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BD Now! Research paper by J. Raupp: BD preps and system adjustment
Here are links to the BD research paper I referred to in
"After the Rain".
The original paper by Joachim Raupp was published in an FAO
proceedings in 1999. It was previously available on the Institute
for Biodynamic Research (IBDF) web page, and is archived
on Organic Eprints.
See the discussion on BD preps as a homeopathic remedy that
harmonizes growing season effects in a concept known as system
adjustment, which could resonate in people's mind quicker
by using the term "biological system adjustment".... since it appears
to be a universal mechanism in both medicine and agriculture.
Here is the English-language link to IBDF papers and publications:
Among the references in Raupp's paper, see this related journal
article that contains the original data findings:
Raupp, J. & U. J. König. 1996. Biodynamic preparations cause
opposite yield effects depending upon yield levels. Biol. Agric.
& Hort. Vol. 13(2): 175-188.
Abstracted on TropHort
Biodynamic Approaches in Research and Development.
Research Methodologies in Organic Farming
30 September - 3 October 1998
R. Zanoli and R. Krell (editors)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Raupp, Dr Joachim (1999) Biodynamic approaches in research
and development. Paper presented at Research Methodologies
in Organic Farming; Published in Zanoli, R. and Krell, R., Eds.
FAO Regional Office for Europe, page pp. 41-47.
REU Technical Series 58. FAO, Rome.
Each of the preparations is made in a specific way and applied
in very small quantities, a feature shared with homeopathic
remedies. Therefore, research on the preparation effects and way
of action is very difficult. We are all more used to quantitatively
linked effects, i.e. a larger effect is expected if an agent is applied
more often or in a higher quantity within a certain range. However,
the biodynamic preparations do not show a clearly discernible
dose effect. Moreover, the extent and direction of an effect seems
to vary depending on the prevailing circumstances (e.g. growth
conditions), as can be concluded from the results of several
studies (Abele, 1973; Dewes and Ahrens, 1990; Koop, 1993;
Kotschi, 1980; Spiess, 1978 and 1979).
From these experimental results, the concept of system
adjustment was derived and can explain some aspects
of the preparation mode of action (König, 1993; Raupp
and König, 1996). This concept fits, for example, the
yield results of spring wheat in one of our fertilization
trials. Figure 1 shows the yields of two treatments in
11 years (in four replicates). The yield with composted
manure without biodynamic preparations (CM) is plotted
against the horizontal axis and the yield achieved in the
same year with composted manure including the
application of all biodynamic preparations (CMBD),
is plotted against the vertical axis. There is obviously
a great variation from year to year within both parameters
and on average, from 11 years yield no difference
showed between the treatments with and without the
preparations (39.0 and 39.5 dt/ha, respectively).
Regarding the influence of years as a random effect,
one has to conclude: no effect of the preparations on
average. However, a significant bivariate correlation
can be calculated between CM and CMBD, which
shows a declining tendency of the CMBD results
with increasing CM values. When, however, CM
results were low, the CMBD treatment yielded higher.
This means, the preparations increased wheat yield
under bad growth conditions (when the control
treatment CM had low yields) and under high yielding
conditions the preparations reduced yield a bit. The
slope of the major axis of the correlation ellipse
shown in Figure 1 is significantly smaller than 1
(p<0.05), providing evidence of the described effect.
I do not present this example because of the mathematical
procedure; the bivariate correlation used here is quite
a normal statistical tool. I present this example because
of the concept of system adjustment as a way of action
of the biodynamic preparations that can be described
with this procedure. System adjustment is more focused
on varying environmental conditions rather than expecting
linear, quantitative effects. According to this concept,
the effect of the preparations is not completely determined
by their properties and mode of application but depends
very much on the conditions of soils, plants and the
environment, including their interactions.
A similar way of influencing organisms can be found in
medicine. Schaumann (1987) points to the three basic
ways for working with systems and organisms both in
medicine and agriculture: stimulation, substitution and
suppression. As the author points out, each system
or organism has an inherent capability, to a certain
extent, to regulate and adjust its processes and
conditions. Depending on the way of treatment or
therapy, this inherent capability can be stimulated
or suppressed. By giving a certain therapy or
medicinal preparations to an organism it is possible
to stimulate the productive and harmonizing forces
of nature in a single organism as well as in an agricultural
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