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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reduced pesticide input benefited predatory arthropods, but also aphids, in an arable field in central Germany

Published source details

Schumacher K. & Freier B. (2008) Effects of a low-input pesticide use on tritrophic systems in winter wheat and pea. Mitteilungen Der Deutschen Gesellschaft Fur Allgemeine Und Angewandte Entomologie, 16, 343-346


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

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

A paired before-and-after trial in summer 2004-2006 in one arable field in central Germany (Schumacher & Freier 2008) found higher numbers of aphids (Aphidoidea) and their arthropod predators (‘predator units’) in the half field with reduced pesticide treatment than in the control (normal pesticide application) part of the same field after insecticide treatment. No clear effect of reduced pesticide use could be found on ground beetles (Carabidae) as contradicting results were found in all three years. Weed cover was very low in all years and sites (often <1% after herbicide treatment), but significantly more plants were found in the low intensity part of the field in the third study year. Pesticide use on one half of a conventionally managed arable field was reduced to 50%, whereas the other half with 100% pesticide input was used as a control. Aphids, their predators and arable weeds were monitored before and after each pesticide treatment at five points along a line perpendicular to the field edge. Ground beetles were caught weekly in six pitfall traps in each site in June and July. Plants were recorded as plants present/m2 before treatments and as plant cover after treatments. This study is also described in an additional publication (Schumacher & Freier 2006).

Additional reference:

Schumacher K. & Freier B. (2006) Impact of low-input plant protection on functional biodiversity in wheat and pea. Bulletin OILB SROP, 29, 121-124.