Biodynamics/soil microbes

Great to have such a positive response to BD. I've replied to posters 
separately but for others who may have the same queries - first I'm a 
journalist/researcher closely involved with one of the farms in the 
Reganold study. I'm no farmer but I'm pretty close to the action with 
plenty of mud and cows--t on my boots, not to mention hundreds if not 
thousands of planted trees to my credit.

More to the point - how do we know the BD preps make the difference.  
In pure scientific terms of course we don't and as one poster pointed 
out it would make an excellent subject for a research programme.  Some 
work was done by Pfeiffer in the US who worked with composts identical 
in every way except for use or non-use of individual BD preps.  The 
ones with the preps were shown to enhance presence and activity of 
particular organisms. I can find the exact reference for anyone who is 
interested.  Also forgive my lack of precise scientific terminology!

In the Reganold study, which I don't have to hand at the moment, farms 
included dairy, cropping, mixed (livestock & crops) and some vegetable 
growing.  Taking a pasture situation - with which I'm most familiar  - 
the inputs from rotation/legumes/raw animal manure would have been 
common to both BD and chemical farms.  We don't spread composted 
manure on our pastures.  The differing inputs were the NPK fertilisers 
on the chemical farm as opposed to the herbal preps and fish 
fertiliser foliar feed (made with preps) on the BD farm.  It would 
seem reasonable that all other things being more or less equal a 
starting point for research into soil microbe indicators would be the 

One poster, Woody, made the point that he 'would expect microbial 
respiration to be a product of the whole management program in general 
and the high organic matter in particular'.  Good point and the whole 
management program is vital.  But in our case in particular the sandy 
soils on which the pasture is based do not naturally contain or 
receive a high rate of organic matter.