Biodynamic Preparations – Research and Application
Biodynamic agriculture began in 1924 as a result of a series of lectures given by
Rudolf Steiner, Austrian scientist, philosopher and social reformer. These lectures
are published in English under the title „Agriculture“. In these lectures Rudolf Steiner
presents nature in a holistic way and acknowledges the importance of non-material
forces as well as the more familiar physical substances.
From the very beginning biodynamic agriculture developed on the basis of sound
scientific research. Already while the lecture course was being held a research circle
The research questions that were investigated were very varied and ranged from
general questions about farm structure to crop rotation, cultivation and issues of plant
breeding right through to specific questions about the less visible influences of the
planets and constellations, life forces and nutritional quality. Research into the
biodynamic preparations was of course of vital interest and it is on this subject that
this paper will focus.
Research has been carried out in a great many different ways. In the early years it
was restricted to simple comparative trials and then as the years went by more
rigorous scientific procedures were introduced. From the 1960’s onwards, public
research institutes took an increasing interest in biodynamics and especially in the
preparations. Numerous dissertations and other independent studies have been
carried out since then. Some financial support was also obtained from a number of
public foundations for this research work.
To begin with most of the research took place in Germany but gradually more
European countries (Switzerland, Holland, Sweden) took it up and then also
countries further afield, for instance the USA.
An important step was taken with the establishment of long term trials comparing
biodynamic manuring techniques and use of the preparations. In 1958 the so-called
“K trial“ (K=Kvalitet (quality)) was started in Järna, Sweden. Here 7 different types of
manure and the biodynamic preparations were investigated over a period of 33years.
In 1978 the Swiss-based Organic Research Institute (FiBl) set up the so-called DOK
trial to compare biodynamic(D), organic(O) and conventional(K) systems. It is now in
its fourth rotational cropping cycle. These trials compare different management
systems. In 1980 a comparative trial was set up at the Biodynamic Research Institute
in Darmstadt, Germany to investigate biodynamic, organic and mineral fertilisation.
This research is able to demonstrate in a very clear way, the difference between
organic and biodynamic management and especially the contribution made by the
The following list of publications concerning the biodynamic preparations is classified
according to author. The list is not guaranteed to be comprehensive but is regularly
Research publications concerning biodynamics