Guide on raising worms and how to write a commercial worm farm business plan. breakdown organic matter and enhances plant growth. They are also a good food source for fish and other marine life.
Worm raising is a niche that requires specialized tools and knowledge. The business is practicable from home or a dedicated site. The cost considerations depend on the scale of the farm.
How to Start a Commercial Worm Farm
Write a Business Plan
Write a worm farming business plan and carry out a feasibility study. Choose a business name and study your competitors. Create a budget and use online resources to find customer base. The plan should cover equipment, labor, sourcing the breeding stock.
Learn the Trade
Before starting a commercial worm farm you need to understand the business. Learn how to raise earthworms, know what to feed and protection them from the weather or predators.
Learn how to build a worm bed, produce compost, worm tea, packaging and pricing. Understand the local market and different income sources.
Growing Earth Worms
Earthworms feed on decaying matter and grow in surface litter. A primary source for fish bate they are also used in composite industry. There are different species of worms so the farmer should use fast growing, high yield ones.
Choose the species common to you locality that attracts best prices. Brandling worms are ideal for vermiculture while African night crawler best as bate. Red earthworms grow 2 to 4 inches in mature 5 to 6 months have 100 cocoons each. To grow them successfully you need to prepare a worm bed.
The main equipment for a commercial worm farm is the worm bed. Earthworms grow easily in any container however worm beds are highly productive. The container should have provisions for drainage and introduce organic matter.
Make sure the bedding material is moist, deep and correct temperature. Protect the worm box from weather conditions such as heavy rain or dry weather.
Heavy rain could cause heavy casualty like death or escape of stock. To prevent flooding use a temporary removable shed cover and perforated drainage pipes.
Commercial Worm Farm Equipment
- Permanent concrete bed
- Wooden bed
- Block bed
- Multiple bins
Constructing the Worm Bed
There are four types of worm beds based on construction material. Construct the worm bed with either wood or block. You can use special plastic containers or build a permanent concrete bed.
Wooden Worm Bed
Set the structure 20 inches in the ground and 48 inch wide. Make the wooden box 12.25 x 4 feet and bed area 12 x 3.5 feet. Construction material are nails, lumber 2 x 4 in, lumber 2 x 8 in, drainage pipe 4 in. Others include sand 3 in, top soil and compost mix 8 in, gravel 3 in.
Block Worm Bed
The best material for the block bed should be cinder-block. This is because of its expansion quality. Construct the worm bed 12 x 4 feet with bed area 10.67 x 2.67 feet.
Items needed are radar 3/8 in, drain pipe 4 in, gravel 3 in and cinder blocks 8 x 8 x 16 in. other material are sand 3 in, compost for top soil 8 in.
The cost considerations depends on equipment, stocking number, land, labor. To raise money try target savings, borrow from friends and family. The cost of running a worm farm depends on the size and scope of the enterprise. A small worm bed made from cinder including labor and stocking would cost $500.
How to Select Worm Breeding Stock
Things to consider before choosing a worm is the climatic condition, soil composition. Other considerations include reproductive rate, food conversion rate.
The duration for maturity, length, size, number of eggs produced a year. Other parameters include market base, equipment and availability of food source. The species should be local, hardy and in demand.
Worm Selection Considerations
- Climatic condition
- Soil composition
- Reproductive rate
- Food conversion rate
- Length of maturity
- Number of eggs produced
- Market base
- Availability of food source
The stocking rate is very important to the success of the enterprise. Stock a square foot bed with 100 to 400 worms. A well-managed bed can produce 5 pounds of worm per square foot yearly.
The number of worms in a bed would impact the growth rate, feed conversion ratio and size of the worms. Try to resist overstocking the bed or overfeeding. Overfeeding could kill the worms from contamination or buildup of toxins.
Worms are hermaphrodites with both sex organs. They grow rapidly and can reproduce within 1 to 2 months. However attaining full maturity could take 6 to 8 months.
Feeding the Worms
Feed the worm’s organic matter like kitchen waste. Other food source is livestock feed, fresh mature. Mix the manure with water and spray on the bed.
Worms are incapable of digesting fatty oils, oils, dairy products or meat. Therefore remove such harmful waste from the food. Good kitchen waste are salads, fruits, weeds, greens.
- Organic matter
- Kitchen waste
- Livestock feed
- Fresh mature
The best time to harvest the bed is early morning. Worms tend to feed actively at night near the surface. Remove 3 inches of top bedding material, separate bedding material and select appropriate worms.
Once you have separated the worms return the rest and bedding. A commercial farm rely on a separator while small farmers can use a sorting screen. Store in a container with moist bedding until time to sell. Make sure the worms arrive at their destination live.
With over 30 million recreational fishermen in the United States of America alone there is a huge market for earthworms. Organic based products is environmentally friendly and attracts premium price.
We have the fertilizer, compost industry, bate for fishing and breeding stock. The worms and their droppings is ideal for organic fertilizer.
Fishermen buy for bate while, worm breeders require breeding stock. The markets are specialized however worm farmers earn good price for the product.
- Compost Makers
- Fertilizer Producers
- Worm tea (waste water by-product for plants)
- Fish Bate
- Research institutions
- Crop farmers
- Animal feed producers
- Worm Stocking
The production of castings for fertilizer through the aid of worms is vermiculture. The warms feed on organic waste and produce organic matter. Capable of consuming 1/3 of body weight daily they produce good quantity of compost. The highly organic material is sold to commercial farms and private gardens.