BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION 500
Cow horns (about 20-40) are collected, cleaned by removal of residues from within the horns. Fresh cattle dung is collected from a healthy female lactating cow. A pit of dimension 12x18x12 inches is dug in fertile land (shady area will be preferred). Soil dug out of the pit is mixed with dried cattle dung with little added moisture to make the soil enriched (Figure 12.4). Cow horns are then filled with fresh cow dung and place in upright position tip of horn pointing upwards, in the pit. The soil mixed with dried cattle dung and moisture is placed into the pit and covered with natural materials to prevent the soil from getting diy. The moisture in the pit is maintained at an appropriate level by sprinkling water on and around the pit once a week except during the rainy periods, till the time of harvest (November-December). This is continued until the six month period is up. After six months (March-April), the horns are retrieved from the pit, and biofertilizer is harvested (Proctor, 2006). BD 500 acts inoculum of soil microbes and can be added to the soil (at the rate of 1 gram per hectare) by diluting with chemical-free water along with the use of organic compost for the cultivation of crops.
FIGURE 12.3 A detailed design of a vermiwash unit.
Organic waste such as Water hyacinth and Bermuda glass (used as waste); along with dried cattle dung, are collected. Cattle dung is mixed with water to make a liquid solution. Water hyacinth is placed on a flat surface longitudinal about 48 inches in length and 5 inches high, then another layer of Bermuda grass with the same measurement as the water hyacinth. Cow dung solution is then added uniformly after each layer. Step 3 is repeated two more tunes to make a total of three layers, and then the compost material is covered with a plastic sheet, ensuring all edges are kept down. Temperature is monitored every week for a period of three months. After eveiy 15 days, the compost heap is turned so that the top layer will be at the bottom, and the bottom layer on top, also the heaps are sprayed with cattle dung solution after turning of each layer. Biodung compost is harvested after three months.
FIGURE 12.4 Biodynamic preparation 500 set-ups.
ORGANIC INPUTS IN SOIL AND IMPACT
Organic amendments like vermicompost, BD 500 and biodung compost promote humification, increased microbial activity and enzyme production, which, in turn, increase the aggregate stability of soil particles, resulting in better aeration (Tisdale and Oades, 1982; Dong et al., 1983; Haynes and Swift, 1990; Periled, 1990). Organic matter has a property of binding mineral particles like calcium, magnesium, and potassium in the form of colloids of humus and clay, facilitating stable aggregates of soil particles for desired porosity to sustain plant growth (Haynes, 1986). Soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity are important indicators of soil improvement as a result of the addition of organic matter (Pemcci, 1990). Apart from these, earthworm castings are repotted to contain plant growth promoters, such as auxins and cytokinins (Krishnamoorthy and Vajranabhaiah, 1986). Vermiwash, a liquid fertilizer produced by the action of earthworms, contains soluble plant nutrients, some organic acids, mucus, and microbes, that have proved to be effective, both as a biological fertilizer (as a foliar spray) as well as a pesticide (Pramoth, 1995; Ismail, 1997; Kale, 1998).
The high content of organic matter in compost and the resultant effects of the organic matter on the humic fractions and nutrients in soil effectively increase the microbial population, activity, and enzyme production, which in turn increases aggregate stability (Tisdale and Oades, 1982; Dong et al., 1983; Haynes and Swift, 1990; Perucci, 1990). Humic acid and fulvic acid are important as persistent binding agents in mineral organic complexes, and 52 to 92% of soil organic matter may be involved in these complexes (Edwards and Bremner, 1967; Hamblin, 1977). Increased plant litter incorporation, improved aggregation, better aeration, and water relationships and the development of mull characteristics can be observed soils amended with organic inputs. These improvements in soil structure were confirmed by soil morphological studies, as illustrated by Rogaar and Boswinkel (1978). On the contrary there was reduction in organic carbon in plots treated with chemical fertilizers which may be due to negligible organic matter as input, moreover chemical inputs cause degradation of the soil structure resulting in unfavorable conditions for crop growth in an already difficult soil (Pagliai et al., 1983a, b; Shipitalo and Protz, 1988).
Vennicompost, one of the important types of compost, contains earthworm casts that are reported to be higher in available nitrogen (De Vleeschauwer and Lai, 1981) which enhance the activity and number of microorganisms (Stewart and Chaney, 1975; Satchell and Martin, 1984; Satchell et al., 1984). An increase in soil nitrogen through the application of vennicompost is likely to be due to the stimulation of microbial activity specifically through increase in the colonization of nitrogen fixers and acti- nomycetes (Kale 1998; Borkenet al., 2002). Much of the effect of application of compost on crop yield and productivity is derived from the plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen in composts (Woodbury, 1992; Maynard, 1993; Ozores-Hampton et al., 1994). Reports indicate that adequate quantities of phosphoms and potassium were supplied by compost application to the soil (Smith, 1992; Maynard, 1993; Ozores-Hampton et al., 1994). Vennicompost is reported to contain desired quantity of phosphoms (De Vleeschauwer and Lai, 1981) which enhances the activity and number of microorganisms producing acid-phosphatases in the soil (Satchell and Martin, 1984; Satchell et al., 1984). Synergistically, these specific effects appear to raise phosphorus availability in soils amended with vermicom- post (Buchanan and Gliessman, 1990).
