Countryfile – the good with the bad
I read a few tweets this week about an item on BBC One’s Countryfile about Biodynamics, so I thought I’d take a look (as can you until Sunday morning – 17/2/13 www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t0bv – from about 20:45 mins in)
Here is my response it’s terse, but then I was in that sort of mood):
Biodynamics Farmer”the forces working in nature … it sounds a bit cuckoo perhaps…”
BF “think of a compass pointing North…if you look inside that needle, you are never going to understand it…” – Yes we bloody well do, it’s called physics!
BF ” there’s a whole cosmos out there…a Sun, a Moon, planets and stars and the zodiac” – sheesh!
Julia Bradbury “You believe strongly in the forces of Mother Nature” BF “We do, yes” – I assume gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces then?
Two buckets of cow manure for a whole farm, rather than trailer loads – I smell homeopathy about to real its head.
Yep, at least they refer to Rudolf Steiner as a philosopher, not an agricultural expert. If the chemicals worried farmers (in spite of better pest control and yield), why not just stick with organic methods?
So, let me get this straight, you fill cow horns with manure then leave them in the ground over the winter?!
BF “…when you dig it up in the Spring, this manure will have a comletely different consistency…” – no shit, Sherlock! (sorry!)
BF “…the forces from the cosmos go into the earth…it will make this manure a very special substance”
So, they bury the horns full of dung in a pit, mix the pit contents with water in the Spring, then spray his 500 acres twice a year with the mixture?
If he buries and uses ALL of the 400 horns (which he says he doesn’t), where I estimate each one has a dung volume of approx 150 cc (or 0.00015 cubic metres), that would be 0.06 cubic metres in total, Now he has 500 acres, which he sprays twice a year, hence 1000 acres, or 4,050,000 square metres.
So, assuming any dilution factor you like, and at 550kg per cubic metre (internet research), that comes to (0.06 x 550)/(4.05 x 10^6) = 8.15 mg (approx). Various suggestions from conventional methods of ferlilization are of the order of thousands of kg per hectare (one thousand square metres)!
Now his dilution seems to be a ball of special manure (slightly larger than a cricket ball) to a large beer keg sized barrel
JB “…it’s not a lot” BF “…it’s not just the substance, it’s the forces in the substance”
Oh, the mixing takes an hour (I wonder how important the actual time is – would 65 minutes be too long?), and there is a special way to stir it. You get a vortex going, to start it getting some sort of order in the solution (sic). Then change direction to create confusion, which BF says “gets the oxygen in … imprints the memory in…”
JB “…some people at home now will say he’s being a bit bonkers” – no comment!
BF “Maybe, I’m not going to try an argue with everybody…”
JB “…this farm has been run this way for 40 years, and is not doing too badly on it” – so no data on yield or any other measure stated then!
I hope that the producers of what is usually a very good, sensible program have a rethink and perhaps address the lack of ‘balance’ in a subsequent episode.