«On a waning moon, we have just spread dynamized water containing the precious humus of horn-manure in our rows». This is how we enter the heart of autumn, in the vineyards of the Marchisio Family, after a fantastic harvest like the 2020 one: abundant harvest, very high quality grapes and even exceptional results, in the case of Nebbiolo. Then, in fact, the “blessing” of the rain of special water descends on the rows of vines, in which the manure – which has now become organic dust – is dissolved. It was inserted into the manure-horn and buried on 29 September 2019, then extracted from the ground at Easter 2020 and then put to rest in the dark of the cellar, protected by a wooden crate. In biodynamic agriculture, it’s called Preparation 500: it’s considered the most important of the practices recommended in the early 1900s by Rudolf Steiner to restore wealth to the soil, restoring it to its original fertility. In this field, the Marchisio Family has been at the forefront for many years: a certified organic company, it entrusts its social responsibility to biodynamic viticulture, towards a cleaner world (and healthier wines, richer in expressions and aromas).
According to data from the Association for Biodynamic Agriculture, as recalled by “Terra Nuova”, Italy is the second largest country in the world in terms of crops, with 4,500 active farms and 13,000 Demeter certified hectares. «Almost one hundred years after Rudolf Steiner’s first lessons, biodynamics continues to prove to be an avant-garde agronomic practice that guarantees greater soil fertility and gives us products rich in nutrients. Today, after more than half a century of intensive agriculture using chemical fertilizers, its role is even more important». As an exemplary model of “agriecology”, in fact, biodynamics proves to be useful «in counteracting the degeneration of crops and restoring the balance between climate, seasons, plants, animals, and people». It’s fundamental, in this respect, precisely the function of the manure-horn: «Thanks to that particular humus – recalls Sergio Marchisio, pioneer of biodynamics in the Roero – our plants receive important “information”, which will be decisive for their harmonious growth».
Davide Rizzi and Wolfgang Scheibe also talk about it, in the book “Orto biodinamico familiare” (family biodynamic garden), just published by Terra Nuova. The manure-horn, write Rizzi and Scheibe, is used «to make the most of the high microbiological power of cow manure». And they explain: «The horn, let’s not forget it, is the main sense organ of the animal, connected to the solar forces active mainly in digestion. It has been noted that cows with horns, compared to those without, produce a much more balanced manure and a much healthier and digestible milk». The manure-horn, therefore, «harmonizes the soil, creating a welcoming and fertile environment for the development of the plant». In young plants, such as freshly grown vine cuttings, manure-horn allows the root system to penetrate more forcefully into the soil, to reach deeper layers and make the best use of the moisture present. «It also stimulates the development of lateral roots dedicated to the absorption of mineral substances, creating fertility deeper and deeper».
Thanks to the better root development, Rizzi and Scheibe add, in plants treated with horn manure, a more vigorous and healthy growth of the aerial part (stem and leaves) can be observed. «Finally, having formed underground, as a product of the transformation of fresh organic matter into colloidal humus, when sprayed on the ground, the manure-horn becomes a vehicle of a similar message of transformation, stimulating microorganisms to accelerate the process of decomposition of fresh organic matter into humus, essential nutrition for plants». Even so, thanks to this “information” transmitted, the manure-horn turns out to be a real plus: it’s one of the secrets that make Marchisio Family wines so special.