Vennicompost application in the wheat-paddy cropping system has been reported to increase crop yield (Sharma and Mittra, 1991; Ismail,
1997). This is because nutrients present in vennicompost are readily available to the plants (Ismail, 1997; Rajkliowa et al., 2000). The effect of application of organic amendments like vennicompost on crop yield and production is derived from the plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen (Woodbury, 1992; Maynard, 1993; Ozores-Hampton et al., 1994). Organic phosphorus solubilized by microbial activity in composts like the vennicompost is more effective for plant absorption (Mishra and Banger, 1986; Singh et al., 1987). The reduced cost of cultivation, less cost-benefit ratio and higher net income has been recorded in wheat and paddy cultivation through vennitech compared with the use of chemical fertilizers along with the other economically important crops like peanut (Arochis hypo- gaea) and brinjal (Solatium melongena) by organic methods (Ismail, 1997). Organic fanning has proved to be environment-friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective (Reganold et al., 2001).
Experiments on the effect of earthwonns and vennicompost on the cultivation of vegetables like tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum), brinjal (iSolarium melongena), and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) have yielded significant results (Ismail, 1997). Vennicompost, as an organic input, has been applied to grow vegetables and other crops successfiilly (Ismail, 1997). The application of composts like vennicompost could contribute to the increased availability of food (Ouedraogo et al., 2001). This is attributed to better growth of plants and higher yield by slow release of nutrients for absorption with additional nutrients like gibberellin, cyto- kinin, and auxins, by the application of organic inputs like vennicompost in combination with vermiwash (Raviv et al., 1998; Subler et al., 1998; Lalitha et al., 2000). The yield of potato and the average weight of potato tubers were significantly higher in plots treated with vennicompost. This may be attributed to the increased bioavailability of phosphoms by the application of the organic amendment in the form of vennicompost (Erich et al., 2002).
Organic manure like vennicompost and venniwash, when added to soil, augment crop growth and yield (Lalitha et al., 2000). The yields of spinach and onion in response to diluted venniwash along with vennicompost was highly significant which may be due to increased availability of more exchangeable nutrients in the soil by the application of vermiwash along with vennicompost (Ponomareva, 1950; Finck, 1952; Nijhawan and Kanwar, 1952; Nye, 1955; Atlavinyte and Vanagas, 1973, 1982; Czerwinski et al., 1974; Watanabe, 1975; Cook et al., 1980; Tiwari et al., 1989). Concern about the environment and the economic and social impacts of chemical or conventional agriculture has led to many thinking groups seeking alternative practices that will make agriculture more suitable. Biodynamic fanning practices and systems have shown promise in mitigating some of the detrimental effects of chemical-dependent, conventional agriculture on the environment (Reganold et al., 1993).
Soils are critical to productivity of both agriculture and natural ecosystems. Soil is an integral system, which is to be maintained through the sustainability of nutrient resources. The continuous worldwide soil degradation by erosion, chemicals, acidification, and physical abuse requires management in terms of soil quality. The use of organic amendments augmented with venniteclmology could be adopted as a means for crop production and soil stability. The use of combinations of organic amendments such as vermiwash, and vennicompost can effectively bring about an improvement in soil quality; enhance microbial population and impact crop productivity, thereby bringing about long term sustainability. Considering all aspects, such as studies on soil health, the yield of crops, and the cost-effectiveness of venniteclmology as a means of microbial innovation, it is concluded such technology could be applied for sustainable soil enrichment and crop productivity.
- • biodung composting
- • biodynamic farming
- • biofertilizer
- • chemical fertilizer
- • microbial activity
- • microorganism
- • organic input
- • organic matter
- • soil fertility
- • soil health
- • soil quality
- • vermicompost
- • vermitechnology
- • vermiwash
Ansari, A. A. Effect of vermicompost on the productivity of Potato (Solatium tuberosum), Spinach (Spinach oleracea) and Turnip (Brassica campestris). World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2008, 4(3), 333-336.
Ansari, A. A., & Sukhraj, K. Effect of vermiwash and vermicompost on soil parameters and productivity of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) in Guyana. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Research, 2010, 23, 3-4.
Ansari, A. A., Ismail, S. A. A case study on organic farming in Uttar Pradesh. Journal of Soil Biolog}', 2001, 27, 25-27.
