how are earthworms useful to farmers

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Earthworms perform a number of useful 'ecosystem services', and high numbers of earthworms have been linked to enhanced plant productivity. Biologists categorise earthworms by ecological role—with surface dwelling and deep burrowing worms the types most sensitive to farming practices, whilst the topsoil worms are generally unaffected by over-cultivation. Despite this, soil health is widely regarded as vital for both farming and the environment. However, the principles established from research on earthworm ecology can be applied generally to most soils and climates. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose. By their activity in the soil, earthworms offer many benefits: increased nutrient availability, better drainage, and a more stable soil structure, all of which help improve farm productivity. "Soil health is complicated, but the path to doing things differently has to begin somewhere.". More than 1300 hectares were surveyed from all over England for the project, including fields managed under arable, potatoes, horticulture and pasture. In Spring 2018, the average field had 9 earthworms in every spadeful of soil, with top fields having three times that number. This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties.

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. The absence of deep burrowing worms on 16 percent of fields is concerning, says Dr. Stroud, because they are 'drainage worms' with vertical burrows that aid water infiltration and ultimately helps combat waterlogging. From the Soil Sense leaflet 4/93. This new citizen science project published today in the journal PLOS One, has revealed most fields have good earthworm biodiversity – meaning an abundance of all three types of earthworms were seen. Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors. We do not guarantee individual replies due to extremely high volume of correspondence. The #60minworms project was the first comprehensive worm survey concentrating solely on farmland and was carried out by farmers themselves – 57 percent of whom said they would now change their soil management practices as a result. For this reason, this information is very general in its approach. Just going about their own daily lives, earthworms provide vital benefits for local plants and animals. Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. The content is provided for information purposes only. Much of the research that has been done has been carried out in southern Australia, where the climate and soils are quite different to the NSW North Coast. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no Dr. Stroud said: "Decisions made above the ground, whether by farmers or policy makers, influence the billions of earthworms that are engineering the soil ecosystem below the ground. However, the study also revealed that 42 percent of fields had poor earthworm biodiversity – meaning either very few or none of the surface dwelling and deep burrowing worms were seen.

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