After 18 months of Peter’s spraying programme, Mike is delighted with the results. Grass production has improved so much in quantity and quality that Mike is able to keep more cows on the farm and make plenty of hay, silage and baleage for extra winter and summer feed.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to measure quantitative results, but both Mike and his father Eddie say they have never seen the farm produce so well in spite of no other amendments except a mix of dolomite and brimstone being applied to the pasture.
This was put on after a soil test indicated magnesium and sulphur levels were too low according to the Probitas system. The qualitative results are seen in healthier cows and sharply increasing local demand for raw milk from the farm. Peter adds a mix of compost preparations to the dairy shed effluent as it goes into the effluent pond. Then he adds Preparation 500 to liquid effluent, passes it through flowforms, and finally sprays it onto the paddocks after cows have grazed them.
This is repeated about every three months, depending on weather conditions. Ideally the spray should go onto damp ground before a dry spell is expected. A homeopathic spray made from Preparation 501 is also sprayed onto thepastures, particularly when conditions are cloudy and wet, to bring some “summer sunshine,” as Peter explains it. The setup of all the stirring and spraying equipment took some time for Peter and Mike to sort out, but now it all works well.
Peter has also been busy planting trees around the farm, as cattle benefit so much from the shade, shelter and feed the trees provide. Mike and Peter will be demonstrating
their system on the first day of this year’s biodynamic conference in Palmerston North, giving opportunity for other farmers to see it. Several young farmers have already visited the farm, and there is opportunity for others to come and spend a few days learning about Peter’s system if they contact Peter first – phone 06 326 8599.
They will need to do this soon, as Peter will be moving back further north after the biodynamic conference. Peter has written about his long experience of using biodynamic preparations on commercial farms in his book, Biodynamic Pasture Management, which is available to buy from the Bio Dynamic Association.