Last week I wrote about the basics of fertilization and the reason needed. It seems like once you start reading there are endless questions and you have to at the end of the day just wonder how incredible life and nature is. It all circles around and we have this incredible cycle of life and purpose. I was going to write on GMO and will do it next week. With all the negativity going on with our current Corona situation we can wait for a political and controversial although interesting, it would just add to so many readers stress level and especially where I will be coming from in the conversation. So this week we will talk about on of my fathers subjects and that is the earthworm and now my brain will also have to mention the bumble bees. How can something so small and seemingly so insignificant play such a gigantic role in our ecology?

Everyday active earthworms take in an amount of soil equal to their body weights.  This activity makes a very important contribution to the aeration and movement of soils.  Pasture soils contain three to four times more earthworms than tilled soils.  The weight of earthworm’s in a pasture soil may be twice as much per acre as the weight of livestock carried per acre on the surface.  These numbers are directly reflected in the amounts of soil moved.  In other words earthworms move at least 21 tons of soil per acre in permanent pasture’s each year and this is compared to only 9 tons in tilled ground. (which is another reason we were doing no-till farming as written about in previous land link blog). Earthworms not only move soil, but also make some elements more available for plant growth.  When earthworm excrement  is compared to the top 6 inches of soil, the excrement contains five times more nitrate nitrogen, twice as much calcium, almost three times more magnesium, seven times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium than soil. The excrement’s also has a higher PH than surrounding soil.  The return of animal excrement to the soil increases the number and individual weights of earthworms present in a soil.  This is extremely important in a pasture with regard to the breakdown and decomposition of animal manure.  To sum it all up; when a pasture ecosystem is working well, it contains large numbers of earthworms and other organisms that rapidly break down and decompose the organic matter of manure, releasing the nutrients it contain into the cycle again.
My father had an incredible close affinity with the natural order and the bounty of this earth brought him into touch with the essentials of life.  He was always so impressed and excited how millions of earthworm’s on each acre of the farm were working while we were relaxing.
Now one who cares for the created order, who sees beauty in natural things is one who tends to see the whole of things. Dad was incredible always asking the question, pondering the answer. Looking for the relationships, how things tied together. He was an incredible man and enjoyed so much the glorious creation that god has given us. The wonder of it all!

Thank you,

Drennan Bailey