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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Springtails are more abundant in soils subject to reduced tillage for three years; an experiment at Oakpark Research Centre, County Carlow, Ireland

Published source details

Brennan A., Fortune T. & Bolger T. (2006) Collembola abundances and assemblage structures in conventionally tilled and conservation tillage arable systems. Pedobiologia, 50, 135-145

This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled trial at the Oakpark Research Centre, County Carlow, Ireland (Brennan et al. 2006), found that winter wheat plots subjected to a reduced tillage regime for three years had more springtails (Collembola) in the soil than conventionally ploughed plots. Conventional plots had around 100 springtails/m2 and ‘ECOtilled’ plots had over 300 springtails/m2 on average. Sixteen 24 x 30 m plots were established in 2000 and sown with winter wheat every year. ‘ECOtillage’ plots were cultivated with a shallow cultivator 5-10 cm deep after harvesting. Weeds were sprayed with herbicide, and the crop was sown with a cultivator drill. Control plots were ploughed with a mouldboard plough to a depth of 25 cm and cultivated with a power harrow (10-15 cm) before sowing. At harvest, straw was either baled and removed or chopped and replaced on the soil surface. There were four replicates of each treatment combination, and 12 m buffer strips around each plot. Springtails were extracted from soil samples in 2003.