Intercropping cabbage with clover: effects on ground beetles

  • Published source details Booij C.J.H., Noorlander J. & Theunissen J. (1997) Intercropping cabbage with clover: effects on ground beetles. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 15, 261-268.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

    plication. A replicated, controlled, randomized study in 1991 and 1992 of a cabbage crop near Lienden in the Netherlands (Booij et al. 1997) found that ground beetle (Carabidae) abundance was higher in cabbage Brassica oleracea intercropped with clover Trifolium spp. than a cabbage monoculture. The overall activity-density of ground beetles was significantly higher in intercropped plots (151–455 caught) than within cabbage alone (85–263). There was no difference in intercropping with white clover Trifolium repens (21–22 species/plot) or subterranean clover Trifolium subterraneum (20–23 species/plot). A number of species were caught significantly more frequently in intercropped plots including the most dominant species Pterostichus melanarius (81–153 individuals vs 71) and Agonum dorsale (77–152 vs 63), and also Loricera pilicornis (6.3–9.3 vs 0.3). In both years, species diversity was higher in intercropped plots (20–23 species/plot) than cabbage alone (17–18), but this was only significant in 1991 (20–22 vs 18). Differences in activity-density between treatments tended to be lost by late summer. A randomized block experiment with four replicates of three treatments in plots of 25 x 25 m² was established in 1990. Clover was sown before cabbage and covered approximately half of the soil surface. No pesticides were applied. Six pitfall traps were set, 7 m apart, in each plot and were emptied weekly between May and September.

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