Observations and real outcomes…
The differences we have experienced by using biodynamics on our farm have been more anecdotal rather than scientific, and based on our observations, rather than measurements. However, we also understand that measurable quantifiable results are essential if Biodynamics is to be an attractive alternative to conventional, and even current, standard organic practices.
Greener fields…enhanced fertility
The fields we regularly treat with Biodynamics are significantly greener in dry seasons than fields not yet treated, or that don’t get as much attention as others. This would suggest a greater water holding capacity in the soil and enhanced fertility. We don’t objectively measure feed quality however there is often a distinct increase in the length of time that livestock can graze in treated paddocks.
We often find that we have underestimated the amount of pasture available to livestock in fields. This indicates a constant and consistent improvement in the quantity and quality of the feed available as stock are able to be grazed in paddocks longer than we would have expected. Nutrient dense pasture is more resilient and persistent in drier periods and is of higher quality, and livestock don’t need to eat as much of it to obtain their daily nutritional requirements. This gives them more time in the day to rest, chew their cud and relax, which is especially important in extreme weather conditions when they might have to burn extra energy to stay warm or walk extra miles to feed and water in extremely hot days.
There is also a definite heightened sense of wellbeing in our stock, in their behaviour and in their movement through fields and infrastructure such as stockyards. This measure, while being hard to objectively measure, is incredibly important in terms of the quality of the animal’s life, reproductive capacity, weight gains and manageability of the herd for handlers. All these aspects are strengthened when livestock live in an environment enhanced with Biodynamics. I always say ‘happy cattle produce the most tender meat’, and a low stressed life is what we aim for and have found to produce the best outcome in relation to meat quality. We recently sent one of our Shorthorn steers to the world famous Victor Churchills butchery in Sydney, and head butcher Darren O’Rourke stated on social media ‘speechless mate, seriously some of the cleanest and tender pasture fed beef I’ve ever had! Aussie chef Brendan Sheldrick had this to say about our lamb. "I have cooked thousands of kilos of lamb in my life, but I’m going to put it out there that @charliearnott1 biodynamic lamb is the best I have ever had anywhere on earth.”
Also, in regard to peppering, we have had wonderful success with peppering rabbits which are considered vermin in Australia. The result was profound. Within a couple of weeks of peppering in and around a hay shed the rabbits had moved on. Builders who had been driving past the rabbit infested shed for months, (and who had been giving me a hard time about the plague we had!) asked me when I had carried out a shoot or poisoning. They had noted the sudden absence of rabbits in that area. The completely objective observation by others proved to us beyond a doubt that the peppering of those rabbits had created the result. You can read more about Peppering in a previous article here.