Cover cropping with oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus) alone does not enhance deep burrowing earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) midden counts

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Stroud, J. L., Irons, D. E., Watts, C. W., Storkey, J., Morris, N. L., Stobart, R. M., Fielding, H. A. and Whitmore, A. P. 2017. Cover cropping with oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus) alone does not enhance deep burrowing earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) midden counts. Soil & Tillage Research. 165 (January), pp. 11-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.07.013

AuthorsStroud, J. L., Irons, D. E., Watts, C. W., Storkey, J., Morris, N. L., Stobart, R. M., Fielding, H. A. and Whitmore, A. P.
Abstract

Deep burrowing earthworms are important ecosystem service providers but their populations are reduced by arable cultivations. We need to both better understand the impact of changes in crop management on earthworms and implement practices to enhance their in-field populations. Two current trends in arable cropping are the increased use of non-inversion tillage and over winter cover crops. Lumbricus terrestris abundances were estimated using midden counting on two field trials comparing tillage and cover cropping management practices. The long running (8-year) field trial showed that shallow non-inversion tillage had significantly (p < 0.01) greater L. terrestris abundances at 4.3 middens per m2, in comparison to deep (ca. 20 cm) non-inversion tillage (3 middens per m2) and conventional ploughing (ca. 25 cm) (1.9 middens per m2), indicating that it is inversion rather than the depth of soil disturbance that is detrimental to their abundance. All trials showed that cover cropping with oilseed radish had no significant (p > 0.05) effect on L. terrestris midden counts, either during winter cover cropping or within the arable rotation. Field observations identified that 93% of middens were associated with crop leaves (still attached to the stem) incorporated into the burrow which may be a novel route of agrochemical exposure and needs further investigation.

Keywordsmidden; cover cropping; tillage; plough
Year of Publication2017
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Journal citation165 (January), pp. 11-15
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.07.013
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Funder project or codeSustainability
Roots of Decline? Assembly and Function of the Rhizosphere Microbiome in Relation to Crop Yield
Improvement of soil structure and crop yield by adding organic matter to soil
Improving yield through management of soil organisms under cropping
Roots of Decline? Assembly and Function of the Rhizosphere Microbiome in Relation to Crop Yield
Optimisation of nutrients in soil-plant systems: Determining how phosphorus availability is regulated in soils
Quantifying Sustainable Systems
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online27 Jul 2016
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Jul 2016
ISSN0167-1987
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

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