a1 Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Institute for Organic Farming, University of Maribor, Pivola 10, 2311 Hoče, Slovenia.
Biodynamic (BD) agriculture became the subject of research efforts during the past decades, whereas a part of the scientific community looks at the BD method with skepticism and marks it as dogmatic. Nevertheless, as explored in this review, a fair share of the available peer-reviewed research results of controlled field experiments as well as case studies show effects of BD preparations on yield, soil quality and biodiversity. Moreover, BD preparations express a positive environmental impact in terms of energy use and efficiency. However, the underlying natural science mechanistic principle of BD preparations is still under investigation. In addition, quality determination methods, based on holistic approaches, are increasingly being investigated and recognized. BD farming strives, as manifested in several publications, to positively impact cultural landscape design as well. Summarized data showed that further research is needed and thus encouraged in the field of food quality comparison/determination, food safety, environmental performance (e.g., footprints), and on the effects of BD farming practices on farm animals.
(Accepted February 20 2009)