Effects of different compost amendments on soil biotic and faunal feeding activity in an organic farming system

  • Published source details Pfotzer G.H. & Schuler C. (1997) Effects of different compost amendments on soil biotic and faunal feeding activity in an organic farming system. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 15, 177-183.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

    A study of arable fields in 1989-1992 and 1994 in Germany (Pfotzer & Schuler 1997) found that soil microbial activity, feeding activity of soil fauna and the abundance of springtails (Collembola) and mites (Acari) were higher in plots with organic rather than mineral fertilizers. Soil microbial activity did not differ between treatments in April (17-20 micro fluorescein g/dry matter/h), but it was significantly higher with compost treatments (farmyard manure 25-32, farmyard manure plus hornmeal 24-31, composted organic household waste 25-34) compared to mineral fertilization (20-27). Compost application significantly increased feeding activity compared to mineral fertilization (farmyard manure 1-5 perforated baits/d, farmyard manure plus hornmeal 1-5, household waste 1-6, mineral fertilization 1-2). The abundance of springtails and mites showed the same pattern. Composts were applied at 60 Mg fresh matter/ha and hornmeal at 0.6 Mg/ha. Fields were on rotation from winter wheat to oil radish, potatoes and winter barley. Soil biological activity was measured with the bait-lamina test (April-August 1994) and rate of fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis (topsoil 0-10 cm samples). Springtails and mites were sampled 13 times between 1989 and 1992 using a modified Kempson extractor.


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