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Open Agriculture

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Biodynamic preparations, greater root growth and health, stress resistance, and soil organic matter increases are linked

Walter A. Goldstein / Herbert H. Koepf / Chris J. Koopmans
Published Online: 2019-06-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2019-0018


The effects of biodynamic preparations were tested in the context of comparisons of conventional, organic, and biodynamic systems and diverse crop rotations in Washington and Wisconsin, USA. Wisconsin research also entailed testing a new nettle-and-manure-based field spray preparation (NCP). Focus was on winter wheat and maize and on soil quality. In Washington, preparations increased root growth of winter wheat, microbial biomass, and soil organic matter. In Wisconsin, applying a combination of preparations that included NCP increased root growth of maize, root health, and particulate organic matter in the soil. Relative to the organic treatments, root dry matter increases associated with the use of preparations varied from 12% to 39% and root length differences varied from 10% to 37% depending on the experiment, crop, year, and preparation application. The biodynamic + NCP treatment also induced substantial, positive yield compensatory effects for maize and wheat under stress condition years. The response slopes were practically identical for wheat and maize, indicating that the effect is of the same magnitude for both crops. Results were higher average grain yields and gross financial returns than for organic grain. The greater root production and root health stimulated by preparations is probably linked to greater vegetative growth, enhanced yield under stress conditions, and increased soil quality and carbon in soils.

Keywords: biodynamic preparations; roots; stress resistance; carbon retention; particulate organic matter


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About the article

Received: 2018-09-26

Accepted: 2019-02-26

Published Online: 2019-06-25

Citation Information: Open Agriculture, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 187–202, ISSN (Online) 2391-9531, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2019-0018.

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© 2019 Walter A. Goldstein et al., published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

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