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Milled cereal straw accelerates earthworm ( Lumbricus terrestris ) growth more than selected organic amendments

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Farmyard manure increased earthworm populations more than straw in the field.

Milled straw increased earthworm growth more than milled manures in microcosms.

Earthworm growth rates are positively correlated with amendment calorific value.

Straw only benefits earthworm growth when milled.

Incorporating milled straw in arable soils may increase earthworm populations.

Incorporating milled straw in arable soils may increase earthworm populations.

No MeSH data available.


Change in the biomass of Lumbricus terrestris earthworms over the course of a 10 week microcosm experiment are receiving no food (i.e. control treatments), wheat straw or barley straw at a rate of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 g kg−1 week−1 applied to the surface of the microcosm. Each data point is the mean of four replicates. Error bars are standard errors of the mean.
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fig0025: Change in the biomass of Lumbricus terrestris earthworms over the course of a 10 week microcosm experiment are receiving no food (i.e. control treatments), wheat straw or barley straw at a rate of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 g kg−1 week−1 applied to the surface of the microcosm. Each data point is the mean of four replicates. Error bars are standard errors of the mean.

Mentions: Milling straw requires a significant input of energy and thus has a financial cost associated with it. Mani et al. (2004) compared the energy required to mill barley and wheat straw using a hammer mill and found that while they were similar, wheat straw required slightly less energy, which is consistent with our anecdotal observations that wheat straw appears to be more brittle. Considering that we observed no significant difference between the barley straw and wheat straw on the growth rate of L. terrestris (Fig. 5), and that the total energy content of both straws was similar (Table 2), we propose that either residue is a suitable candidate for field applications. Based on an application rate of 5 t ha−1 and an energy requirement of 37 kWh t−1 to mill wheat straw at 8.3% moisture content through a 1.6 mm screen (Mani et al., 2004), the energy investment to mill all the wheat straw harvested from a field would be approximately 185 kWh ha−1, or 666 MJ ha−1. This value compares with an estimated 100–1000 MJ ha−1 used to plough arable soils (Bailey et al., 2003, Patterson et al., 1980). If the surface application of straw reduced to < 1.6 mm by a hammer mill (perhaps attached to a combine harvester) increased earthworm populations to the extent that their activities negated mechanical cultivations due to their beneficial soil biological engineering (Bender et al., 2016) then crops of similar yield could potentially be grown with a lower input of energy and labour.


Milled cereal straw accelerates earthworm ( Lumbricus terrestris ) growth more than selected organic amendments
Change in the biomass of Lumbricus terrestris earthworms over the course of a 10 week microcosm experiment are receiving no food (i.e. control treatments), wheat straw or barley straw at a rate of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 g kg−1 week−1 applied to the surface of the microcosm. Each data point is the mean of four replicates. Error bars are standard errors of the mean.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5391807&req=5

fig0025: Change in the biomass of Lumbricus terrestris earthworms over the course of a 10 week microcosm experiment are receiving no food (i.e. control treatments), wheat straw or barley straw at a rate of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 g kg−1 week−1 applied to the surface of the microcosm. Each data point is the mean of four replicates. Error bars are standard errors of the mean.
Mentions: Milling straw requires a significant input of energy and thus has a financial cost associated with it. Mani et al. (2004) compared the energy required to mill barley and wheat straw using a hammer mill and found that while they were similar, wheat straw required slightly less energy, which is consistent with our anecdotal observations that wheat straw appears to be more brittle. Considering that we observed no significant difference between the barley straw and wheat straw on the growth rate of L. terrestris (Fig. 5), and that the total energy content of both straws was similar (Table 2), we propose that either residue is a suitable candidate for field applications. Based on an application rate of 5 t ha−1 and an energy requirement of 37 kWh t−1 to mill wheat straw at 8.3% moisture content through a 1.6 mm screen (Mani et al., 2004), the energy investment to mill all the wheat straw harvested from a field would be approximately 185 kWh ha−1, or 666 MJ ha−1. This value compares with an estimated 100–1000 MJ ha−1 used to plough arable soils (Bailey et al., 2003, Patterson et al., 1980). If the surface application of straw reduced to < 1.6 mm by a hammer mill (perhaps attached to a combine harvester) increased earthworm populations to the extent that their activities negated mechanical cultivations due to their beneficial soil biological engineering (Bender et al., 2016) then crops of similar yield could potentially be grown with a lower input of energy and labour.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Farmyard manure increased earthworm populations more than straw in the field.

Milled straw increased earthworm growth more than milled manures in microcosms.

Earthworm growth rates are positively correlated with amendment calorific value.

Straw only benefits earthworm growth when milled.

Incorporating milled straw in arable soils may increase earthworm populations.

Incorporating milled straw in arable soils may increase earthworm populations.

No MeSH data available.