Earthworm breeding is a process of recycling organic waste (food scraps, leaves, manure, etc.) using earthworms, in order to produce humus as an excellent fertilizer for agriculture. As an organic fertilizer, it can improve the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the soil.
In addition to that, it can be used as an animal feed and as a bait for fishing.
Embrapa Roraima (Boa Vista, RR) used a worm farm to demonstrate and share the knowledge on this technology, which helps to reduce organic waste in the cities.
The farm was created to provide training on the main techniques of creating earthworms in small farms. The initiative is part of Arcoverde project, which seeks to disseminate sustainable agricultural models for producers in the northern region of Brazil.
It is believed that there are more than 8,000 different species of worms in the world. In Brazil, there are between 240 and 260 species of earthworms. The Red-of-California worms and giant African worms are most commonly used for humus production. Both are being used in the worm farms of Embrapa.
Hatcheries for earthworms
There are several models for creating hatcheries for earthworms, from the simplest to the most expensive. For family farmers, who do not intend to sell commercially produced humus but use it only on their property, the most appropriate is to create a worm farm of low cost and low maintenance.
Embrapa Agrobiology (Seropédica-RJ) demonstrates the main features of vermicomposting earthworm breeding for those who want to create a worm farm and produce humus. Among the points covered are: choosing the ideal place for the worm farm construction, creation and management techniques, marketing and the main sources of raw material for production of humus.
Another publication of Embrapa talking about the earthworm breeding for family farming is the Technical Circular earthworm breeding and humus production for family farmers at the Embrapa Temperate Climate (Pelotas, RS).