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Worm misinformation on soil test

13 years ago

As I have been politely asked to refrain from correcting misinformation on another thread and to start my own, I shall heed that advice.

Here is a conversation about the misinformation about worms from a thread on GW in 2008.:

"5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy."

attempt to correct misinformation:

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Quality Agronomy Technical Note No. 11 really says:

"Many people consider earthworms to be an indicator of soil quality because they respond to and contribute to healthy soil. For earthworms to be abundant, a field must meet several conditions that are also associated with soil quality and agricultural sustainability: moderate pH, surface residue for food and protection, and soil that is not waterlogged, compacted, droughty, or excessively sandy. Not all healthy soils will have earthworms."

Maybe there is another link that supports what you state or maybe there are two Natural Resources Conservation Services."

rebuttal to correction:

"As Xxxxx well knows there are not two Natural Resources Conservation Services of the USDA, but may not be aware that there are numerous publications from that source that can appear to be contradictory. The particular article that states that may take some time to find, again."

reply to rebuttal:

"If/when you find it, I'd really like to read it. Seems to me that after more than one year of telling you of the existence of the contradictory information, you would have cited your source or modified your post, but alas it appears not to be the case. I'm sure the USDA would also like to know they have contradictory data out there.

In the mean time, how about leaving that part out of your "simple soil test" posts, or at least modifying it to take out the reference to the USDA. At least then it would be a one persons opinion thing. And while you are at it, maybe also add a note about seasonal/diurnal fluctuation in earthworms and their movements so that anyone who follows your "advice" doesn't panic get overly concerned when no earthworms are found."

There has never been a link provided to an article that supports the 'no worms = unhealthy soil' claim.

If any person wishes to dispute the accuracy of this information, please feel free to do so, I will not be offended to be corrected.


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