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Effects of farmyard manure compost and biodynamic preparations

Long-term trial at IBDF Darmstadt (since 1980)

since 1992 Spring wheat

Third period (research focus: Yield formation and long-term effects)


Favourable growth conditions seem to be more important for mineral fertilization.
Only the yield of the minerally fertilized crop responded to the quantity of available water. In the most favourable year, the yield increased in MIN up to 52 dt ha-1. The manure fertilized wheat ranged between 35 and 45 dt ha-1, without any significant relation to water availability (50 to 150 mm).


Bivariate Korrelation SW
Bivariate correlation between spring wheat yield with
manure (CM) and mineral fertilization (MIN), both at
high fertilization level; (n = 55; 14 years, 4 replicates
per treatment; confidence ellipse for p<0.05); Raupp, 2001

Manure fertilization gave lower maximum yields but higher minimum yields.
This means the organic treatments had the same average yield over years but lower variations. The maximum yield of mineral fertilization has not been achieved with manure. On the other hand, under low-yielding conditions (poor water supply) yields declined more severely with mineral than with manure fertilization. This is shown in the figure with yield data of 14 years: MIN > CM in the high yield area; the opposite is true for the low yield area: MIN < CM. The slope of the main axis of the ellipse is significantly smaller than 1 (p<0.05).






Grain and straw yield, thousand seed weight (TSW) and harvest index (HI) of spring wheat with mineral fertilization (MIN) and composted manure without (CM) and with (CMBD) biodynamic preparations at 3 fertilization levels; averages of the years 1985-1993; Raupp (1995)
(dt ha-1)
(dt ha-1)
CM 1 31.9 31.7 39.5 47.5
CM 2 34.3 31.7 39.2 52.9
CM 3 37.4 32.8 39.3 57.4
CMBD 1 34.9 32.8 40.6 50.8
CMBD 2 34.1 32.4 40.2 51.0
CMBD 3 36.9 32.6 40.7 54.4
MIN 1 29.7 30.7 34.8 55.1
MIN 2 34.5 30.7 36.2 60.3
MIN 3 37.3 30.7 36.6 64.0
Mean values
CM 34.6  32.1 b 39.3 b 52.6 b
CMBD 35.3 32.6 b 40.5 b 52.0 b
MIN 33.8 30.7 a 35.9 a 59.8 a
1 32.2   31.8 38.3 51.2 a
2 34.3 31.6 38.5 54.7 ab
3 37.2   32.0 38.9 58.6 b
Mean values with different letters within a half
column are significantly different (p<0.05).


  Manure fertilization produced a higher thousand seed weight and a better harvest index.

On average over years, organic and mineral fertilization gave the same grain yield. The amount of straw was smaller and, therefore, the harvest index was better in the organic treatments. The seeds have been found to be thicker with manure fertilization.
Increasing fertilizer amounts resulted in more straw with all treatments.

































Korrelation SW
Spring wheat yields with composted manure
in 11 years; CMBD = with preparations, CM =
without; main axis of the ellipse:
 Y1 = 0.724 * Y2 + 10.43; slope <1
(p<0.05); Raupp (1999)


The biodynamic preparations caused opposite yield effects depending upon yield level.
Under low-yielding conditions the preparations increased yields (CMBD > CM); high yields were reduced by the preparations (CMBD < CM).
This phenomenon and results of other experiments have been discussed by:

KÖNIG, U.J., 1993: Systemregulierung - Ein Wirkungsprinzip der biologisch-dynamischen Präparate. In: Zerger, U. (Ed.); SÖL-Sonderausgabe Nr. 42, 394-396.

RAUPP, J., 1999: Biodynamic approaches in research and development. In: Zanoli, R.; Krell, R. (eds.); Research Methodologies in Organic Farming. FAO Regional Office for Europe, REU Technical Series 58; 41-47

RAUPP, J.; KÖNIG, U.J., 1996: Biodynamic preparations cause opposite yield effects depending upon yield levels. Biol. Agric. & Hort. 13, 175-188


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