When we were shooting the video segments of the Farm Journal Corn Navigator series, agronomist Ken Ferrie was trying to convince me that earthworms drag surface residues into little "condominiums".
I am not making this up - ask him! Or watch the video when we post it.
Anyway, between Ken and Jan I have been thoroughly indoctrinated into deep reverence for earthworms. Only to read this sad science report from Germany:
"We have concentrated on getting waste out of landfill and into worm composting systems but they can actually produce more greenhouse gases than landfill sites produce," Frederickson told Materials Recycling Week, a leading publication for the recycling and waste-management industry. [More]It seems the slimy dudes produce nitrous oxide - which is a tremendously powerful greenhouse gas.
"The emissions that come from these worms can actually be 290 times more potent than carbon dioxide and 20 times more potent than methane. In all environmental systems you get good points and bad points."
This is because worms used in composting emit nitrous oxide - a greenhouse gas 296 times more powerful, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide.
Just great - now earthworms are killing the planet.
Those Germans just love to break bad news I think.