Wheat Crop

Earthworm bounty calculated by scientists who correlated a global atlas of earthworm abundance with maps of agricultural production, taking into account soil properties and artificial fertilisers.

They concluded: “Our findings indicate that earthworms contribute to roughly 6.5% of global grain (maize, rice, wheat, barley) production and 2.3% of legume production, equivalent to over 140 million metric tons annually.” 

An article in Science (AAAS) News claimed these results mean “If earthworms were a country, they’d be the world’s fourth largest producer of grain.” 

Steven Fonte or Colorado State University, who led the study, hopes this study will stimulate further research into the positive benefits of other soil organisms on crops.  He commented: “Soils are still this huge, big black box that we don’t fully understand.  This work helps show that there’s a lot of opportunity that we’re just kind of ignoring.  There are probably other soil organisms that are even more important, especially microbial communities.”

References: PhysOrg 26 September 2023; Science (AAAS) News 26 September 2023; Nature Communications 26 September 2023 doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41286-7

Editorial Comment:  The benefits of having earthworms in soil is well known to farmers and gardeners, and especially to Creation Research as we setup the Botanic gardens on our Jurassic Ark which began in worm-free clay sand soil, and were only able to get plants to grow after we imported worms. It is interesting to see this benefit quantified on a world-wide scale. 

The researchers’ comment about soils is a good reminder that nothing in biology works in isolation.  No doubt further research into soil organisms and how they interact with each other and with the physical and chemical structure of the soil will reveal many more complex interactions. 

This study is a reminder food production requires complex whole working ecosystems, which must have functioned from the beginning. It is further confirmation of Genesis, which tells us God completed the world and all the living things in it in six days.

Creation Research News 15 November 2023

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