Invertebrate abundance on cereal fields and set-aside land - implications for wild gamebird chicks

  • Published source details Moreby S.J. & Aebischer N.J. (1992) Invertebrate abundance on cereal fields and set-aside land - implications for wild gamebird chicks. British Crop Protection Council Monographs, 50, 181-186.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A replicated, controlled study of 44 fields on five farms over two years in Hampshire and Wiltshire, UK (Moreby & Aebischer 1992) found that, overall, chick food was three times higher on fallow set-aside than on wheat.  Significantly higher numbers of leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) were found on first and second-year set-aside (53 vs 9/sample) and true bugs (Heteroptera) in second-year set-aside than wheat (24 vs 6).  In contrast, ground beetles (Carabidae; 0.3 vs 0.8), rove beetles (Staphylinidae; 6 vs 14), leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae; 0.7 vs 1.4), aphids (Aphididae; 31 vs 74) and flies (Diptera; 38 vs 67) were all significantly less abundant on set-aside than crops (respectively).  Numbers in set-aside and wheat did not differ for spiders (Araneae; 13 vs 10/sample), springtails (Collembola, 855 vs 661) or larvae of butterflies, moths and sawflies (Lepidoptera and Symphyta; 0.4 vs 0.7).  Fields in the first year of the UK’s five-year set-aside scheme (left fallow or drilled with grass) were sampled in June 1990.  In 1991, 15 fields at two of the five farms were re-sampled to evaluate second-year fallow set-aside.  Invertebrates were collected using a D-Vac suction sampler in the headlands of fields, 3 m from the field edge. Five samples of 0.5 m² were taken at each site.


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