Centre for Eco-friendly Agro-Technologies (CEAT)
- To evolve and develop eco-friendly and novel technologies for restoration and improvement of soil health
- To evolve and develop innovative and scientific methods of vermi-products usage through research
- To increase crop productivity through the utilization of vermi-products viz., Vermicompost, Vermiwash and Vermitea as one of the agro-inputs
- To disseminate the developed novel technologies to farming community for adoption in their crop fields in order to increase crop yield for meeting out the ever-growing demands of food grains
- To create and sustain pollution free environment for the present generation and posterity.
- Earthworms have long been described as the intestine of the earth, friends of farmers and so on, because of their manifold functions in the soil.
- Recently, earthworms are recognized as one of the bioreactors due to their ability to degrade organic waste materials and convert them into a useful product called vermicompost.
- The technology is described as vermiculture technology or vermibiotechnology.
- Due to human population explosion beyond the limit and rapid urbanization in India, total agricultural land area is decreasing day by day.
- It directly affects the crop production.
- Although, the usage of various chemical fertilizers and pesticides are reported/presumed to increase the crop yield many folds, but their excessive and indiscriminate usage cause tremendous alterations in natural soil environment.
- In order to cope with this trenchant problem, the vermibiotechnology has become the most suitable remedial alternative and low cost technology of the day.
- Earthworms are present in almost all terrestrial ecosystems, and are one of the most important components of the soil invertebrate macro fauna. Approximately 8,300 species of Oligochaetes have been described (of which more than 5,700 are valid species), in 38 families and 811 genera (Reynolds and Wetzel, 2009). Roughly 50% of these (around 4,000) are Megadrile earthworms (Reynolds, 1994). Julka et al. (2009) reported 590 species of earthworms, 69 with genera from India.
- These earthworms can be cultured or used in composting by adopting simple procedures either in pits, crates, tanks, concrete rings or any containers.
- Organic material to be used is recommended only after pre-processing or pre-digestion
The Composting Earthworms
The exotic Earthworms are
The Indigenous Earthworms are
- The African night crawler, Eudrilus eugeniae
- The European Red worm, Eisenia fetida
The vermicomposting process
- Perionyx excavatus
- Lampito mauritii
- Polypheretima elongata
- Pontoscolex corethrurus
Preparation of Vermicomposting Tank
A tank (10'Length x 3'Height x 3' Width) may be constructed with brick and mortar with proper water outlets, or a plastic crate (600 mm x 300 mm x 300 mm) with holes drilled at the bottom
The pre-digestion of wastes
- Empty wooden crates (apple cases) or well rings made of cement or clay of 750 mm diameter and 300 to 450 mm height can also be used
- Vermibed (vermes= earthworms; bed= bedding) of about 15 to 20 cm thick should be laid with the following layers
- Broken bricks (4cm) at the bottom
- Coarse sand (3 cm)
- Fine sand (3cm)
- Red soil (5 cm) at the top
- The vermibed should always be kept moist, but should never be flooded.
Transfer of predigested waste into Tanks
- Over this vermibed 60 cm to 70 cm layer of predigested waste should be laid.
- The bed should neither be dry nor soggy.
- Regular watering should be done to keep the right amount of moisture in the pits.
- The compost should be ready as indicated by the presence of earthworm castings (vermicompost) on the top of the bed.
Harvesting of Vermicompost
- The compost should be turned occasionally since this allows for aeration.
- If the weather is very dry it should be dampened periodically.
- The pile should be moist not wet and soggy.
- Vermicompost can now be harvested from the tank/bin/pit.
- The compost is then sieved before being packed.
Sieving and packing of Vermicompost