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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of non-inversion tillage on farmland birds, soil and surface-active invertebrates and surface seeds.

Published source details

Cunningham H.M. (2004) The effect of non-inversion tillage on farmland birds, soil and surface-active invertebrates and surface seeds. PhD Thesis. Open University.


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Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in the winters of 2001-2003 in 20 experimental and 20 control winter wheat fields at seven farms in Leicestershire and Shropshire, UK (Cunningham 2004) found that there was no significant difference in earthworm (Lumbricidae), ground beetle (Carabidae), rove beetle (Staphylinidae) or spider (Araneae) numbers in non-inversion tillage fields compared to conventionally-tilled fields. Beetle (Coleoptera) larvae showed some tendency for higher numbers in conventional (1.2) compared to non-inversion tillage (0.5) in July, but not March or May. The mean number of seed species per field did not differ significantly between treatments in autumn (17-18/m²) or spring (15-16/ m²). Nine samples for earthworms and seeds were taken in October-November and March and for arthropods in March, May and July. Earthworms were sampled in 10 cm diameter by 10 cm deep cores, seeds in surface soil samples of 25 cm² and 1 cm deep and spiders and insects in pitfall traps. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Cunningham et al. 2002, Cunningham et al. 2005).