re: biodynamics

On Fri, 7 Apr 1995, Senior Program Manager -- PMP wrote:

>[Stuff deleted] 
> Jonathan, thanks for your comments.  I've probably missed some of the 
> previous discussion as I'm not quite sure what some of the commments have to 
> do with the viability of a biodynamic farm. I was inferring the "farm" 
> success or viability rather than chemical mechanisms.
> Let me also pose a question.  Where is the evidence that ten years (maybe 5 
> years on some soils) of composting on a field will not increase the 
> availability of potassium and phosphorus, improve the soil nitrogen dynamics 
> for better plant growth, and reduce soil pathogens?  Whether composting 
> improves the bioavailability of nutrients from the plant material is an 
> additional question or could be a component of the same question?
> I believe that some of the work done by Sharon Hornick and others on 
> bioavailability raise some very interesting scientific questions that can be 
> addressed in the more traditional ag research manner or as regularities in 
> nature.  Some of the work that Parr, Papendick, and others have done on the 
> organic side also raises unanswered traditional research questions.
> I'll be out for a week, but thanks for the interest.
> Ray
Whether the addition of compost has a beneficial effect on the 
availability of phosphorus, potassium, or nitrogen is an entirely
separate question from the question of elemental conversion or
the efficacy of designations 501, 502, or 505. Composting in and
of itself is not an exclusively biodynamic technique. The question
I am posing is the efficacy of the biodynamic techniques themselves
not the merits of composting per se. If we are going to discuss
composting as a separate activity that is OK, but a different
discussion. Again, the success of farm that uses biodynamic techniques
doesn't prove their efficacy, the techniques might have little effect
and the success might be due to other practices that are common to
non-biodynamic organic agriculture.

Jonathan Haskett

P.S. RE: Biodynamic research; citations please.