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New Zealand Plant Protection 65 (2012): 295

Invertebrate abundance and diversity in intensively managed dairy pastures

M.G. Cripps, M.R. McNeill, H. Patrick, B. Wiseman, F. Nobilly and G.R. Edwards


The invertebrate community richness, diversity and abundance associated with pasture productivity and plant species richness at the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm was examined. Invertebrates were sampled in November 2010 (spring) and March 2011 (late summer) by pitfall traps in two pastures types: simple (perennial ryegrass/white clover) and complex (perennial ryegrass, white clover, prairie grass, chicory, plantain, red clover). Pooled across seasons, invertebrate richness was greater in the complex pasture compared to the simple pasture, but there were no differences in invertebrate community diversity or total abundance between pasture types. However, greater productivity of the complex pasture in late summer resulted in greater invertebrate abundance in this pasture type, but without a concomitant increase in invertebrate species richness or diversity. These preliminary results suggest that pasture productivity drives invertebrate abundance, and that pasture plant richness drives invertebrate richness, regardless of productivity.

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