Palace Leas Meadow Hay Plots

This experiment has been added by the GLTEN Curators using existing published sources.
Objective
The original objectives were to improve old grassland at low cost and without re-sowing.
Description
Palace Leas was probably last ploughed during the Napoleonic Wars ending in 1815. The aim was to improve old grassland at low cost and without re-sowing. This was to be achieved by the efficient use of combinations of liming materials, fertilisers and animal manures. Both the increased yield of hay and aftermath regrowth were primary targets, though the latter has received little quantitative assessment, but the botanical composition of the sward was also of interest to the originators. Allied to this was testing of the digestibility and feeding value of the hay. Subsequent research has ranged widely over the fauna, microbial population and soil properties. Changes to the soil organic matter content, form and distribution, as well as the effect of climate change (there is also a weather station at Cockle Park with a continuous record extending back into the 19th century) on hay yield, through to changes in objects buried in the soil on differently treated plots has also received detailed research. The last has been part of a range of assessment of diagenesis of archaeological material in different soil conditions; a use that the originators could never have envisaged. The plots are in continuous use for research and are available to researchers from outside The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development by arrangement.
Data Access Statement
Don't know
Data Access Notes
Dr Shiel also holds a considerable volume of unpublished data from the plots and the nearby agro-meteorological station (daily data from 1898 to present). This can be used on the same terms as the field data (see visiting arrangements below). Contact Dr Shiel directly.
Data license
Don't know
Data URL
www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/r.s.shiel/Palace_Leas
Data policy
Don't know
Organization
Dr R. S. Shiel, The School of Agriculture, Food & Rural Development, Newcastle University
experimental research station
People

Site: Palace Leas Meadow Hay Plots

Type
research station field
Location
Cockle Park Experimental Farm
United Kingdom
Geographic location
55.215119, -1.683595
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Visits permitted?
Yes
Visiting arrangements
The site, 18 miles North of Newcastle University, is available for use by everyone. If you wish to obtain material from the site or place instruments there then you should contact Dr Shiel directly. If publication of results can be undertaken jointly then no charge will be made for use of the site. However, all additional costs of technical or laboratory time and consumables will be by prior agreement. If there is to be no joint publication of results then a full commercial charge will be made for use of the site by any staff outside the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
History
The field at Palace Leas was described as old grassland in 1896 and had been previously manured more generously than many of the other fields on the farm due to its proximity to the farm buildings. The field was cultivated at one time, probably during the Napoleonic wars of 1795-1815 and the ridge and furrow cultivation strips can still be seen, in aerial photos, as the stripes running across the plots at an acute angle to the public road. The variation in vegetation within the plots is also clearly visible.
Management
Palace Leas is managed by Dr. Robert S Shiel and is maintained by staff resident at Cockle Park experimental farm.

Design period: Manure and Fertilizer Treatments (1896—)

