Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Wonderful worms! (#journal)

Earthworm services for cropping systems. A review

This article reviews the benefits of earthworms for crops, and presents techniques to increase earthworm abundance. The major points are: (1) Earthworms improve soil structural stability. (2) Earthworms modify soil organic matter and nutrient cycling. (3) Earthworms induce the production of hormone-like substances that improve plant growth and health. (4) Direct drilling increases earthworm abundance and species diversity, but the beneficial effect of reduced tillage depends upon the species present. (5) Organic amendments enhance earthworm abundance. (6) Earthworms feeding at the soil surface are the most exposed to pesticides and other agrochemicals. Finally, the authors discuss how to combine management practices, including inoculation, to increase earthworm services.

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