We are often asked what the term “biodynamics” means. My response is simply that it’s an holistic approach to farming. Just as a naturopath looks at an illness by considering all aspects of the body, we solve agricultural problems by looking at the entire farm, and seeing where improvements can be made. Just as one’s own body health includes diet, exercise, cleanliness, etc., so the farm’s health is made up of different elements all working together. We are constantly aware of how changes in one area of the farm impacts other areas, either positively or negatively, and work to minimize the negative.
One such example is the need to reduce the impact of an particular insect on the farm – yellowjackets. We will not use poisons because it will have an adverse effect on other, non-harmful insects. We do not even necessarily want to kill off the yellowjackets – just reduce their numbers, which in turn will reduce their negative impact on the farm.
To achieve this, we capture several of them in a trap. We then use a biodynamic process to combine the remains of the yellowjackets with some other materials to make a tea. That tea, which acts as a natural repellant, is then sprayed in those areas that we want the wasps to avoid.
Not only have we noticed a significant reduction in yellowjackets in the areas that were treated with the tea, but we have also seen an increase in beneficial insects and birds in those same areas.
Nature helps us strike a balance on the farm, and as long as we are working with that balance in mind, we, along with our grapes, garden, animals and ultimately our wine, all thrive.
Wayne Bailey will be hosting a Biodynamics class at Youngberg Hill on July 26th. Visit our calender of events for more details.