Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

J. Graenitz and R. Bauer:

The effect of fertilization and crop rotation on biological activity in a 90 year long-term experiment


Since 1906, a long-term field experiment has been carried out in Großenzersdorf (Lower Austria) to determine the effects of monoculture, crop rotation and different fertilization methods on the yield of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) and winter rye (Secale cereale). Additionally, chemical and physical soil parameters have been recorded, but no biological data.

To assess the biological activity in the soil of the 12 different plots, we applied the VON TÖRNE'S bait-lamina-test and investigated the abundance of enchytracids as potential feeders on the bait substances. The bait-lamina-test showed a significantly lower biological activity in the unfertilized plots. A higher feeding activity of soil-living animals could be demonstrated in the plots with monoculture versus plots with crop rotation. The consequence of dead fallow in the previous year was reduced biological activity and enchytraeid number.

Key words:  bait-lamina-test, biological activity, Enchytracidac, long-term rotation, fertilization.