Disadvantages of biodynamic farming are; labor and time demand, relatively-low yield, knowledge and skill requirements, control difficulties, and low adoption/support.
This article discusses the disadvantages of biodynamic farming, as follows;
1). Labor and Time Demand (as one of the Disadvantages of Biodynamic Farming)
All forms of sustainable farming generally require more labor than conventional farming methods.
In the case of biodynamic farming, more resources are needed in terns of labor, time and money, to effectively cultivate and maintain a biodynamic farm .
This is due to the greater attention to detail, and the effort to unify the farm with the natural ecosystem, in biodynamic farming.
Not only does higher labor mean higher cost, it also means less potential profit for farmers, especially in the short-term. These factors reduce the appeal and adoption of biodynamic farming.
However, the labor demand is also liked to some advantages of biodynamic farming, like job creation and high-quality production.
2). Relatively-low Yield
This fact can be attributed to the restriction of chemical usage on biodynamic farms, whereas on conventional farms such chemicals can be used for instantaneous gains.
Also, the yields for biodynamic farming are variable and unpredictable because they mostly depend on natural factors beyond the control of the farmer. This can be a problem when there is need to forecast agricultural needs and meet production targets.
The limited yield implies that supply of organic food products from biodynamic farms may not meet the existing demand, thereby contributing to high costs.
However, biodynamic agricultural yields can equalize with, and exceed those of conventional agriculture over a long period of time, due to the decline in conventional productivity and corresponding increase in biodynamic productivity with time.
3). Knowledge and Skill Requirements (as one of the Disadvantages of Biodynamic Farming)
Biodynamic farming requires more professionalism, specialization, and expertise than conventional farming.
In order for the growth cycles of crops and livestock to be aligned with natural resource recycling in the ecosystem, a significant level of skill and knowledge is required.
Aside the technical and scientific aspects of biodynamic farming, expert skills in marketing, management and organization are often required to effectively operate a biodynamic farm in such a manner that ensures profit.
These requirements are a barrier to the average farmer, who may be lacking in sufficient knowledge and skill. They also imply that hired labor will likely be more expensive due to the qualifications of involved personnel.
4). Control Difficulties
Biodynamic farming depends mainly on biological tools and methods to control pests, weeds and diseases.
This can pose a significant problem, so that severe pest and disease infestation can occur repetitively on biodynamic farms, leading to significant damage and loss.
Although biological control measures are also effective, they do not yield instantaneous results like chemicals and other synthetic approaches. The delayed effect is what usually causes losses.
Also, biological control measures usually affect the entire farm, due to the holistic approach of biodynamic farming.
5). Low Adoption and Support
Biodynamic farming has relatively-low adoption compared to other sustainable agricultural principles and practices.
This can be attributed to the lack of flexibility and high demand in terms of labor, money, maintenance, and time, in biodynamic farming.
Also, because it is not widely practiced, there are not many subsidy, insurance or loan schemes for biodynamic farming projects.
Disadvantages of biodynamic farming are;
1. Labor and Time Demand
2. Relatively-low Yield
3. Knowledge and Skill Requirements
4. Control Difficulties
5. Low Adoption and Support
1). Reganold, J. P. (1995). “Soil quality and profitability of biodynamic and conventional farming systems: A review.” American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 10(01):36 – 45. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S088918930000610X. (Accessed 15 October 2022).
2). Scott, B. (2022). “What is biodynamic farming and is it viable for producers?” Available at: https://www.agdaily.com/crops/what-is-biodynamic-farming-viable-production/. (Accessed 14 October 2022).