Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, August 07, 2018

You can't avoid the zombie apocalypse in popular culture. But you may not have heard about the real one going on right beneath your feet: A worm apocalypse has been transforming farmland around the world.

Why should you care? If you dreamed up plots to quietly undermine civilization, few could be more diabolical than destroying its foundation -- the soil life that builds the fertility of the farmland we depend on to grow our food.

Still, it's safe to say that most of us missed the recent study in the journal Soil Systems that lays out the case for the worldwide decimation of earthworms. Yet this new report offers a stark assessment of the health of Earth's agricultural soils. And that should concern us all.

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Soil Systems:In view of recent reports of critical declines of microbes, plants, insects and other invertebrates, birds and other vertebrates, the situation pertaining to neglected earthworms was investigated. Entomological reports found the probable cause of general loss was lack of recruitment from surrounding fields (except for pest species). Earthworm decline under agricultural intensification compared to organic fertilizing is herein charted from several long-term agronomic trials, some operational >170 years. Relative biomass losses of -- 50 -- 100% (with a mean of -- 83.3 %) match or exceed those reported for other faunal groups, thus earthworms are conclusively shown to be similarly depleted from their optima in agrichemical fields. Concomitant mean loss of SOC/SOM humus is -- 56.8% and soil moisture is reduced by -- 22.3%. Organic farming lessens humic degradation and topsoil erosion, conserves essential soil moisture and biota, and produces equivalent or higher crop and pasture yields (on average +17.8% in this study) at lower cost. Loss of earthworms adds weight for rational re-evaluation of viable means for food production compatible with environmental conservation (agroecology), hence various interlinked benefits of organic husbandry in terms of yields, soil restoration, biodiversity and economics are briefly discussed. Persistence with failing chemical agriculture makes neither ecological nor economic sense.

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#1 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-08-07 12:24 PM | Reply

Most in the industry know that crops need to be rotated and fields need to be fed. My wife and I have an old farm and have about 2 acres of plantings. The farm is over 150 years old and one thing we learned was spread cow manure every other year. My wife alsos says you need to give back to the soil what yopu take.

#2 | Posted by fishpaw at 2018-08-07 03:09 PM | Reply

We have yet to see the true ramifications of MMGW on worldwide food production. Sadly, just give it time.

#3 | Posted by moder8 at 2018-08-07 03:13 PM | Reply

the bean and corn fields around here give me the willies...to look out over 2 or 3 hundred acres of beans and it looks like a well maintained lawn...planted so perfectly, every plant the exact same height and nary a weed. corn, the same way.

#4 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-08-07 04:14 PM | Reply

The biology of soil is extremely complex. We can see worms, and those are just the top of the ice burg, I dissected a cubic decimeter of soil. After a month I found about 600 different organisms, not identifying bacteria,(didn't have the time or equipment). I only did about half of my virgin sample, soil that had never been cultivated. On the other hand, some pasture soil that had been used to raise cotton 20 years before- it was almost void of biological activity. Non organic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and the compaction caused by livestock do serious damage to soil. Remember, every thing you use only has two sources, it is ether grown or mined.

#5 | Posted by docnjo at 2018-08-07 05:02 PM | Reply

In 2007, glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States' agricultural sector and the second-most used in home and garden (2,4-D being the most used), government and industry, and commerce. By 2016 there was a 100-fold increase from the late 1970s in the frequency of application and volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied, with further increases expected in the future, partly in response to the global emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Monsanto has long claimed that glyphosate only effects plants, not animals. The problem is animals have more bacteria and other microorganisms in their bodies, integral to digestion and other natural processes, than their own cells.

The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 of those cells is actually human. The rest are from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. We have a symbiotic relationship with them, we give them a place to live, and they help keep us alive.

Glyphosate is injurious to all simple organism whose metabolism resembles plants. Unfortunately, it is unclear what other safe substitutes exist, other than more labor intensive organic farming techniques. Monsanto and Industrial Farms do not want to hear that.

#6 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-08-07 06:51 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#5 I keep hearing stories like that over and over again: we are turning farmland into Moonrock, and only fertilizer keeps it alive.

#7 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-08-07 08:41 PM | Reply

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