The Big Dry

Harvest Article – Summer 2015

Biodynamic farmer Ian Henderson describes how the Milmore Downs team have shepherded their farm through the worst drought in its history.

Milmore Downs is a 302-hectare mixed livestock and cropping farm that has been Demeter-certified since 1983. It is also one of the longest-certified BioGro organic properties in New Zealand (BioGro no. 019).
It’s in an area that has seen some of the worst of the recent drought, and may yet see more of the same

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The Cow and The Vine

Harvest Article – Winter 2015

By Shane Livingston

We all know about the important role cows play in biodynamics. Cows gift us horns and other body parts to be used as sheaths for the making of the preparations. They also give us dung for use in preparation 500, compost and barrel compost.

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contact nz biodynamics

Biodynamics Wine Growers – Wine and Wonder

Harvest Article – Summer 2016

James Millton, the original biodynamic winegrower in the Southern Hemisphere, reflects on a career of learning to dance with Mother Nature.

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Farming Empathy

Harvest Magazine Article – Spring 2018

Dairy farmer Laura Beck describes how farm individuality arises out of a farmer’s integration with her animals, land and community.

I’ve been playing with the idea of what farm individuality means for a few years now and letting the idea slowly evolve in my head and my senses.

When I first started this farm almost five years ago, I was whirring with the different, varied and many needs to get the farm and the business up and running. I didn’t give myself much space to sit and be present in the farm. But, slowly over the years, the daily rhythm has crept into the pulse of my body and there are times that I can see things in a new, fresh way. These times happen mostly when I am entirely present with the cows that live on the farm.

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Su Hoskin at Domaine Thomson, Central Otago, New Zealand, demonstrates how to make biodynamic horn manure

Making Horn Manure at Domaine Thompson

Videographer Colin Ross is our newest council member and he hasn’t wasted any time in putting his skills to use. He’s captured a recent horn manure-making session led by Su Hoskin at Domaine Thomson. Check it out!

Colin is already well-known to many in the NZ biodynamic community from his years managing Seresin Estate in Marlborough. He’s a passionate biodynamic educator and, along with the legendary Rachel Pomeroy, ran a very successful pre-conference introductory course in biodynamics in May this year.

We’ll be showcasing another of Colin’s videos in the next couple of weeks, so bookmark our YouTube channel or come back here for updates!

Cover image for "Why cows have horns"

Why Cows Have Horns

“Why cows have horns” is a resource compiled by the cattle breeding group of the Swiss Biodynamic Association in conjunction with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and co-published by the NZ Biodynamic Association.

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Suckling calf

Ethical Calf-Rearing

Harvest Magazine Article – Autumn 2016

Reports late last year of brutal calf-rearing practices at conventionally-run New Zealand dairy farms shocked the nation. But a Manawatu organic dairy producer has demonstrated it’s possible to run a productive and profitable operation without compromising  animal welfare standards.

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A Mothers’ Milk + Good Practices for Raising Calves

Harvests Magazine Article – Summer 2015

Bucking an industry accustomed to quiet cruelty, Canterbury raw milk dairy farmer Laura Beck shares her quest toward kinder calf-raising.

This article has been republished from the Summer 2015 of Harvests Magazine.

I have a lot of time to think on the farm. As I squat behind the cows every day to wash their teats before milking,
I often receive this immense sense of calm, contentment and joy. And it got me thinking: These animals are so much Mother. Many New Zealanders’ lives – and a significant part of our economy – revolve around these beautiful creatures, with their massive udders and their incredible capacity to produce milk. We are fortunate that these big beasts stand quietly for us twice a day as we take this milk from them with absolute ease. Their mother’s milk feeds our children and our adults.

And then I got thinking: How is it that we receive this gift, given so gracefully, but we remove so quickly the reason for giving it? In most dairy farm systems, including organic and sometimes biodynamic, calves are typically taken from their mother within the first 24 hours of life. They are then reared by humans away from the herd. For most milk drinkers, the practice of calf-rearing is an unknown facet of dairy farming; some people are not even aware that to give milk, the cow has to have a calf. I’d like to relate to you my experience of calf-rearing.

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