Atlavinyte, O., & Yanagas, J. Mobility of nutritive substances in relation to earthworm numbers in the soil. Pedobiologia, 1973,13, 344-352.
Atlavinyte, О., & Yanagas, J. The effect of earthworms on the quality of barley and lye and grain. Pedobiologia, 1982, 23, 256-262.
Borken, W., Muhs, A., & Beese, F. Changes in microbial and soil properties following compost treatment of degraded temperate forest soils. Soil Biol. Biochem., 2002, 34, 403-A2.
Buchanan, R. A., & Gliessman, S. R. The influence of conventional and compost fertilization on phosphorus use efficiency by broccoli in a phosphorus deficient soil. Am. J. Alt. Agile., 1990, 5(1), 38-46.
Cook, A. G., Critchley, B. R., & Critchley, U. Effects of cultivation and DDT on earthworm activity in a forest soil in the sub-humid tropics. J. Appl. Ecol, 1980, 77(1), 21-29.
Czenvinski, Z., Jakubczyk, H., & Nowak, E. Analysis of sheep pasture ecosystem in the Pieniny Mountains (The Carpathians). XII. The effect of earthworms on pasture soil. Ekol. Pol.. 1974, 22, 635-650.
De Vleeschauwer, D. D., & Lai, R. Properties of worm casts under secondary tropical forest regrowth. Soil Sci., 1981.132, 175-181.
Dong, A., Chester, G., & Simsiman, G. V. Soil dispersibility. J. Soil Sci., 1983, 736(4), 208-212.
Edwards, A. P., & Bremmer, J. M. Microaggregates in soils. J. Soil Sci., 1967, 75(1), 64-73.
Erich, M. S., Fitzgerald, С. B., & Porter, G. A. The effect of organic amendments on phosphorus chemistry in a potato cropping system. Agile. Ecosys. Environ., 2002, S<$(1), 79-88.
Finck, A., Okologische und bodenkimdliche studien tiber die leistungen der regenwlirmer fur die bodenfmchtbarkeit. Z. PflEnxa.hr Diing, 1952, 58, 120-145.
Hamblin, A. P. Structural features of aggregates in some East Anglian silt soils. J. Soil Sci., 1977, 2S(1), 23-28.
Haynes, R. J. The decomposition process mineralization, immobilization, humus formation and degradation. In: Haynes, R. J., (eds.), Mineral Nitrogen in the Plant-Soil System (pp. 52-186). Academic Press, New York, 1986.
Haynes, R. J., & Swift, R. S. Stability of soil aggr egates in relation to organic constituents and soil water content. J. Soil Sci., 1990, 41(1), 73-83.
Heimler, D., Yignolini, P., Arfaioli, P, Isolani, L., & Romani, A. Conventional organic and biodynamic fanning: differences in polyphenol content and antioxidant activity of Batavia lettuce. J. Sci. Food Agric., 2012, 92(3), 551-556.
Ismail, S. A. The Earthworm Book (pp. 1-101). Other India Press, Mapusa, Goa, 2005.
Ismail, S. A. Vermicology: The Biology of Earthworms (pp. 1-92). Orient Longman Press, Hyderabad. 1997.
ICale, R. D. Earthworm Cinderella of Organic Farming (pp. 1-88). Prism Book Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India, 1998.
Kirk, J. L., Beandette, L. A., Hart, M., Moutoglis, P, Klironomos, J. N., Lee, H., & Trevors, J. T. Methods of studying soil microbial diversity. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 2004, 58, 169-188.
Krishnamoorthy, R. V., & Vajranabhaiah, S. N. Biological activity of earthworm casts: An assessment of plant gr owth promoter levels in the casts. Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Aninx. Sci.), 1986, 95(3), 341-351.
Lalitha, R., Fathima, K., & Ismail, S. A. Impact of biopesticides and microbial fertilizers on productivity and growth of Abelmoschus esculentus. Vasundhara - The Earth, 2000, 1 & 2, 4-9.
Maynard, A. Evaluating the suitability of MSW compost as a soil amendment in field growth tomatoes. Part A: Yield of tomatoes. Compost Sci. Util., 1993,1, 34-36.
Mishra, M. M., & Banger, К. C. Rock phosphate comprising: transformation of phosphorus forms and mechanisms of solubilization. Biol. Agric. Hort., 1986, 3, 331.
Nath, G., Singh, K., & Singh, D. Chemical analysis of vermicomposts/vermiwash of different combinations of annual, agro and kitchen wastes. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 2009, 3(4), 3672-3676.
Nijhawan, S. D., & Kanwar, J. S. Physicochemical properties of earthworm castings and their effect on the productivity of soil. Ind. J. Agric. Sci., 1952, 22, 357-373.
Nye, P. H. Some soil-forming processes in the humid tropics. IV. The action of soil fauna. J. Soil Sci.. 1955. 6, 78.
