Filling cow horns will fresh cow manure is one of the preparations in biodynamic agriculture as indicated by Rudolf Steiner during his 1924 lecture series, intended to bring a spiritual foundation to renew the state of agriculture following an increase in the usage of chemical fertilisers following the first world war.
Cow horns are filled with fresh cow manure (preferably from a lactating cow) they are then buried in the ground for the winter, before being retrieved in the spring, stirred into water (in a specific way), and then sprayed across the land.
It is understood that this preparation helps improve the soil structure, regulates the pH, and dramatically boosts microbial activity, bringing many benefits and a new sense of vitality to the land.
The manure that is produced contains nitrogen and oxygen-bearing forces and have the ability to penetrate deeply into the soil. Cow manure is a breeding ground for microscopic parasites that bring life to the soil, the organisms that thrive in the manure are capable of breaking down organic and even inorganic material.
By burying the cow manure in horns we change its structure and form, as it decomposes under the earths surface absorbing the energy present during the winter period.
How To Make Cow Manure Preparation 500?
Firstly, you will need to find fresh cow manure ideally from a lactating female. We made a trip down to a nearby cow field with a wheelbarrow and scooped up several shovels worth of manure.
Once you have collected your manure, you can fill up your cow horns. In our case, our biodynamic teacher purchased the horns from the local butcher for £8 each. It is best to use horns that are from cows who used to roam on your farm where possible. Rudolf Steiner mentioned during his lecture that a cow horn should only be used for a few seasons, as its effectiveness will lessen with time.
We filled up the cow horns by using a fork. It’s important to fill the horn all the way down, a wooden stick came in handy to press the manure to the end of the horn. Only take the digested manure, and avoid any couch grass.
When the cow horns are filled with manure you will need to seal them. You can use soil or clay to seal in the manure, this will stop water from entering into the horn which would stop the transformation.
The horns will be buried together in the earth. Choose an area where the soil is not too sandy nor composed of too much clay. The cow horns will need to be buried at a depth of 2.5 to 5 feet deep.
Place the horns together, arranged so water cannot enter into the opening of the horn. Take your time placing the horns in a thoughtful manner, making use of the space. Afterwards, slowly add the first layer of soil on top, before adding the rest. (If you emptied the soil into a wheelbarrow, it makes your job easier later, as you can tip the soil on top, and it doesn’t create a mess, especially after rainfall)
Now, you can put back all of the soil, and put back the turf layer. It’s important to make a note of where the preparations are buried, as you will soon forget where they are when you need to dig them up six months later. Even during the agriculture course in 1924, Rudolf Steiner and his colleagues misplaced the horns. I recommend putting a stick in the ground, but also making a written note, as sticks can always be moved by accident.
I will update this article in six months time (May 2021), when we head out to collect the cow horns. Biodynamic agriculture seems to slowly reveal itself, as a lot of thinking beginning with the insights of Rudolf Steiner, have formed this regenerative agriculture, as new knowledge comes to me, I will make an effort to go back into old articles and updated them where it is needed.