AcresUSA.com links

Archive | Soil Life

Earthworms Escape Drought Underground

EarthwormsEarthworms use water for many things — for respiration, to keep their bodies from drying out and to make the mucus that helps them slide through the soil. When soils get dry, earthworms go into estivation. “During estivation, earthworms wrap their bodies into a tight knot to reduce the amount of surface area exposed to the soil,” explains Jacob McDaniel, lead author of a study published in Soil Science Society of America Journal. “Then they’ll seal themselves up in a chamber lined with their mucus. Inside that chamber, the humidity is higher so they don’t dry out as the soil dries.”

This article appears in the November 2013 issue of Acres U.S.A.

Raw Milk as Pasture Biostimulant

raw-milkAs reported in the May 2013 issue of NODPA News (www.nodpa.com), a raw milk as pasture biostimulant research study performed on fields and in greenhouses in Vermont revealed mixed results. The raw milk stimulated grass tillering and slightly increased forage above-ground biomass under greenhouse conditions, but “the positive benefits attributed to the milk were short-lived and did not appear after the initial cutting.” Also the farmers found “no effect of milk on pasture growth or yield within the first 60 days of application in the field,” but, they say, “… despite the inconclusive results, spraying milk on pasture is still a great way to dispose of waste milk,” and they “recommend that those wishing to experiment with raw milk on their own farm should spray the solution immediately before a rainstorm and after the forage was grazed to maximize the amount of milk reaching the soil. Although you probably shouldn’t expect a substantial change in forage production and quality, it may positively affect your pastures in ways not measured during this experiment.”

This article appears in the September 2013 issue of Acres U.S.A.