Ouedraogo, E., Mando, A., & Zombie, N. P. Use of compost to improve soil properties and crop productivity under low input agricultural system in West Africa. Agric. Ecosys. Environ., 2001, 84, 259-266.
Ozores-Hampton, M., Schaffer, B., Biyan, H. H., & Hanlon, E. A. Nutrient concentrations, growth and yield of tomato and squash in municipal solid-waste-amended soil. Hort. Sci., 1994,29(7), 785-788.
Pagliai, M., Bisdom, E. B. A., & Ledin, S. Changes in surface structure (crusting) after application of sewage sludges and pig slurry to cultivated agricultural soils in northern Italy. Geoderma, 1983a, 30, 35-53.
Pagliai, M., La Marca, M., & Lucamante, G. Micromorphometric and micromorphological investigations of a clay loam soil in viticulture under zero and conventional tillage. J. SoilSci.. 1983b. 34, 391-403.
Perucci, P. Effect of the addition of municipal solid-waste compost on microbial biomass and enzyme activities in soil. Biol. Fertil. Soils, 1990,10(3), 221-226.
Ponomareva, S. I. The role of earthworms in the creation of a stable structure in ley rotations. Pochvovedenie, 1950, 476-486.
Pramoth,A. Vermtwash-a Potent Bio-Organic Liquid "Ferticide." (pp. 1-29). MSc Dissertation, University of Madias, Chennai, India, 1995.
Proctor, P. Why Biodynamic Agriculture- from Grasp the Nettle. Bio-Dynamic Association of India, Bengaluru, 2006.
Rajkhowa, D. J., Gogoi, A. K., Kandal, R., & Rajkhowa, К. M. Effect of vermicompost on Greengram nutrition. J. Ind. Soc. Soil Sci., 2000, 48(1), 207-208.
Raviv, M., Zaidman, B. Z., & Kapulnik, Y. The use of compost as a peat substitute for organic vegetable transplants production. Compost Science and Utilization, 1998, 6(1), 46-52.
Reganold, J. P., Glover, J. D., Andrews, P. K., & Himnan, H. R. Sustainability of three apple production systems. Nature, 2001, 410, 926-925.
Reganold, J. P., Palmer, A. S., Lockhart, J. C., & Macgrogor, A. N. Soil quality and financial performance of biodynamic and conventional farms in New Zealand. Science, 1993. 260, 344-349.
Rogaar, H., & Boswinkel, J. A. Some soil morphological effects of earthworm activity, field data and X-ray radiography. Neth. J. Agric. Sci., 1978,26,145-160.
Satchell, J. E., & Martin, K. Phosphatase activity in earthworm species. Soil Biol. Biochem., 1984. 16(2), 191-194.
Satchell, J. E., Martin, K., & Krishnamoorthy, R. V. Stimulation of microbial phosphatase production by earthworm activity. Soil Biol. Biochem., 1984,16(2), 195.
Scott, L. C. The Myth of Biodynamic Agriculture. Puyallup Research and Extension Centre, Washington State University, USA, 2005.
Shanna, A. R., & Mittra, B. N. Effect of different rates of application of organic and nitrogen fertilizers in a rice-based cropping system. J. Agric. Sci.. 1991, 777(3),313-318.
Shipitalo, M. J., & Protz, R. Factors influencing the dispersibility of clay in worm casts. SoilSci. Soc. Am. J., 1988. 52(3), 764-769.
Singh, С. P, Singh, Y. P., & Singh, M. Effect of different carbonaceous compounds on the transformation of soil nutrients. II. Immobilization and mineralization of phosphorus. Biol. Agric. Hort., 1987. 4(4), 301-307.
Smith, S. R., 1992. Sewage sludge and refuse composts as peat alternatives for conditioning impoverished soils: Effects on the growth response and mineral status of Petunia grandiflora. J. Hort. Sci., 1992. 67(5), 703-716.
Subler, S., Edwards, C. A., & Metzer, J. Comparing vermicomposts and composts. Biocycle, 1998. 39, 63-66.
Tisdale, J. L., & Oades, J. M. Organic matter and water-stable aggregates in soil. J. Soil Set., 1982, 33(2), 141-163.
Tiwari, S. C., Tiwari, В. K., & Mishra, R. R. Microbial populations, enzyme activities and nitrogen-phosphoms-potassium enrichments in earthworm casts and in the surrounding soil of a pineapple plantation. Biol. Fertil. Soils, 1989, 8, 178-182.
Watanabe, H. On the amount of cast production by the megascolecid earthworm Pheretima hupeiensis. Pedobioligia, 1975,15, 20-28.
Woodbury, P. B. Trace elements in municipal solid waste composts: A review of potential detrimental effects on plants, soil biota, and water quality. Biomass and Bioenergy, 1992, 3(3/4), 239-259.