An organic management system is not one that uses certain methods or substances and avoids others, but a farm whose structure is formed by the imitation of a natural system structure which has integrity, independence and the benign dependence of a “Wendell-Berry” organism”, The gift of Good Earth”
Organic viticulture avoids the use of synthetic chemical products and uses natural methods such as crop rotation, the application of natural fertilizers to maintain the soil’s health, as well as natural methods to control weeds, insects and other plagues.
Instead of using fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, our management model is based on applying compost, favoring predator-prey relations and on the relationships of the animals that live in our state establishment, in order to maintain a healthy and balanced vineyard.
In order to control some fungal diseases that affect vines, the application of elements from the mineral world, such as sulfur, as well as organic elements, like mushrooms, that fight botrytis and powdery mildew.
Currently, the entire Matetic vineyards equivalent to 168 hectares and have organic certification from IMO.
Biodynamic Agriculture is a method developed in 1924 as an application of the Anthroposophy principles of Rudolf Steiner.
The term biodynamic comes from the Greek bios (life) and dynamic (energy) and means that this method works with the energies not just in a physical sense of the word, but on the mystic one that creates and maintains life, seeking a relationship that is considered as correct between man and earth.
The biodynamic method proposes certain principles to guarantee the health of both the soil and plants, in order to achieve a healthy nutrition for animals and human beings.
- Biodynamic Agriculture generates the fertility of the land by means of natural methods. For this, it develops specific fertilizer production methods.
- It proposes an agricultural and fishing agro-system that is less dependent on external factors such as resources and services.
- It takes care of the farmer and their family’s training, looking for a sustainable balance with the natural resources.
Biodynamic, or biological-dynamic agriculture is a sustainable ecological agricultural system which includes many of the ideas of ecological or organic agriculture, but existed before terms like “organic” existed to describe it. In 1924, a group of farmers worried about the future of agriculture, asked Rudolf Steiner for help. He responded with a series of lessons about agriculture. This was the origin of biodynamics, which nowadays is practiced in a large part of Europe, North-America and Asia.
An essential concept of these conferences was “to individualize” the farm: produce all the materials required such as manure and fodder within what is called the farm organism, without introducing (or introducing little) external materials. Other aspects of biodynamic agricultural inspired by the Steiner conferences include temporary activities such as planting in relation to the lunar and planetary cycles. As well as applying prepared materials (which consist of natural materials processed in a specific manner) to the soil, to piles of compost and to plants, with the intention of implying non-physical beings and elemental forces. Steiner, in his lessons, encouraged his listeners to check his suggestions scientifically, as he had not done so yet.
The first decades of agriculture in the twentieth century began by using inorganic fertilizers, such as condensed air nitrogen and then applying it on the fields. Steiner believed that the introduction of this chemical agriculture was very damaging, stating: “Mineral fertilizer is something that must completely end in time, as the effect of any type of mineral fertilization, after a while, is that the products harvested in the fields treated in this way lose their nutritional value. This is an absolutely general law.”
Steiner was convinced that the food quality in his time had been degraded. He believed that the source of the problem was the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides from chemical agriculture. Yet he did not believe that this was solely due to the chemical or biological properties related with these substances, but also due to the spiritual shortcomings in all the chemical focus on agriculture. Steiner considered the world, and all that is in it, as something of a simultaneous spiritual and material nature. A focus called monism. He also believed that material life was different to material death. In other words, Steiner believed that the synthetic nutrients were not like the more alive ones.
The name “biologic dynamic” or “biodynamic” was coined by Steiner’s followers. A central aspect of biodynamics is that the whole farm is seen as one organism and therefore, it must be a closed system that is self-fed with the preparations. The diseases of the organisms must not be treated in isolation, but as a symptom of problems in the whole group.
Even though the number of biodynamic farms in the world is relatively low, in 2006, around a quarter of the farms in India had adopted biodynamic practices, just as AGRICOLA CERES has done.
FERTILITY AND BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION
Cow guano, is a preparation based on fresh cow dung which is left to mature placed in cow horns around 20 to 30 cm underground.
This preparation is used for the fertility and activation of the microorganisms in the soil; it stimulates the growth of the main roots and capillary roots. It is also used for the reinforcement of the soil’s humus formation processes. The preparation is made and buried during the Fall equinox and is left to mature for 6 months, that is to say, it is dug out after the Spring equinox.
It is applied directly on the soil on the whole field, diluted in previously invigorated water for 1 hour in one minute sequences each turn. The preparation 500 behaves like an earthworm substitute species. An application must be made in spring before cultivating the land or before cutting the grass in the case of a coverage crop with a second application in the fall, during the post-harvest period. The applications must be made during the afternoon (after 3 o’clock) in the declination period, ideally on a root day.
