- Agronomic: corn, soybeans, wheat
- Animal Production: aquaculture
- Crop Production: crop improvement and selection
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Soil Management: earthworms, soil microbiology
Farmers Jason Mann and Stephanie Duncan propose to collaborate to examine the benefits of worm tea in a field crop agricultural setting. In order to accomplish this goal, Mr. Mann will dedicate 1.5 acres of corn/wheat/soybean rotation ground. Ms. Duncan will produce worm tea in a concentrated form. Mr. Mann will apply the tea preplanting and at planting in a strip trial with two strips of treatment and one strip of control. The crop will be assessed throughout the growing season for plant nutrient content with soils being testing after harvest. The second-year treatments will be conducted similarly. Approximately one-half of the plot is disturbed soil needing remediation, while the other half is medium-to-high productivity soil. In this manner, we can assess worm tea as a crop nutrient across very different soils. Although worm tea is currently an expensive fertilizer, success with this experiment may allow for some utility bringing poor soils organic matter and a quicker return to economic viability. The substitution of synthetic commercial fertilizers for worm tea may be an ecologically sounds and socially responsible choice for some areas where economies of scale can develop.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Assess the value of worm tea in large-scale agricultural farm management.
- Evaluate plant and soil chemistry and biology in two soil types under traditional and worm tea amended management.
- Explore the economic viability of worm tea in certain agronomic situations.