Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Higher abundance of soil animals in an arable soil with reduced tillage, fertilizer and pesticide use, at Lovinkhoeve Experimental Farm, Noordoostpolder, the Netherlands

Published source details

Ruiter P.C.D., Moore J.C., Zwart K.B., Bouwman L.A., Hassink J., Bloem J., Vos J.A.D., Marinissen J.C.Y., Didden W.A.M., Lebrink G. & Brussaard L. (1993) Simulation of Nitrogen Mineralization in the Below-Ground Food Webs of Two Winter Wheat Fields. Journal of Applied Ecology, 30, 95-106


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

Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study at the Lovinkhoeve Experimental Farm, Noordoostpolder, the Netherlands (Ruiter et al. 1993) found greater biomass of microbes, protozoa, nematodes (Nematoda) and earthworms (Lumbricidae), but not of mites (Acari) and springtails (Collembola), in the upper 10 cm of an arable soil with reduced tillage and reduced fertilizer and pesticide inputs, than in a conventionally managed soil. At lower depth (10-25 cm), there were no consistent differences in soil fauna. The reduced tillage plot had 8.9 kg C/ha of earthworms in the top 10 cm, and 4.7 kg C/ha at 10-25 cm depth. No earthworms were recorded in conventional plots. Total biomass of nematodes in the upper layer was 0.79 kg C/ha in the reduced tillage plot, and 0.30 kg C/ha in the conventional plot. Reduced tillage plots were cultivated to 12-15 cm depth without inversion of the topsoil, compared to 20-25 cm deep ploughing on conventional plots. They also had reduced nitrogen and pesticide applications. The experiment began in 1985. Soil samples were taken from three areas of each plot under winter wheat in 1986.

 

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study at the Lovinkhoeve Experimental Farm, Noordoostpolder, the Netherlands (Ruiter et al. 1993) found a higher biomass of microbes, protozoa, nematodes (Nematoda) and earthworms (Lumbricidae), but not of mites (Acari) and springtails (Collembola), in the upper 10 cm of an arable soil with reduced fertilizer and pesticide inputs, than in a conventionally managed soil. At lower depth (10-25 cm), there were no consistent differences in soil animals. The reduced input plot had 8.9 kg C/ha of earthworms in the top 10 cm, and 4.7 kg C/ha at 10-25 cm depth. No earthworms were recorded in conventional plots. Total biomass of nematodes in the upper layer was 0.79 kg C/ha in reduced input plots, and 0.3 kg C/ha in the conventional plots. Reduced input plots had applications of 65-170 kg nitrogen fertilizer/ha/year, compared to 130-285 kg N/ha on conventional plots. They also had reduced tillage. The experiment began in 1985. Soil samples were taken from three areas of each plot under winter wheat in 1986.