Worms key to soil health

The anatomy of an earthworm is hardly exciting stuff. But, Dr Tim Jenkins, a director at the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Technologies in New Zealand, has a way of making the bodily functions of an earthworm sound kind of interesting.

He told about 80 farmers at a biological farming seminar in Gore recently that earthworms were a key driver of soil fertility.

A good number was 2000 worms per square metre or about 40 worms per spade, but he often found worm populations around 600 to 1000 per square metre because of poor quality soils.

To improve soil biology, Dr Jenkins suggested minimal cultivation, retaining clover, using lime flour and biological fertilisers and avoiding over-grazing.

Worms thrived in soil with a high pH but if it was too high, it would restrict the uptake of trace elements such as copper, zinc and manganese. A pH of 6-6.4 was ideal for a good balance of clover, trace elements and earthworm activity.

Dr Jenkins said the ideal soil texture was "crumbly" as this allowed worms to move freely through the soil which would promote good drainage.

The mucous the worms left behind would also help hold the soil crumbs together in a wet or dry spell.

Source; Stuff.co.nl

Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.