Study

Invertebrate abundance tended to be greater where no herbicides were applied to arable fields in Ireland

  • Published source details Purvis G. & Curry J.P. (1984) The influence of weeds and farmyard manure on the activity of carabidae and other ground-dwelling arthropods in a sugar-beet crop. Journal of Applied Ecology, 21, 271-283

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

    A replicated study in an arable field in Ireland (Purvis & Curry 1984) found that application of farmyard manure resulted in an initial, temporary increase in invertebrate taxa, including beneficial arthropods, but overall catch diversity did not differ significantly with organic fertilizer application. Inorganic fertilizers were applied in typical applications to sown sugar beet Beta vulgaris. Three treatments were applied, each replicated in two 10 x 25 m plots: application of pre- and post-emergence herbicides (control: Lenacil and Phenmedipham), application of pre- and post-emergence herbicides plus farmyard manure, and no herbicide application. Percentage weed cover was estimated in five quadrats (0.09 m²) in each plot in June 1979. Nine pitfall traps/plot (5.6 cm diameter) were set for four 7-day trapping periods (May-September).

     

  2. Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

    A replicated study of an arable field in Ireland (Purvis & Curry 1984) found that invertebrate abundance tended to be greater where no herbicides were applied compared to sprayed areas. A greater number of detritus feeders (2,136 vs 637-674), particularly beetles (Coleoptera) and larval and adult flies (Diptera) and herbivores (2,061 vs 174-333) were found in the unsprayed plots compared to sprayed plots, once weed populations were established. Overall predator numbers differed little between treatments (unsprayed: 2,422, sprayed: 2,142-2,356), although more predatory rove beetles (Staphylinidae) (324 vs 78-149) and parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera) (376 vs 72-87) were found in unsprayed plots towards the end of the sampling period. Ground beetles (Carabidae), which were the most numerous predators, showed no difference between treatments (unsprayed: 1,312, sprayed: 1,543-1,606). Inorganic fertilizers were applied in typical applications to sown sugar beet Beta vulgaris. Three treatments were then applied, each replicated in two plots (10 x 25 m): application of pre- and post-emergence herbicides (control: Lenacil and Phenmedipham), application of pre- and post-emergence herbicides plus farmyard manure, and no herbicide application. Percentage weed cover was estimated in five 0.09 m² quadrats/plot in June 1979. Nine pitfall traps/plot (5.6 cm diameter) were set for four 7-day trapping periods (May-September).

Output references

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