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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Abundance of earthworms not affected by reduced tillage in sandy arable soil; a ten year experiment in Brandenburg, Germany

Published source details

Joschko M., Gebbers R., Barkusky D., Rogasik J., Lüscher W., Hierold W., Fox C.A. & Timmer J. (2009) Location-dependency of earthworm response to reduced tillage on sandy soil. Soil and Tillage Research, 102, 55-66

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Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study in Komturei Lietzen, Brandeburg, Germany (Joschko et al. 2009), found that the average abundance of earthworms (Lumbricidae) in an arable soil was almost identical under conventional and reduced tillage over ten years - around 12 earthworms/m2. From September 1996 until 2006, one half of a 74 ha arable field was conventionally ploughed to a depth of 25 cm. The other half was subject to non-inversion tillage using a precision cultivator to a depth of 15-18 cm. Earthworms were collected by hand sorting from twenty-one 40 x 50 x 20 cm blocks of soil in each treatment, in September and April-May of each year. Large, deep burrowing earthworms may be underestimated by this method. When paired sample points with similar soil properties were compared, average abundance of earthworms was higher under reduced tillage in soils with fine particles (>7% fine particles) but not in sandy soils.