Are you thinking about starting your own Vermiculture business? The vermiculture industry is also known as vermicomposting, worm farming, worm grower, commercial worm farming commercial worm farm system, etc. No matter what you call it, the bottom line is, you will be raising earthworms as a business. There are a few questions you need to ask and answer before you venture into the vermiculture business.
The main two types of earthworms used in commercial worm farming operations, they are Red Worms and Night Crawlers. Red worms are pretty standard in the industry for small backyard operations or for do-it-yourself homeowners looking to do some worm farming or to raise some earthworms for fishing. Night Crawlers are the earthworm of choice for many commercial worm farms. But there are many species of Night Crawlers, so make sure you do your own research for the ones that work best for you.
African Night Crawlers, Eudrillus Eugeniae, can grow 6″ to 8″ long. My worm farmer friend tells me that in his average 3.5 gallon bucket there are 300 Night Crawlers. According to his actual weight tests these African Night Crawlers grow up to 8″ long and there are about 150 of them to the pound on average. He also tells me these Africans are by far the most voracious of all worms and can produce more castings quicker than any other worm in the environment he provides. I’ve spoken to others who make the same claim about Red Wigglers.
The Brockwood Worm Sifter takes 30 seconds to harvest a bucket of worms, castings and cocoons which yields 300 worms, 9 pounds of castings and undetermined cocoons depending on the bucket. This works out to 240 pounds of worms and about 1000 pounds of castings per hour at the rate of 120 buckets/hour.
Here is another opinion taken off of the internet about European Nightcrawlers.
7 Reasons to LOVE European Nightcrawlers
Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Have you tried European Night Crawlers? If not, you are missing a treat!
1) Euro’s are very good Composting Worms! Excellent for recycling your scraps.
2) Euro’s large size makes harvesting a breeze!
3) Euro’s have a nice thick skin. They are a VERY durable worm.
4) Euro’s are VERY prolific. Everytime I look in the bedding, I find hundreds of cocoons.
5) Euro’s are great fishing worms. Just the right size for a large Catfish, Trout, or Bass.
6) Euro’s can be mixed in with other composting worms.
7) Euro’s are easy to get as big and fat as your little finger.
What type of system am I going to grow them in?
Smaller growers will use worm bins or worm beds for raising smaller quantities for their own use. Larger commercial worm farming operations will use big “worm bed systems” or some type of automated production growing system like the UNCO System used in the video.
How am I going to harvest the different products for sale?
This is the most interesting question and the most critical decision you will make in regards to the success of your worm farming business. Normally there are three saleable items, castings, cocoons (eggs). and worms. Separating and collecting these items can be time consuming and back breaking work. This is where the Worm Shi*fter can save you time, money, and the backache.
How will I market the different products produced from my commercial worm farming operation?
Worms are sold into the fishing industry and the composting industry. Worm cocoons are sold into composting industry and the garden industry. The worm castings are sold into the garden industry and the organic fertilizer industry. You must establish a good market for your products to have a successful worm farming business. In states where it is legal to grow medical Marijuana, worm castings are an excellent resource for the growers.
I would like to pass along some advice from my Worm Shi*fter customers to help you make better decisions when starting into the vermiculture business. Start small, you can always grow your business as you become more familiar with the business and markets. Start by doing most things by hand. When you get your feeding and breeding system established invest in automated equipment like the Worm Shi*fter so you can grow your business.