In the areas where Biodynamic Compost was not applied, this application of cow guano must be complemented with Barrel Compost (which is added at the time of invigorating), so that all the plantation’s areas receive the Biodynamic preparations.
Silica, is a preparation based on quartz which is obtained from the same stones found in the field which are ground to dust in a mortar, which is then wet with a little water, stored in cow’s horns and buried 50 cm down after the spring equinox. It is then dug up after the fall equinox, later stored in jars which are kept exposed to light. The preparation is used to improve the plant’s metabolism. It is a protector, balancer, it stimulates the growth of stems and leaves, and also stimulates the chlorophyllic assimilation processes.
For this, it must be applied early in the mornings in the inclination periods (before midday and between June 21st and December 21st), ideally close to the flowering period.
It can also be used to favor or accelerate the fruit’s maturing. For this it must be applied during the afternoon (after 3 o’clock) several weeks before harvest.
The preparation is applied directly on the field diluted in water, previously invigorated for 1 hour in minute sequences each turn. It is applied on the plants in the early morning in pulverized fine particles. It must be applied to the whole crop at least once a year. On carrots or maize plants it must be done in the afternoon; it cannot be sprayed on lettuces and cabbages that start to sprout.
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium). This preparation is made with the yarrow flowers obtained from the field. After the spring equinox, the flowers are introduced into a deer’s bladder which is then hung in the sun, in a place where air circulates, protected from insects and frosts. Then after the fall equinox, it is taken down and buried until after the following spring equinox. One-year-old preparation.
This preparation is used to inoculate compost, it is an energy conductor, it stimulates the use of sulfur and potassium by the vegetables during their growth and, as a result, on the formation and the balance of the proteins and carbon hydrates. This preparation, just like the rest acts as a biocatalyst.
Chamomile, (Matricaria Chamomilla). This preparation is made with chamomile flowers that are collected in season. These are left to dry in the shade to later be moistened with rain or well water and introduced in a cow’s thin intestine during the fall equinox, to then be buried between two tiles 30 cm down.
This preparation stimulates the growth of the plant, as chamomile contains a hormone which stimulates the multiplication of yeast, as well as providing calcium.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.). This preparation is made by chopping the nettle in approximate 1/2 centimeter sections, which is then buried between two tiles forming a cylinder during December. It is dug up a year later.
This preparation is used to help structure the soils, it has Iron, stimulates the Nitrogen fixation and is also the coordinator of the preparations. This is the masculine and feminine preparation. It is used to inoculate the compost.
Oak bark (Quercus robur or Quercus alba). This preparation is made by scraping the bark of an old oak (over 30 years old) with a wood file, and introducing it into the hollow head of a cow or sheep. The bark must be chopped as finely as possible and placed through the rear hole of the brains cavity, pushing it in until this is completely filled. All the holes in the skull must be covered with pieces of cork.
The head is buried about 40 to 50 cm down just below the torrent of a gorge or watercourse after the fall equinox and is unburied after the spring equinox.
It is used as calcium against fungal diseases, it is rich in microorganisms. It is used to inoculate the compost.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis). This preparation is made with dandelion flowers which are moistened with rain or well water and then introduced into a kind of balloon made with cow’s mesentery; the mesentery corresponds to the fabrics which cover the animal’s stomach.
This mesentery is buried between two clay tiles around 60 cm down in the fall equinox and is unburied after the spring equinox.
This preparation is also used to inoculate the compost, it helps to improve the metabolism.
Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis). This preparation is made with Valerian flowers that are collected in the morning, which are ground and pressed to extract a liquid which must be filtered and then fermented in a glass bottle. If it is necessary, later the filtering process is repeated until eliminating the fine particles.
This is done at the end of December or beginning of January. Once the fermentation is over, the liquid is stored in a glass container. This preparation matures with storage and can be preserved for several years and be used while it maintains its fruity aroma.
It helps the harmony, relaxation and with the compost’s temperature, it also adds phosphorus. It is used to stimulate the flowering; it also attracts earthworms from the ground and stimulates their multiplication.
It is used to inoculate the compost. For this, 5 to 10 drops are diluted in 10 liters of water and it is invigorated for 10 minutes before being applied by splashing the compost piles using a branch.
Common Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), from this medicinal plant there are several species, of which the most ideal for this preparation is the E. arverse menor, the common horsetail is the only one of the group of cryptogams that is used in the elaboration of the preparations.
This is done with the plant’s stem which is collected without the roots from June through to May, which is the period in which more silica is concentrates. It is left to dry under the shade on paper in thin layers, this preparation may be made in two ways:
1. Boiled: slowly boil 500 g of dry common horsetail in 10 liters of rainwater for 30 to 40 minutes, before the end of the boiling, 50g of wood ash are usually added; filter and then leave to rest for one to three days until a putrid smell appears. Then it can be diluted in 100 liters of water. This preparation can be stored for a maximum of two weeks, apply with very fine drops to the whole field, having being previously invigorated.
