http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/201 ... ite=tropic
Organic farmers put horns in the ground for winter
By Laura Hegarty and Kim Kleidon
Biodynamic farming is considered by some to be a bit of hocus-pocus, but one family is inviting people to take part in a horn burial ceremony and witness the results for themselves.
Deb McLucas from Freckle Farm in Eton, west of Mackay, says they'll pack manure into around 100 cow horns and bury them in the soil until they're ready for retrieval in spring.
"What happens is, over winter, the cosmic forces, that is the energy that drives our universe, is at its peak and the activity in the soil is at maximum," explained Deb.
"So we're putting it in during autumn so all that biology that's in the soil is attracted to that manure and the manure transforms into potent compost."
Deb says the process helps the soil develop humus and structure, while also attracting earthworms and other micro-organisms which keep the soil healthy throughout the year.
"But we don't do it running around naked at full moon like some people imagine," she said.
Deb says many people are curious about biodynamics and she hopes their workshops can turn them into practitioners.
"People can share the product and take it home and use it in their garden," she said.
"I just love to see people make a start. That's what one of our mentors always says, 'the only way you can fail in biodynamics is by not starting'."
A birth into biodynamics
Both Deb and her husband Rob were brought up on conventional farms but ventured into biodynamic practices around five years ago.
"We had a strong interest in working out how we could farm in a more sustainable way but also to produce more healthy food," she said.
"Straight away it just clicked it was the missing link for us."
Now they're teaching their alternative farming to their three young daughters.
"They've been filling cow horns with manure since they were two... they think it's totally normal," said Deb.
They've even taken some methods to their broad acre grain farm near Dysart.
"It's really enhanced the productivity and sustainability of that farm as well," she said.
"The use of things like the horn manure preparation, it improves soil structure and water holding capacity so that when you do get big rainfall events it's able to hold the moisture and not get so water logged and have so much running off.
"I wouldn't like to suggest that we've made huge changes but we're definitely seeing improvements in soil structure and we're definitely seeing an improvement in terms of the health of our plants and animals since we've been implementing these practices."
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