Working with UK farmers to investigate anecic earthworm middens and soil biophysical properties

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Stroud, J. L., Dummett, I., Kemp, S. J. and Sturrock, C. J. 2022. Working with UK farmers to investigate anecic earthworm middens and soil biophysical properties. Annals of Applied Biology - AAB. https://doi.org/10.1111/aab.12795

AuthorsStroud, J. L., Dummett, I., Kemp, S. J. and Sturrock, C. J.
Abstract

The conversion from conventional tillage to no-tillage soil management practices is generally associated with an improvement in aggregate stability and anecic earthworm populations. We worked with UK farmers who measured Lumbricus terrestris midden area (%) and earthworm numbers associated with middens compared to the general soil. They found that middens covered up to 42% of the soil surface. Middened soil (i.e., soil underlying the middens) was associated with significantly more earthworms than the general soil (i.e., non-middened soil) in agreement with research from scientific field trials. We compared the biophysical properties of middened soil to general soil across an experimental field trial recently converted to no-tillage soil management practices. We measured water-stable aggregation, soil porosity at scales relevant to water storage and gas diffusion and invertebrate feeding activity. Middened areas covered up to 13% of the field trial and were associated with significantly improved aggregate stability and porosity compared to the general soil. Our findings highlight the importance of considering middens when surveying soil quality and health in arable systems.

Year of Publication2022
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology - AAB
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/aab.12795
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderNatural Environment Research Council
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Jun 2022
ISSN0003-4746
PublisherWiley

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