Long-term slurry experiment at Hillsborough

Local identifier
LTS
Years operational
1970—
Objective
Evaluate the effects of long-term regular application of slurry on soil quality, biogeochemical interactions, soil ecology, silage quality, grasslands yields, biodiversity and botanical composition
Description
A long-term (50- year-old) grassland experiment, which was established in 1970 at Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, UK (Irish Grid Reference J 244577). The experiment started after the ploughing and reseeding of a pre-existing sward dominated by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). The site is located at an elevation of about 120 m above sea level with mean annual precipitation and temperatures of ∼900 mm and 9 °C respectively (www.metoffice.gov.uk). The soil is a clay loam (42% sand, 24% silt and 34% clay), Cambisol (WRB), overlying Silurian shale and greywacke (Christie, 1987). The grassland experiment includes eight nutrient treatments: . Unfertilised control plots . Inorganic fertiliser applications (i.e. NPK at rates of 200 kg N, 32 kg P, 160 kg K ha−1 year−1) . Pig slurry at 50, 100 or 200 m3 ha-1 year−1 . Cattle slurry at the same three application rates. Hereafter, we refer to low (L), medium (M) and High (H) rates of pig and cattle slurry applications (i.e. 50, 100 or 200 m3 ha−1 year−1) as ‘Pig (L), (M) and (H) and Cattle (L), (M) and (H) respectively. There are six replicate plots (∼ 30 m2 each) under each of the eight nutrient treatments which are randomly allocated across three blocks for a total of 48 plots in a randomized block design. The NPK synthetic and organic fertilizers have been applied every year (since 1970) in three equal dressings, first in the spring and then immediately after the first two cuts. The N content of animal organic amendments as averaged for 10 recent years (2007–2016) is 0.16, 0.32 and 0.64 Mg N ha−1 yr−1 for Cattle (L), (M) and (H) respectively, while pig organic applications (L), (M) and (H) contributed to 0.13, 0.27 and 0.54 Mg N ha−1 yr−1 being added to the soil. The C content of the same animal organic amendments as averaged for 10 recent years (2007–2016) is 0.92, 1.84 and 3.67 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 for Cattle (L), (M) and (H) respectively, while pig organic applications (L), (M) and (H) contributed to 0.27, 0.55 and 1.11 Mg C ha−1 yr-1 being added to the soil.
Data Access Statement
Other
Data license
Don't know
Data policy
https://www.afbini.gov.uk/access-information
Organization
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
research organisation
People
Dr Jonathan Holland
principal investigator
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Dr Dario Fornara
principal investigator
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Ms. Natasha Crumlish
Research Assistant
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Mr Gareth Ridgway
Research Assistant
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Mr Joseph Larkin
Research Assistant
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Mr Nicholas McCloskey
Research Assistant
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch
Mr Thomas Hamilton
Research Assistant
AFBI
Agri-Environment Branch

Site: Long-term slurry experiment on grassland

Type
research station field
Location
Hillsborough
County Down
Northern Ireland
Geographic location
54.452698, -6.0825411
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Elevation
120 Metres
Visits permitted?
Yes
Visiting arrangements
Please contact the Principle Investigators, Dario Fornara or Jonathan Holland to arrange a visit.
History
The experiment started after the ploughing and reseeding of a pre-existing sward dominated by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne).
Management
Animal (Cow/Pig) slurries are applied at three intervals in the year in low (L), medium (M) and High (H) rates of pig and cattle organic applications (i.e. 50, 100 or 200 m3 ha−1 year−1 ) as ‘Pig (L), (M) and (H) and Cattle (L), (M) and (H) respectively. Plant Biomass is harvested three times every year in mid-May, mid-July and mid-September to correspond with a standard silage cutting regime.
Soil type
Cambisol
Soil properties
VariableDepthValue (range)UnitsRef yearEstimated?Baseline?
clay content0 – 15 Centimetres34 Percent
silt content0 – 15 Centimetres24 Percent
sand content0 – 15 Centimetres42 Percent
Climatic type
Temperate oceanic climate, Cfb
Climate description
The climate zone is characterised by mild-wet winters and by cool humid summers with mean annual precipitation varying between 690-1220mm and the annual mean temperature is 9.4°C.
Climate properties
VariableTime periodValue (range)Units
Precipitation 1970 – 2020 898.1 (690 – 1219.1) millimeter
Air temperature 1994 – 2015 9.37 (-15.26 – 28.25) degree Celsius
Grass temperatures 1970 – 1993 2.899 (-14.1 – 17) degree Celsius
Wind direction 1972 – 1993 200.784 Angular Degrees
Wind speed 1972 – 1993 13.44 (81.488 – 0) Kilometers per Hour
Soil temperature (10cm depth) 1970 – 1993 8.335 (-1.2 – 20.7) degree Celsius
Soil temperature (30cm depth) 1970 – 1993 9.558 (1.3 – 17.9) degree Celsius
Soil temperature (100cm) 1970 – 1993 9.58 (3.8 – 15) degree Celsius

