Cow Horn Manure in Biodynamic Farming

Cow horn manure, commonly known as “500,” is the process of putting high-quality cow manure inside a cow horn and burying it in the soil during winter. It is then dug up mixed with water and sprayed on the crops. The approach is widely adopted in biodynamics to structure soil, increase pH levels, and stimulate microbial activity by producing humus. Biodynamics was adopted as a new “organic” farming method to renew traditional farming during the twentieth century.

Conventional farming was fully organic in the past, but fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides have changed that and promoted chemical-based scientific farming. In the middle of the nineteenth century, phosphates and nitrates were added. By the turn of the twentieth century, these two substances became widely utilized, putting an end to the period of organic farming. The first organic agricultural technique to consider traditional farming in the modern day was biodynamics.

The “500” Preparation Method

Dr. Rudolph Steiner pioneered biodynamics and demonstrated several methods to create a series of natural, biodynamic “preparations.” He claimed they could give soils new vitality and produce healthy plants and cattle. Steiner gave general instructions on making and using the methods but requested that all the preparations be handmade. He further requested to test these preparations before applying them scientifically.

Dr. Rudolph Steiner

During the “500” preparation method, you buried the cow manure inside the cow horns under the soil during winter. This results in a concentrated microbial material (500) extracted from the horns in the spring. Cow dung is processed into a substance resembling humus, which is then kept wet in earthenware vessels with peat moss (this keeps the culture of microbes alive).

Cow horn manure acts as an activator of both physical and biological processes, encouraging the development of microorganisms that aid plant growth and root development.

Then, you would add a tiny quantity of 500 to warm water and rapidly swirl when the weather is ideal. This oxygenates the water and causes a significant proliferation of beneficial bacteria. Then you sprayed the resulting mixture onto damp, warm soil. The microorganisms spread throughout the soil and are a powerful stimulator of soil biology. They promoted microbial activity, humus formation (organic matter quickly decomposes and transforms into colloidal humus), and root growth.

According to proponents of biodynamics, only feces buried in cow horns undergoes a transformation into highly refined, microbial-rich humus. They compared the results by putting the manure inside pottery or wooden containers.

Additionally, according to biodynamic farmers, applying preparations that activate soil biology on their farms enhances soil microbial activity, humus levels, soil structure, color deepening, water penetration, and water holding capacity.

Impact on Wine Production

The use of cow horn manure and other biodynamic preparations is believed to have a significant impact on wine production. By enhancing soil health and vitality, these preparations can lead to the growth of healthier, more robust grapevines. This, in turn, can result in the production of high-quality grapes, which are the foundation of exceptional wine.

Moreover, biodynamic farming practices, including the use of cow horn manure, can help vineyards become more resilient in the face of environmental challenges. They can improve the soil’s water-holding capacity, enhance biodiversity, and increase the vineyard’s overall resilience, leading to more consistent and sustainable wine production.


While the use of cow horn manure in biodynamic farming may seem unconventional to some, many wine producers have embraced this practice, believing in its ability to enhance soil health and improve wine quality. As the wine industry continues to explore sustainable and holistic farming practices, the role of biodynamic preparations like cow horn manure is likely to become increasingly significant.


  1. About Biodynamics
  2. What Is Biodynamics?

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1924: Dr. Steiner conducted a series of lectures on biodynamics. He demonstrated that the cow’s horns channel etheric-astral creative forces within itself, with the goal of penetrating straight into the digesting organ by pressing inward. A great deal of labor occurs within the digestive organ due to the radiation from horns and hooves. So there is something in the horns that is well-suited, by nature, to radiate the vital and astral elements of inner life.

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Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: , , , , , By Published On: May 30, 2022Last Updated: February 26, 2024

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