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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of bio-dynamic, organic and conventional farming on ground beetles (Col. Carabidae) and other epigaeic arthropods in winter wheat

Published source details

Pfiffner L. & Niggli U. (1996) Effects of bio-dynamic, organic and conventional farming on ground beetles (Col. Carabidae) and other epigaeic arthropods in winter wheat. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 12, 353-364


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Convert to organic farming Natural Pest Control

A randomised, replicated, controlled study in 1988-1991 in Therwil, Switzerland (Pfiffner & Niggli 1996) reported 1.8-2.2 times more natural enemies in organic and biodynamic plots than in conventional plots of wheat Triticum sp.. More ground beetles (Carabidae) were found in organic and biodynamic plots (averaging 72-75 individuals) than conventional (46 individuals) plots in 1999, but only biodynamic plots had greater abundance (208 individuals) than conventional plots (89 individuals) in 1998 and no differences were found in 2000. Organic and biodynamic plots had more rove beetles (Staphylinidae, 42-58 individuals) than conventional plots (20-33 individuals) in 1998-1999, but there was again no difference in 2000. Spider (Araneae) abundance was similar between treatments in 1998 but was greater in organic and biodynamic (64-89 individuals) than conventional (28-45 individuals) plots in 1999-2000. Organic and biodynamic plots had 4-7.5 more ground beetle species (on average) than conventional plots. Treatments were tested in 10 x 20 m plots replicated four times. Organic and biodynamic plots (farmed identically in this study) were fertilized with farmyard manure and weeds were controlled mechanically. Conventional plots received manure and mineral fertilizer and integrated plant protection. Natural enemies were sampled using 4-8 pitfall traps (of 10 cm diameter) per treatment.