Enchytraeids (small white earthworms between 3 to 35 mm) are important regulators of nitrogen turnover in grasslands, as their activities accelerate the decomposition and nutrient recycling processes. In this study, the effect of management on species composition, abundance and biomass of the enchytraeid community was determined at three sampling occasions (before slurry application in October 2010 and March 2011, and after slurry application in May 2011) in 1-yr-old grass-clover field with three managements: 1) cut without manure, 2) cut with cattle slurry, and 3) grazed by heifers. We observed a significant effect of management on the enchytraeid biomass and density but no significant changes in their species composition. The slurry plot had the significantly highest biomass for the three management practices, in particular when compared to the grazed plots. We suggest that the lower enchytraeids biomass and density of the grazed plots are due to compaction by grazing animals.
European Grassland Federation. Proceedings of the General Meeting, 2012, Vol 17, p. 454-456