Description
The treatments used were based on what was considered forward-thinking best practice in 1896 and represent a range of the materials and application rates in use at that time. Hence the nitrogen fertilisers are ammonium sulphate and sodium nitrate (Chile nitre). There has only been one change in the applied treatments. In 1976, it was considered that the phosphate-containing basic slag was becoming too variable so it was replaced by triple superphosphate supplying the same amount of phosphorus. The organic manure is straw-based farmyard manure from the cattle operation at Cockle Park. Its composition may have changed with changing animal diets over the century; the manured plots do not all receive manure annually; there is a sequence of annual, biennial and quadrennial application with various or no fertilisers used in the other years.
Design description
The field was laid out as a series of long parallelogram shaped plots parallel to the public road. The plots were subsequently shortened and other plots, below plot 14, were disestablished. 13 of the original plots remain and the treatments applied to these consist of 5 receiving farmyard manure, either with or without fertiliser, and 8 forming a 23 factorial of all combinations of plus/minus nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilisers. A 14th plot was established in 1976 with inputs of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium comparable with that of one of the plots treated with farmyard manure.
Number of plots
14
Crop
CropYears grown
Hay
Factors
Factor name
Factor levels
farmyard manure exposure
The organic manure is straw-based farmyard manure from the cattle operation at Cockle Park. Its composition may have changed with changing animal diets over the century; the manured plots do not all receive manure annually; there is a sequence of annual, biennial and quadrennial application with various or no fertilisers used in the other years.
farmyard manure annual  (20 t/ha)
Application frequency: annual
farmyard manure biennial  (20 t/ha)
Application frequency: every other year
farmyard manure quadrennial  (40 t/ha)
Application frequency: once every four years
nitrogen fertilizer exposure
The treatments used were based on what was considered forward-thinking best practice in 1896 and represent a range of the materials and application rates in use at that time. Hence the nitrogen fertilisers are ammonium sulphate and sodium nitrate (Chile nitre).
N17 annual  (17 kgN/ha)
Application frequency: every year
N17 biennial  (17 kgN/ha)
Application frequency: every other year
N17 quadrennial
Application frequency: 2nd, 3rd and 4th years
N35 annual  (35 kgN/ha)
Application frequency: every year
N100 annual  (100 kgN/ha)
Application frequency: every year
phosphate fertilizer exposure
There has only been one change in the applied treatments. In 1976, it was considered that the phosphate-containing basic slag was becoming too variable so it was replaced by triple superphosphate supplying the same amount of phosphorus.
P30 annual  (30 kgP/ha)
Application frequency: every year
P30 biennial  (30 kgP/ha)
Application frequency: every 2nd year
P30 quadrennial  (30 kgP/ha)
Application frequency: 2nd, 3rd and 4th years
P60 annual  (60 kgP/ha)
Application frequency: every year
P66 annual  (66 kgP/ha)
Application frequency: every year
potassium fertilizer exposure
K34 annual  (34 kgK/ha)
Application frequency: every year
K biennial  (34 kgK/ha)
Application frequency: every other year
K quadrennial  (34 kgK/ha)
Application frequency: 2nd, 3rd and 4th years
K67 annual  (67 kgK/ha)
Application frequency: every year
K100 annual  (100 kgK/ha)
Application frequency: every year
Factor combinations
Plot 1
FYM & low rates of NPK annually
farmyard manure exposure: farmyard manure annual
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N17 annual
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P30 annual
potassium fertilizer exposure: K34 annual
Plot 2
FYM only
Plot 3
Biennial application; FYM 1st year of cycle and N, P, K 2nd year of cycle
farmyard manure exposure: farmyard manure biennial
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N17 biennial
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P30 biennial
potassium fertilizer exposure: K34 annual
Plot 4
Biennial application; FYM 1st year (no NPK either year)
farmyard manure exposure: farmyard manure biennial
Plot 5
Quadrennial application; FYM 1st year then NPK in 2nd, 3rd and 4th years
farmyard manure exposure: farmyard manure quadrennial
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N17 quadrennial
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P30 quadrennial
potassium fertilizer exposure: K quadrennial
Plot 6
Control plot - no fertilizers applied
Plot 7
N only
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N35 annual
Plot 8
P only
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P60 annual
Plot 9
K only
potassium fertilizer exposure: K67 annual
Plot 10
N & P only
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N35 annual
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P60 annual
Plot 11
N & K only
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N35 annual
potassium fertilizer exposure: K67 annual
Plot 12
P & K only
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P60 annual
potassium fertilizer exposure: K67 annual
Plot 13
no FYM, mid rates of NPK annually
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N35 annual
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P60 annual
potassium fertilizer exposure: K67 annual
Plot 14
no FYM, high rates of NPK annually
nitrogen fertilizer exposure: N100 annual
phosphate fertilizer exposure: P66 annual
potassium fertilizer exposure: K100 annual
Measurements
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
yield componentsHaycwtAnnualThe grass is cut each year, usually at the end of June, and hay is made on the plots. Samples are taken for dry matter determination and the yield calculated; this is currently based on 4 samples per plot, each of 10 m2
Botanical compostionHayInfrequent annual analysesThere have been botanical analyses on 13 occasions spread unevenly over the life of the experiment.
Soil pHNot specifiedAs a result of the use of ammonium sulphate, the pH of several of the plots have decreased to low values, farmyard manure has tended to maintain pH, as did the basic slag applied until 1976.
Extractable soil cationsNot specifiedmg/ kg-1All of the nutrients vary strongly between plots and the extractable contents are closely related to the balance between long term application and offtake.
Soil organic matterNot specifiedmgC/cm-3There is a strong variation in the organic matter content and distribution between the plots that can be related to the effects of pH changes on the microbial activity and earthworm population.
Microbial floraNot specifiedVmaxThe different chemical and physical condition of the soil on different plots has led to substantial changes in the population and activity of micro-oragnisms that transform carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus compounds. These microbial changes have themselves led to differences in the soils' chemical properties and to the growth and chemical composition of the herbage on the plots.
FaunaNot specifiedThe major study that has been completed involves the population of enchytraeidae. There have also been studies of invertebrates, but these are not yet published.
Weather variablesNot specifiedThere is a full agro-meteorological station approximately 400 m from the plots and this has a daily data record from 1898 to the present.

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