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AN ACRE’S WORTH of earthworms can equal the weight of more than 20 hired men. Earthworms are small but productive, eat for free and work all night long in your no-till fields.
Most importantly, everything they do helps your crop.
Replacing horsepower with worm power, earthworms can loosen up soil more effectively than a tractor pulling a deep ripper. Plus, they never demand an ounce of diesel fuel or a spare part.
The tiny earthworm could be your most important ally in the long-term effort to improve soil tilth, fertility and quality with no-till. Understanding how earthworms help you and how you can give them a boost could help the partnership out in your fields really blossom.
Earthworms can be divided into two distinct categories, maintains soil scientist Eileen Kladivko of Purdue University:
With both types of worms, field populations of as many as half a million worms per acre can create 250 miles of tunnels each week, adds Dennis Linden, an Agricultural Research Service scientist in St. Paul, Minn.
Shallow-dwellers’ tunnels create space for air and water in the soil, while nightcrawler burrows improve drainage and water infiltration. Though shallow-dwellers’ burrows can fill with water during a rainstorm, they tend to drain quickly, notes Linden. “The soil will take…