We have been practising biodynamics on our vineyard since 2007. Our initial phase was to apply preparation 500 throughout the vineyard/orchard.
In 2008 we set up our first cow dung pit. We obtained the cow dung from a neighbour who was also organic and biodynamic. Once we had obtained enough cow dung, we dug a whole by 1 metre by 1 metre, and 30 centremetres deep. We set in a frame for the whole, and pegged the corners. It is important to use untreated wood here on natural hardwood to avoid the leaching of chemicals into the manure.
Once the hole was completed and framed we then placed the cow dung in it and then put the five sets of biodynamic preparations 502 – 507, pressing them in at thumb depth, at around 20 centremetres apart. The valerian preparation 507 is mixed in water and then poured over the pit.
Over the pit we placed a sack to help retain the moisture and a wooden lid. It was also important to use untreated materials for the pit. After several months the cow dung was broken down into compost. This preparation can now be used to in conjunction with preparation 500 or by its self, and applied to the vineyard. In New Zealand the biodynamic certification is Demeter, our vineyards are certified organic through AsureQuality.
Below is a link to a video on how to go about making a biodynamic cow pat pit from cow manure. We have created a series of videos on our channel – Wrights Vineyard & Winery from making biodynamic preparation 500 using cow horns, making organic seaweed compost fertiliser teas for plants. We also will be adding to our channel with more tutorials on organic farming, winegrowing and winemaking.