We managed to get most of the jobs done that I was hoping to do before setting off on my Nuffield travels, including spraying the spring barley.


So far I have visited biodynamic farms and associations in Germany, Luxembourg and Italy.

Farms have varied greatly in their size and standards; I am getting a good picture of how well this method of farming works. One noticeable theme running through them all is the amount of people involved or dependent on the farm. Three of them have been run by social groups of around 40-50 people/organisations, difficult to understand, but it seems to work.

I have made “preparation”, on two farms which is an important part of biodynamic farming. This is made from a variety of natural ingredients, including cattle manure buried in a horn through the winter to quartz. Mixing is done by hand, stirring 200 litres of water for one hour alternating the direction of stirring every minute or so – easier said than done!

According to Mother, everything is marvellous at home with Dad bearing up well. It sounds like they have been enjoying the same glorious weather I have and the grass is growing well. I can tell Dad is a bit concerned what I might think of his grazing management when I get home, but I don’t think after spending more than a month away I will be in any position to comment.

Canada is the next stop, and now that I am an experienced traveller I will remember to use the international dialling code. Somewhere in Germany there is a confused German, after I asked him how the cows were doing. I have also learnt not to ask directions from a man drinking from a large bottle!

• More columns from Julian Ellis

• Mre columns from other Livestock Farmer Focus writers