Biodynamic Preparations and Formulations

In this section you will find information on the preparations that are unique to the Bio-dynamic Method of Farming.
Click on the links below to discover a new world of making and applying preparations to enhance the earthly and cosmic influences in a farm system.

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Cow Pat Pit (CPP) 

Cow Pat Pit is known as CPP and is a specialized type of compost. It refers to cow manure mixed with crushed egg shell and basalt dust, then put into a 12 inch deep pit lined with bricks. The dung is fermented, together with the preps 502-507, for a period of 3 to 4 months. It is applied in the evenings during the cooler months.

From fungal and bacterial plate tests of the CPP, it appears there is a wide range of colonies or families of fungi and bacteria which have proliferated during the fermentation of the original cow dung material and also from what has been gained from the biodynamic preparations BD 502-507.

It makes sense that the quality of the CPP will depend very much on the quality of the original cow dung and in particular what type of fodder the cows have been eating. Obviously if the milk that cows produce from eating good quality grass grown biodynamically, can be made into superb tasting yoghurt, quark or cheese, the dung from such grass will also be (not superb tasting) but of a superb aroma that will make very good CPP. This is something that the discerning farmer can gradually learn to recognize. Relating dung aroma to dung quality to grass quality and then soil quality.

In a country such as India where the cow is highly venerated and the fertility quality of the cow dung is recognised, it is hardly surprising that the Indian farmer has taken hold of the concept of CPP with great enthusiasm. Indian farmers have developed this biodynamic activity to a high degree since 1994 and now  there are large amounts of CPP being made and used throughout India and also supplied to farmers converting to BD.

- Peter Proctor


Making of Cow Pat Pit (CPP)

Making the Pit

  1. Choose a site with good drainage, well-shaded and aerated. A vegetable garden is ideal.
  2. Dig a pit 90cm x 60cm x 30cm deep (3ft x 2ft x 1ft)
  3. Line the side of the pit with used bricks. Ensure that the bricks are wet prior to placing the dung. The bricks are a good medium for the walls of the pits in that they absorb moisture, and can be watered to keep the dung from drying out.
  4. The bottom is left as bare earth.
  5. The pits can be made in series of up to 100 pits in a group with a central path in between two double rows, or some system that suits the farm's needs.
  6. The pits are usually situated within a shade house which is usually roofed with thatch. This will keep the pits cool during the hot months and stop the dung from drying out, and will be shelter against the rain during monsoons. Make sure the shade house is high enough to work under.

Making the Slurry

Collect 60kgs of cow dung from lactating cows preferably fed on biodynamically grown fodder. No concentrates or grains should be fed two to three days before collecting the dung.

Add water by sprinkling it over the cow dung if dry. Cow dung should not be too dry or too wet. The dung should be firm as this facilitates the breakdown processes.

It is mixed with 200 grams of powdered egg shell. Heat egg shells in a hot oven for ten minutes which will aid the grinding of the shell into powder and 200 grams of powdered basalt dust. If there is no basalt, use blue granite quarry dust or bore well soil instead. Sprinkle the basalt rock or bore well soil, and crushed egg shells, over the cow dung.

Knead (mix) for 10 - 30 minutes. The kneading of the dung is important to aerate it. You will notice the consistency will change. Some farmers mix for as long as 1 hour.

  • Place the dung mixture into the pit. When filling the pits make sure that they are not filled more than a brick and a half deep (12cm). Any deeper would take too long to breakdown into humus.
  • The dung should not be tightly packed. Smooth off the top of the dung.
  • Inserting the BD Preps
  1. Make six holes : 2 inches (3-4cm) deep after gently patting the dung into the pit.
  2. Insert 3 sets of preps BD502-506 individually into the holes by placing each into a handful of compost
    • 3 sets of BD502 in a handful of compost into hole #1,
    • 3 sets of BD503 in a handful of compost into hole #2, and so on

3. Then close the holes with some                   compost.

  • Stir BD507 in 350 ml of clean water for 10 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 of stirred BD507 into the remaining hole, then sprinkle the balance evenly over the entire pit and the jute bag that will cover the pit.
  • Place a wet jute sack over the cow pat pit to maintain moisture. (Waterproof covers should be raised at one side to allow water to run off and air to circulate.)

