Earthworm populations under different tillage systems in organic farming

  • Published source details Peigne J., Cannavaciuolo M., Gautronneau Y., Aveline A., Giteau J.L. & Cluzeau D. (2009) Earthworm populations under different tillage systems in organic farming. Soil & Tillage Research, 104, 207-214.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce tillage

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Reduce tillage

    A randomized, replicated, controlled trial on three organic arable farms in different regions of France (Peigne et al. 2009) found that earthworm (Lumbricidae) biomass was higher under no tillage than on the control or other reduced tillage treatments at all three sites, in at least two years. At two of the sites, there was no difference between treatments in earthworm abundance. At the other site (an irrigated farm in the Rhône Alpes region of southeastern France), earthworm abundance was also significantly higher in the no tillage treatment in two of the three sampling years. In general there were more deep-burrowing species in the no tillage treatment than other treatments. This difference was statistically significant at two of the three sites. There was no increase in the number of earthworm burrows (created by deep-burrowing earthworms) under no tillage. Four tillage treatments were compared: conventional mouldboard ploughing to 30 cm, shallow ploughing to 15-20 cm, reduced tillage with tined tools to 12-15 cm, no tillage. On each farm, three replicates of each treatment were randomly located within three blocks. Experiments began between 2003 and 2005 and were monitored annually for two to five years. Earthworms were extracted using formalin in October or April-May.


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