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TitleUtilisation of local alternative materials in cow horn manure (BD 500) preparations: A case study on biodynamic vegetable cultivation
Publication TypeReport
AuthorsPerumal, K, Vatsala, TM
InstitutionShri A.M.M. Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre
City Tharamani, Chennai, India

At the Shri AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre apart from organic farming practices, biodynamic agriculture practices were undertaken between 1977-1980 by following the combination of French Intensive Gardening Techniques and biodynamic principles in a village near Chennai. The experimental results were quite promising and well appreciated.

The studies on biodynamic agricultural practices with scientific observation, identification of microbial diversity and its interaction in soil with different vegetable crop cultivation was undertaken in a model farm at Sevapur.

Three different vegetable crops such as carrot, onion and okra were cultivated in soil amended with different manures such as organic and biodynamic .The vegetables cultivated in the experimental plots with organic and biodynamic manures produced comparable yield, less pest and disease attack, improved soil physical-chemical and microbiological properties.

The studies on biodynamic preparations such as BD500, CPP and biodynamic compost were periodically evaluated for its compost/ manure maturity. Chromatographic techniques, microbial identification-enumeration and its physiochemical properties like pH, moisture and the available NPK were critically evaluated on these preparations. Further the possibilities of developing indigenous techniques to the local needs by identifying and characterizing locally available plant materials were evaluated.

In general BD500 is prepared by using a lactating cow horn. In India, the availability of cow horn is becoming an issue. According to Rudolf Stainer the clay is the mediator between calcium and silica process. The clay soil can therefore be used as one of the source materials in Biodynamics. Instead of using cow horn for BD500 preparation, the horn shaped mould was fabricated with clay soil. These mud horns were buried along with cow dung in the same way and at the same time as the horn cow dung.

The quantity and quality of mud horn manure was evaluated critically.  The alternative plant material such as flowers from compositae such as Tridex procumbens, Ageratum conzyzoides and  leaves of Casuarina sp. were explored for its potentials in biodynamics. The results of these studies will be elaborated at the time of presentation.