An earthworm is a segmented worm; a terrestrial invertebrate belonging to the phylum Annelida. They are the common inhabitants of moist soil and feed on organic matter. Earthworms are commonly called as farmer’s friend. This is because the worm casting (faecal deposit) increases the fertility and burrowing helps in proper aeration of the soil.
Earthworms are extremely beneficial in agriculture. They aid in the following ways:
- They help loosen up and aerate the soil as they burrow deep. This aids in the respiration of the roots of the plants, making them penetrate deeper and grow well
- They are being used presently in vermiculture to produce high-quality manure
- They are also used as baits to catch fish
- They keep interchanging the topsoil with the layer just below, thereby increasing soil fertility
- The excreta of earthworms is rich in the nitrogenous matter and is required for plant growth