Slurry: this is obtained by placing 3 kilos of the dry plant in a mesh sack which is kept submerged at the bottom of a container which contains 100 liters of rainwater, at a temperature of 15ºC for 10 days. By then, a film will have formed on the surface which indicates the end of the acidic fermentation. This liquid can be stored for two weeks without removing the film from the surface.
It is important to mention that for both preparations, exclusive elements must be used for the preparation.
This preparation acts as a fungicide. It is applied during the morning.
BARREL COMPOST PREPARATION
This preparation is made by mixing 10 buckets of fresh cow dung (with the consistency of a paste) with 200 grams of finely ground egg shell. 1 kilo of ground basalt (volcanic rock) is added.
The mixture is made for approximately an hour in the ground on a pressboard. Then, half the mixture is transferred to a bottomless barrel that had been buried 50 cm, a pinch of each one of the compost preparations (502-503-504-505-506) is added and it is covered with the other half of the mixture. 5 drops of Valerian Preparation (507) are dissolved in a liter of water, it is invigorated, then added into the mixture and the barrel is covered.
After 6 weeks, it is then removed, mixed for an hour, half is tipped into the barrel, the preparations are added and then the other half and the Valerian preparation. Another 6-week period later, it is now ready for use.
The ready preparation must be stored in clay pots, taking care that the right humidity is maintained.
This preparation is applied directly on the field, previously watered down and invigorated (for 1 hour). It can be applied along with the cow guano preparation (500) in the periods in which this is applied. It must, by obligation, be applied in all areas where the bio-dynamic compost is not applied, so that in this way all the sectors receive the preparations at least once a year.
To inoculate the compost piles one must have the 502, 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 preparations. These are incorporated following the diagram in figure 5-1.
With the exception of 507, the preparations are incorporated in doses of one teaspoon for every 10 tons of compost. This portion is incorporated by excavating around 30 cm into the pile (Image 5-1)
Preparation 507 is applied by diluting 5 to 10 drops in 10 liters of water and invigorating (Image 5-2) for 10 minutes before being applied by splashing compost piles using a yarrow or valerian branch. (Image 5-3)
STORAGE OF THE PREPARATIONS
All the preparations which are prepared year-to-year are stored individually in clay covered pots, in a location protected from the effects of the weather. This place is located to the side of a gorge through which winter waters flow, far from electricity sources and protected from an excess of summer sunlight and excess of winter waters. It is kept closed with minimal natural light, only having access to it periodically for moistening and stirring each preparation.
EQUINOX AND SOLSTICE:
This singular date has been taken as the start of all nature’s renewal. It is the astronomical starting point of the alchemic principal Ignis Natura Renovatur Integram (fire incessantly renews nature) (INRI). And this is due to the astronomical explanation from which the earth, in its elliptic path around the sun, reaches the point in which its days and nights are the same, in hours of light and darkness. For many other countries at the polar extremes, where a ray of light is the difference between living or perishing, the difference between one and another seasons is of great importance.
With that in mind, starting from this point in which the day and night are the same in length, the sun begins to be little by little, day by day, the king in the firmament, given that every moment the hours of light are becoming greater than those of darkness until the sun predominates up to achieving the longest day of the year.
The sun is present all spring shining with intensity and renewing nature. Here we have to remember that the sun is the life for all living beings on the planet and each day the sun begins to win presence until reaching its maximum point which we call the longest day of the year, this is in terms of hours of light, and it is this date that is called Summer Solstice, coinciding with the St. John’s Day.
The earth, in its elliptical path around the sun, generates the seasons. We know that this is due to the inclination of the earth’s axis in combination with the perpendicularity or verticality of the sun rays striking the earth. We have already said that there was a moment in which the sun dominated most of the day, but starting from June 23rd again the darkness begins to gain territory and it what we could call, in a poetic manner, the fight between day and night or between light and darkness begins. Therefore, the day will lose presence and the night will gain hours of darkness, little by little, until reaching a point where they will again be equal. This is the equinox where the fall begins.
The night begins to gain presence and the sun is weakening. This untiring light which in some moment reigns during the longer part of the day now is weakened and begins to succumb, little by little, to the black attack of the night. And thus it will arrive, quite weakened, and the night will be strengthened and gain space until establishing itself as the queen and generating the longest night of the year, date in which the darkness reigns, day in which the shadows reign. This date commemorates that in the winter solstice the sun will be born bringing the hope of life. And why do we say that the sun is born this day? It is because upon the night reaching its maximum point of predominance, the sun again begins to gain strength and presence, day by day, until once again equaling its forces and arriving with the same intensity to the next spring equinox. With this, a cycle of nature is completed, a life cycle of the living beings of this planet. Bringing with it the hope of Ignis Natura Renovatur Integram .