Crop yield of rye grass lolium multiflorum influenced by the excretions of 3 earthworm species
Graff, O.; Makeschin, F.
Pedobiologia 20(3): 176-180
ISSN/ISBN: 0031-4056 Accession: 005069027
Three earthworm species, Lumbricus terrestris, Allolobophora caliginosa and Eisenia foetida were kept in soil in pots for 11 days. During this period, the pots were eluted with distilled water 3 times. The eluates were collected and added to other pots which contained no worms and had been planted a short time before with rye-grass (L. multiflorum). After removal of the earthworms the eluted soils were also planted with rye-grass. The plant yields of both treatments showed that yield-influencing substances were released by the earthworms into the soil. The fertilization of the plants with the eluate resulted in a 10% increase in plant-yield as compared to the control. The differences between the 3 spp. of earthworms were low. Most of the yield-influencing excreta remained in the eluted soil and caused yields in a different manner. The first harvest from the plants brought about the highest yield from L. terrestris; yield increases due to A. caliginosa and E. foetida were distinctly less. The results of the 2nd harvest showed that L. terrestris and A. caliginosa had nearly the same effect. The E. foetida treated soil produced less, but all spp. caused higher plant yields than the control. At the third harvest, the positive influence of the earthworms on the plant-yield was no longer evident. The yields were lower than the control-yield except for L. terrestris. This species produced a little higher dry-matter yield than the control. A. caliginosa caused the highest root yield. L. terrestris, E. foetida and the control followed with 13, 22 and 37% less, respectively. The highest total dry-matter yield was caused by L. terrestris in comparison with A. caliginosa, E. foetida and the control, which was 16, 23 and 50% less, respectively. The harvests with all 3 earthworm species showed significant higher plant dry-matter values P < 5% and < 1% than the control.