Farming With Nature: why we welcome moles on the farm

Rebecca Hosking
Friday, 30th January 2015

Gardeners may want to scare off their moles but Village Farm are delighted they are moving on to their holistically grazed pasture. Rebecca Hosking from explains why.

We've just noticed mole hills in the field where the sheep are now currently grazing. Previously this field was exhausted over-grazed pasture. The evidence that we now have moles in that field is fantastic news. Moles are a brilliant indicator that our soil is recovering and consequently has a heavy population of earthworms. There's more organic matter left after grazing to feed them.

A adult mole needs 50g of earthworms a day to survive and the average earthworm weighs 0.2g. That means a mole has to eat roughly 250 earthworms a day, which in turn tells us our soils must be easily supporting a far higher earthworm population for that mole to happily live there.

Also moles do directly benefit our soils with their behaviour. As the mole digs its tunnels underground it aerates our soils which creates aerobic conditions underground.

'Aerobic conditions' are a very good thing to have in soil because it enables 'good' soil bacteria and fungi to grow. Those 'good' fungi and bacteria stimulate and protect the roots of the pasture above thus increasing plant growth.

Oh and did I mention moles like eating slugs too?

So all in all, moles in our pasture are a thing to cherish.

Further Resources!

Village Farm is featured in Permaculture 83. 'Farming With Nature' by Maddy Harland describes how Village Farm is being transformed from a grazed out, ploughed out landcsape into a biodiverse farm with the help of holistic grazing, hedgerow regeneration, tree planting and other regenerative techniques.

SUBSCRIBE to print or digital versions and get access to read 82 back issues totally free online - a true treasure trove of permaculture information since 1992!

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Adam Yost |
Sat, 31/01/2015 - 16:18

Couldn't the moles hurt the plant roots, especially annuals? Or am I thinking gophers.

Teus Dorresteijn |
Tue, 05/06/2018 - 09:33

Indeed, in a garden with seedlings and small plants and flowers they will spoil some.
But years ago I started renting a piece of grassland which was very wet and soaked. After applying some compost with worms the moles were also attracted and due to their digging after some years the ground was well drained.