Dear readers, worm farming has now become an alternative for obtaining resources that help the recovery of soils in the agricultural sector; to start venturing into this ecological activity, knowledge about the biology of worms and about the technology for their breeding and establishment is required. The potentiality of this technique lies in the obtaining of first quality material where the worms that are part of the functional biodiversity of the ecosystems within their dynamics decompose the organic matter from the plant and animal residues, together with other decomposing organisms present in the soil.
In line with the aforementioned, it can be said that the technique of vermiculture consists of imitating the natural processes that occur in soil for decomposition of organic matter, with the only difference that in the spaces that are used for the rearing of the worms some conditions such as humidity and the type of organic material that is used for feeding them can be controlled. From this practice, solid and liquid organic material can be obtained from the leaching that is obtained when the earthworm is watered to maintain the moisture of the substrate, with this type of material crops can be fertilized, enhancing the recycling of nutrients and soil formation, becoming a practice that provides sustainability in agricultural ecosystems.
Worldwide, this worm farming system has been developing in spaces of different types and shapes, but sometimes the establishment is difficult because of not taking into account variables such as humidity which, according to Sources (1997), should range around 85% with an optimal range between 80 and 90% and limits between 60 and 90%, neglecting this variable is affected first of all directly or indirectly the food activity of the worms since, they suck food when wet, and can decompose them efficiently, on the other hand, it can affect the quantity and quality of the worm leachate which is a liquid product that comes from the washing of decomposed matter.
To maintain humidity and obtain leachate, irrigation of the sutrate where the worms are found is required, which is part of the management, there are some reports by Somarriba and Guzmán (2014), indicating that irrigation applications can be carried out from twice a day in warm conditions to once every 15 days for cold weather conditions, which makes it necessary to have a safe water source in the facilities where the worm culture is established.
Worm leaching is a technique considered to be one of the simplest to obtain high-quality substances that allow the fertilization of crops in addition to improving the microbiological activity of the soil, known by some as worm humus, which comes from the solid mass that is in the process of decomposition and that is watered to maintain the humidity of the medium.
In this same order of ideas and according to what has been mentioned by some researchers such as Moreno and Díaz (2008), worm leachates can have high levels of nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, because the technique of vermiculture is a natural process carried out by functional organisms that decompose organic matter, to obtain inorganic elements that are easily assimilated by plants, in addition to providing substances that help soil formation.
Therefore, according to the Cuban association of animal production (2010), the red worm (Eisenia spp.) is part of the current biotechnological alternatives for the recycling of nutrients from organic waste. It is there, where lies the importance of maintaining an adequate management of the conditions within the worm farm such as humidity, temperature and pH, which allow the worms to maintain their decomposing dynamics in the micro ecosystem where they are confined.
Dear readers, it can be said that within the vermiculture it is necessary to take into account some variables such as the humidity that can be maintained through the frequency of irrigation in the earthworms to ensure the development of the worms and therefore obtain a leachate of excellent quality to be used in the fertilization of crops.
- Cuban Association of animal production (2010), Diversified farms. ACPA. Havana: Cuba.
- Fuentes, J. (1997). Vermiculture. Ediciones Z. Colombia.
- Mejías, P. (2005). Manual Vermiculture. Ed. Agroflor. Chile. 54 pp
- Somarraba, R. And Guzmán, G. (2004). Analysis of the influence of cane sugar cane and bovine manure as a substrate on Californian red earthworm for humus production. Unpublished undergraduate work. National Agrarian University. Managua, Nicaragua.
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