Design period: Design since 1970 (1970—)

Design Type
Randomized block design
Description
The experiment investigates the annual changes in herbage yield, mineral composition, botanical composition and soil chemical and biological properties arising from the regular application of three rates of cattle and pig slurries in a three-cut silage system. There are 48 plots in total, in a randomised block design.
Design description
The factorial experiment is laid out across three adjacent blocks each including two replicates of eight nutrient treatments, which are: (1) unfertilized control, (2) inorganic fertilizer (NPK: 200 kg N, 32 kg P and 160 kg K ha−1 year−1 ), cattle slurry at three different rates (3) 50 m- 3 slurry ha−1 year−1 (equivalent to the application of 155 ± 15 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 29 ± 1 kg P ha−1 year−1 ; see also Table 1), (4) 100 m3 slurry ha−1 year−1 (equivalent to 316± 23 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 59 ± 2.3 kg P ha−1 year−1 , (5) 200 m3 slurry ha−1 year−1 (equivalent to 633 ± 45 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 117 ± 5.5 kg P ha−1 year−1 ), and pig slurry at three different rates (6) 50 m3 slurry ha−1 year−1 (equivalent to 136 ± 7.5 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 28 ± 1.5 kg P ha−1 year−1 ), (7) 100 m3 slurry ha−1 year−1 (equivalent to 262 ± 25.5 kg N ha−1- year−1 and 57 ± 2.7 kg P ha−1 year−1 ), and (8) 200 m3 slurry ha−1 - year−1 , which is equivalent to 530 ± 33.2 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 114.0 ± 4.6 kg P ha−1 year−1). Thus 8 treatments × 6 replicates give 48 experimental plots (each 29.75 m2 ). We refer to the three rates of slurry applications as Low (L), Medium (M) and High (H) resulting in Cattle (L), Cattle (M), Cattle (H) and Pig (L), Pig (M) and Pig (H). Inorganic N fertilizer is applied as urea, P as superphosphate and potassium as muriate of potash. Animal slurries are applied at three intervals during the year, usually mid-March, mid-May and mid-July. Every year since 1970 P content (%) of each slurry type has been measured as well as dry mass of liquid manure to calculate the amount of P added to soils (i.e. kg P ha−1)
Number of plots
48
Number of replicates
6
Number of harvests per year
3
Crops
CropYears grown
Rye grass (Lolium Perenne)
Creeping bent (Agrostis Stolonifera)
Yorkshire Fog (Holcus Lanatus)
Common Bent (Agrostis Tenuis)
Cocksfoot (Dactylis Glomerata)
Ribwort Plantain (Plantago Lanceolata)
White Clover (Trifolium Repens)
Common Chicory (Cichorium Intybus)
Others; Pink Clover, Chickweed, Dandelion, Bitter dock
Factor
Factor name
Factor levels
fertilizer exposure
Control; NPK (Inorganic) and Slurry (Organic) Fertilisers
control exposure  (0 Kg per hectare per year)
1970—
Chemical form: Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) (many different but similar salts) until 1974, Urea, Chemical formula; CO(NH2)2 + superphosphate and potash, 200 kg N, 32 kg P, 160 kg K
Unfertilised control treatment
NPK Inorganic fertilizer exposure  (200, 32, 160 (respectively) Kg (N, P, K respectively) per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per year
Application method: top dressing
Chemical form: Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) (many different but similar salts) until 1974 Urea, Chemical formula; CO(NH2)2 + superphosphate and potash, 200 kg N, 32 kg P, 160 kg K
Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) was used as a source of Inorganic Nitrogen until 1974 and thereafter replaced with urea, plus superphosphate and potash, 200 kg N, 32 kg P, 160 kg K (all Ha^-1 year^-1)
slurry  (50 Meters cubed per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Pig liquid manure
slurry  (100 Meters cubed per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Pig liquid manure
slurry  (200 Meters cubed per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Pig liquid manure
slurry  (50 Meters cubed per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Cattle liquid manure
slurry  (100 Meters cubed per hectare per year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Cattle liquid manure
slurry  (200 Meters Cubed per Hectare per Year)
1970—
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: 3 Intervals per Year
Application method: top dressing
Cattle liquid manure
Measurements
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
Soil Organic CarbonNot specifiedMg C per Hectare per Year
Soil bulk densityNot specifiedgrams per cubic centimetre

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