Livestock

The integration and maintenance of livestock is a valuable tool of biodynamic farm management. Within the context of the farm individuality and ecology, the grower should strive to have a mixed livestock population in order to help establish and sustain a self-sufficient system of fertility.
In situations where the presence of only a small number of livestock is possible, it is recommended that a cow be present in order to provide the manure for making Preparation 500 on the farm.
Wherever possible the Demeter Association supports the principle of integrating livestock back into agronomic systems, verses separating livestock from the land in large industrial feed lots. Their contribution to the fertility dynamics, crop rotation etc. of a farm is significant. Certifying a livestock product to the Demeter standard is not an easy task, and it takes significant long-term focus to bring a farming system to a place where livestock certification is possible. It is recognised that many people who sincerely want to integrate livestock into their farming system do not have the land base and other resources available to meet the Demeter standard for certified livestock products. For this reason, Demeter will allow exemptions from the livestock requirement for farms that wish to be certified to the Demeter standard. The land base on which the animals reside is NOT exempt from the requirements of the Demeter Farm Standard. When imported animals are introduced to the farm, care must be taken to ensure that they have not recently been treated with any prohibited materials in order to ensure that their manure does not contaminate the farm.
If a farming operation imports manure from outside the farm, the imported manure is ideally from a local livestock operation and does not require unnecessary consumption of the earth’s natural resources to transport the manure from its source to the farm.

Note: This is an excerpt of "Biodynamic Farm Standard (2010). Demeter Association Inc."