. If you stir up a complex made from all the biodynamic preparations and apply this to the biodynamic plot or plots how can you keep the effect from this tone-like resonance from affecting nearby plots? And where will you get your biodynamic ecology of algae, azola, tadpoles, birds and all sorts of other aquatic and flying species and still keep them away from the other plots including the controls? I’m not saying give up and forget it. And I’m not saying you can just ignore the spill-over effects from one block to the next. You’re going to have some spill over and you’re going to have some challenges in establishing a biodynamic ecology from the soil food web up. You’re going to have to consider that biodynamic farms generally show almost triple the conventional concentrations of fungi, bacteria and protozoa, to say nothing of ants, earthworms and other higher animals–and the same with ‘weeds’ or companion plants like legumes in the rice. No. You’re going to have to do the experiments and see how much of an ecology can be imparted to the biodynamic plots and how much this can be kept separate form the other experiment plots. And the final conclusions of the experiment will need to acknowledge the limitations and challenges of the experimental methods and show how these were dealt with. Go for it, but don’t expect it to be easy.


To help get a fuller picture of what biodynamic farming is about I’ve attached a copy of Steiner’s agriculture lectures, Georg Adams translation. It is the earlier translation (1938) and in some respects is more poetic than the Creeger/Gardener translation which dates to the 1990s. You can also go to Rudolf Steiner audio and download an audio version of the Agriculture Course that you can listen to while driving or whatever.

The researcher doing the rice might delve into these resources as well. Biodynamics may have resisted conventional research by virtue of its complexity. It is a comprehensive system of agriculture and it works best as a comprehensive system. Anything less will fail to show biodynamics in the light it deserves. A lot of biodynamic concepts, such as the importance of silica, can be very useful in conventional agriculture as well. For example, the USDA did research that compared the use of potassium silicate (an industrial product) with various fungicides. Even though potassium silicate is not a fungicide (it doesn’t kill fungi on contact) it prevented fungal diseases in wheat, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes better than any of the fungicides tested. Somehow the USDA refrained from blanket publicity of this fact, I suppose out of consideration for the welfare of makers of commercial fungicides.


Best wishes,

Hugh Lovel

Youtube of Hugh teaching Biodynamic Association of Namibia

Hugh Lovel New Book  

Quantum Agriculture:   Biodynamics and Beyond


Hemp Cultivation: Secrets of the Soil

Ideally crops would be grown in mixed covers with as little soil disturbance as possible while feeding, balancing and enriching the soil’s ecology with mulches, humified compost, raw humates and soil drenches to harvest warmth, light, water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the atmosphere.