VERMIPOD™ TEST PLOT

I started this 5 acre research test plot in 1991.  This was the first year without adding any Potash or Phosphate fertilizer, just Earthworms.  I rotate this plot with soybeans every other year.  No fertilizer (except for Nitrogen on corn years) has been applied now for the past 25 years.

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 It took a few years to get our corn average of 159 -169 to over 200 bushels per acre.  Soybean averages where somewhere between 35 to 45 bushels per acre.  Our corn has averaged over 200 bushels per acre for the last 5 years and Soybeans have averaged over 66.  Not bad when you consider there hasn't been any fertilizer added for over 25 years.

Species of Earthworms:

Different species of earthworms perform distinct jobs. Some will burrow horizontally, while others will burrow vertically, some to a depth of twelve feet. This is why VermiPods™ are a specially selected mixture of earthworm cocoons.

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Earthworm cocoons that are currently being encapsulated and made into VermiPods™ are: 

1) Aporrectodea caliginosa, the common pasture earthworm. 2) Dendrobaena veneta, the European night crawler. 3) Eisenia fetida, the manure worm.* 

4) Eisenia Andrei, the Red Tiger worm.

5) Lumbricus terrestris, the common night crawler or dew-worm. 6) Lumbricus rubellus, the red marsh worm. Commonly found in places rich in organic matter and moisture such as gardens and pastures.  Pictured above.

The reproductive habits of different species of earthworms will vary. For example, the Aporrectodea caliginosa earthworm will lay only one cocoon every twenty-eight days, while the Lumbricus rubellus earthworm lays a cocoon every other day. Depending on the species of earthworm, each cocoon will contain anywhere from one to eight eggs.

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For an example.  If you happen to raise 

livestock, VermiPods™ that have been encapsulated with Eisenia fetida earthworm cocoons would be recommended.

The above illustration represents the life cycle of the Eisenia fetida earthworm.

2007 research grant was to document how late in the year VermiPods could be planted. It was our contention that they could be planted any time of the year, as long as the soil was not frozen.

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 We planted this test plot in November of 2007.  The following Spring, on May 2nd, 2008, 100 VermiPods were dug up and placed into a worm box.  There was no evidence at this time that any had hatched.  On August 21st, 48 earthworms were counted.  On September 15th, 2008 a total of 55 were observed.  An finely on October 18th, 2008 a final hatching of 71 was documented.  Needless to say we were very pleased to see they do indeed survive the winter and had a 71% hatching rate.  

The night crawler earthworm

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 Each flag in this picture represents one Lumbricus Terrestris earthworm.  It has been estimated that we have $11,000 dollars worth of this species alone per acre.  This field has at least 4 to 5 different species. 

Number one killer of earthworms

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You might think I would be saying the number one killer of Earthworms is Insecticides or Pesticides.  You would be wrong.  Although they do a lot of damage, the number one killer of Earthworms (believe it or not) is a fast freeze.

I windrow soybean stubble every few years to insure that there is ground cover to give a little extra protection over the winter.

METHODS OF PLANTING VERMIPODS™

Place along with ordinary seed during planting.

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 Planting along with the current crop the easiest.  Especially if they are already included with the seed. 

Soil Technician planting VermiPods™

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During routine soil sampling, to determine how much fertilizer needs to be replaced, the soil technician called “pullers” collects soil samples. During this process a soil core is extracted and leaves behind a hole approximately one inch in diameter and 5 to 6 inches deep.  Up to one hundred VP’s can be placed into each hole.  

12,700 VermiPods™ were placed approximately one to five inches below the soil surface every 2.5 acres.

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 On November 5, 2007 a soil technician pulled 127 soil samples from this 320 acre field. He then put 100 VermiPods™ into one of these holes that he left behind. The Dendrobaena veneta earthworm cocoons were encapsulated and used for this planting. 

(US Patent 7,478,604) January 20, 2009, “Apparatus and process for improving fertility of a soil, to help detoxify hazardous chemicals in the soil, and to reduce erosion of the soil”.

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This process allows VermiPods™ to be placed into existing injection applicators, like the one pictured here.

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