Maintenance

  • Once a month gently turn/aerate with a garden fork, leaving the surface smooth and covered on completion to avoid excessive drying. If manure worms -- Eisenia foetida (gold banded lavender colour) or Lumbricus rebullus (small red) are not already present they can be introduced to aid the later stages of break down.
  • After the first month, turn each week. This will speed up the breakdown process.
  • Remove mature CPP in 3 to 5 months.
  • When ready the CPP will be well broken down with a good humus content. It will have a good earthy smell. It can be used straight away, or stored in an earthen pot in a cool place. Maintain moisture and use within 6 months.
  • The empty pits can be refilled again.

Application of CPP

60 kgs of cow dung gives about 30-35 kgs of CPP after fermentation. 

When it is mature, it is mixed with water at the rate of 1kg in 40 litres of water per acre. This means one CPP pit should be enough to cover 40 acres. It should be stirred for at least 10 minutes as this encourages good bacteria development. For larger areas the greater amount of liquid can be stirred in a 200 litre drum with the tripod stirring arrangement or with the Virbela flowform for 15 minutes before using.

It can be sprinkled or sprayed over the land. If it is sprayed onto trees or foliage, it should be first strained through a fine mesh.

Intended Benefits

CPP is a very effective way of spreading the influence of the compost preparations 502-507 over a large area of farmland, orchard or garden. Well made CPP has within it all the energies associated with the biodynamic preparations 502-507.

It will also contain a wide range of beneficial fungi and bacteria and growth promoting hormones, which can be very helpful in many areas of agriculture and horticulture. It has a wide range of uses.

  • Ground spray at 1kgs per acre CPP to 40 litres of water. Soak overnight prior to application, stir for 10 minutes, if necessary strain through a cotton cloth, and spray as required.
    • Stir with preparation BD500 at 25gms BD500 to 100gm-1kg CPP. Add during the last 15 minutes of stirring.
  • Soil inoculant over land being converted to BD/organic management. Use on the soil around all fruit trees as a soil inoculant or soil conditioner. Use before any mulching is applied around the trees
  • Soil or foliar feed on all crops at all stages except those close to harvest. It can be sprayed every 7 or 14 days. Best sprayed in the evenings. Excellent for all field crops, i.e. wheat, lucerne, paddy and potatoes. Also mangos, papaya, all tropical fruits and citrus, apples, stone fruit, avocados, grapes, coffee and tea. When used as a foliar feed on all fruit trees, it will strengthen the plants against possible fungus or insect attack. Apply every 14 days before and after flowering.
  • Liquid Manure Tonic: stir with any liquid manures at approx. 50gm CPP per gallon. Dissolve in water and use as a liquid manure.
  • Pruning Paste Balm: Add water to a handful of CPP to make a slurry and apply as pruning paste to stop bleeding and help healing. Apply CPP slurry to the barks of trees to stimulate cambium growth, strengthen the bark to bring the good soil micro organisms up onto the tree.
  • Root Dippings: use to dip roots of all young trees, shrubs, or grapes prior to planting. This will encourage new root development. Soak seeds in CPP slurry overnight before sowing. If not overnight, soak for at least 30 minutes, dry off, and sow immediately.
  • Seed Soak: soak seeds in CPP slurry overnight before sowing. If not overnight, soak for at least 30 minutes, dry off, and sow immediately. Soak seed potatoes for 1 hour before planting. Dip potatoes and dry before planting. This seems to help control late blight. Cuttings can be soaked in CPP slurry overnight to enhance root development.
  • Inoculate Compost: inoculate compost heaps where there is a shortage of biodynamic preparations. Use 1kg of CPP in 40 litres of water for each 5 metres of compost and pour into holes along the top of the heap.
  • Spray Tonic: use as one component of the sequence of BD sprays of BD500 > BD501 > CPP (in which BD 502-507 have been incorporated). This brings the effects of all the BD preparations onto the land over a short period. This seems to give strength and quality to the plants.