THE EFFECT OF LUMBRICUS RUBELLUS SEEDLING DENSITY ON EARTHWORM BIOMASS AND QUANTITY AS WELL AS QUALITY OF KASCING IN VERMICOMPOSTING OF CATTLE FECES AND BAGASSE MIX
Kurnani Tubagus Benito Achmad, Yuli Astuti Hidayati, Novarianto Abdullah, Aris Sutendy
Cattle feces may cause environmental pollution if it is not treated wisely. In order to avoid the negative environmental impact, cattle feces can be converted into valuable organic fertilizer by mean of vermicomposting, a composting process using earthworm as a bioconverter. One of earthworms that can be use for this purpose is Lumbricus rubellus This bioconversion of cattle feces provides two benefits, i.e., Kascing, an organic fertilizer composted with compost substrate and earthworm casting, and biomass of earthworm, a high protein content animal feed. This study was conducted at the Faculty of Animal Husbandry, Universitas Padjadjaran, Indonesia. The objective of this research is to find out the effect of Lumbricus rubellus seedling density on the earthworm biomass, and on the quantity and quality of Kascing in vermicomposting of cattle feces and bagasse mix. This experiment was carried out based on completely randomized design with three treatments of seedling density of earthworm namely of 1.5 kg/m2, 2 kg/m2 and 2.5 kg/m2. The treatments were performed in six replications within 21 days. The result of this study indicates that the seedling density significantly increases the biomass of L.rubellus and decreases the quantity of Kascing. Seedling density of 2.5 kg/m2 results in the highest earthworm biomass, but in the same time results in the lowest Kascing quantity. Furthermore, the seedling density also increases phosphorus and potassium content of the resulted Kascing significantly, but not the nitrogen content. The resulted Kascing can be used as a source of nitrogen.
Key words: cattle feces, bagasse, vermicomposting, L. rubellus, Kascing