Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Arthropod abundance differs in autumn and spring sown crops

Published source details

Douglas D.J.T., Vickery J.A. & Benton T.G. (2010) Variation in arthropod abundance in barley under varying sowing regimes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 135, 127-131


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

Plant crops in spring rather than autumn Farmland Conservation

A replicated site comparison study in 2004 of autumn-sown and spring-sown barley on four farms in Scotland (Douglas et al. 2010) found that arthropod abundance was higher in autumn barley in early summer and in spring barley in late summer. Arthropod abundance was significantly higher in autumn barley from April to June (autumn barley: 8-21/sample; spring: 3-14), consistent with earlier crop development. The reverse was true in July and August (autumn barley: 15-23; spring: 20-26/sample). Abundances of individual arthropod orders varied slightly between the two sowing regimes. A total of five spring and five autumn barley fields were selected from four farms (two of each crop type). No insecticides were applied, but fields received one or two herbicide applications. Arthropods were sampled on five occasions in each field (April-August 2004) using a leaf vacuum (15 cm diameter). Sampling was undertaken at intervals (5 or 30 m) along 2-5 parallel transects (100 m apart) across the width of each field.

 

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

A replicated study of autumn-sown and spring-sown barley on four farms in Scotland (Douglas et al. 2010) found that arthropod abundance was higher with fewer herbicide applications. Peak season (July) counts of total arthropod abundance in autumn and spring-sown barley were significantly higher in fields that received one herbicide application (28/sample) than fields receiving two applications (18-21/sample). This was also the case for many individual orders, particularly beetles (Coleoptera) (spring barley one application: 14/sample, two applications: 12; autumn barley one: 12, two: 4) and spiders (Araneae) (spring barley one application: 1.5, two: 0.75; autumn barley one: 2.5, two: 1.75). A total of five spring and five autumn barley fields were selected from four farms (two of each crop type). No insecticides were applied, but fields received one or two herbicide applications. Arthropods were sampled on five occasions in each field (April–August 2004) using a leaf vacuum (15 cm diameter). Sampling was undertaken at intervals (5 or 30 m) along 2-5 parallel transects (100 m apart) across the width of each field.