Re: re. "proving" biodynamic techniques

Ray:  what a brilliant, insightful, and stimulating commentary.  
Thanks very much for taking time to write.  We just submitted a 
manuscript on the issue of the Need for Long Term Research, and it 
substantiated much of what you stated.  Very few "long term" studies 
(in space or time) are conducted anymore, which allows us to monitor 
short term responses to (largely purchased, proprietary) inputs but 
which diverts us from observing and acknowledging the long term, 
often biologically mediated responses to those inputs.  If time and 
resources were available to continue these short term studies for 
longer intervals, or at more locations, 

a) we would be more aware of potential side effects (+ and -) which 
unquestionably occur in response to these short term inputs, and 
which would either encourage or discourage purchase of those short 
term inputs, and

b) we would be much more aware of the repeatability of responses over 
years and over locations - e.g. G x Management x 
Environment interactions.  What works on research stations for a few 
years may very well not work at all on farms that do not attempt to 
mimic the level of control (fertility, drainage, timely harvest, 
etc.) that pertains on research stations.

Your point on asking the right questions is BANG ON!  It is 
entirely understandable that individual companies seek to fund 
research of a proprietary nature - that will benefit them and 
their sales prospects.  What I cannot figure out, however, is why 
government funding priorities are increasingly supporting the short-
term, profit-motivated priorities of individual companies, instead of 
the long-term, societal and environmental good of the people at 
large.  Can they think that the two are synonymous?  Ann

Dr. E. Ann Clark
Associate Professor
Crop Science
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1
Phone:  519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX:  519 763-8933