Individual study: More potworms (Enchytraeidae) under reduced tillage than deep ploughing, in arable fields at Relliehausen and Grossobringen, Germany
Rohrig R., Langmaack M., Schrader S. & Larink O. (1998) Tillage systems and soil compaction - their impact on abundance and vertical distribution of Enchytraeidae. Soil & Tillage Research, 46, 117-127
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A paired site comparison study on two farms, at Relliehausen and Grossobringen, Germany (Rohrig et al. 1998), found significantly more potworms (Enchytraeidae) in plots under reduced tillage than conventionally ploughed treatments. There were averages of 8,265-8,664 potworms/m2 under reduced tillage, and 3,620-6,296 potworms/m2 under conventional tillage. In plots with reduced tillage, more than 60% of potworms were in the upper 10 cm of soil at both sites. In deep ploughed plots, the potworms were distributed down to 25 cm deep. Conventional treatments were ploughed to 25-30 cm depth at both sites. The reduced tillage treatments were conservation tillage with a rotary harrow to a depth of 12 cm, incorporating mulch at Relliehausen, and shallow ploughing to 12 cm at Grossobringen. The systems had been in place since 1990. In spring 1995, potworms were extracted from fifteen 25 cm deep soil cores, divided into 5 cm layers, in each tillage system.