Woburn Organic Manuring

Local identifier
W/RN/12
Years operational
1964—
Objective
To test the effects of different types of organic matter inputs on crop yields and soil organic matter on a light and poorly structured soil.
Description
Started in 1964 on the sandy loam soil at Woburn to test the effects of different types of organic matter inputs on soil organic matter (SOM) and crop yields. Initially six organic treatments (FYM, peat, straw, green manures and two grass leys) were compared with two fertilizer-only treatments. Arable crops were grown in rotation with an eight-level N test 1973-1980 to assess the effects of the increased levels of SOM achieved by the organic amendments. During this period, no organic manures were applied. There was another treatment phase from 1981-1986, when further organic manures were applied. Again, SOM increased with the organic treatments and the grass leys but continued to decline slowly where only fertilizers were applied. This treatment phase was followed by another test phase, 1987-1994, when six rates of N were tested on arable crops, and no further organic manures were applied. From 1995-2002 arable test cropping continued but only two rates of N were tested. In 2003 another treatment phase started. All plots, except for the permanent grass-clover leys (and beans when grown) were split to test six rates of N on arable crops grown in rotation.
Farm operation data?
Sample archive?
Samples available?
 
Data Access Statement
Available to any researcher on request
Data license
CC BY
Data policy
Yes (not online)
Organizations
Rothamsted Research
research organisation
Woburn Experimental Farm
experimental research station
Person
Dr Margaret Glendining
data manager
Rothamsted Research
Computational and Analytical Sciences

Site: Stackyard B

Type
research station field
Location
Husborne Crawley
Bedfordshire
United Kingdom
Geographic location
51.999805, -0.616036
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Elevation
100 Metres
Visits permitted?
Yes
Visiting arrangements
By arrangement.
History
From 1930 to 1960 the field was cropped in a six-course rotation of sugar beet, barley, clover, wheat potatoes and rye. Winter wheat was grown on all plots in 1962 and spring wheat in 1963
Soil type
arenosol
Soil description
Cambic and Luvic Arenosols, sandy to loam sand
Climatic type
temperate oceanic climate

Design period: Preliminary period organic manuring (1964—1972)

Design Type
Randomized complete block design
Description
Main plots in the arable rotation measured 8.55 x 30.6m and were each split into 4 sub-plots measuring 15.3 x 4.28m.
Design description
4 randomised blocks of 8 plots. 6 plots were in an arable rotation and 2 sown to grass leys. Plots in the arable rotation were split into 4 for nitrogen treatments for the first 4 years.
Number of blocks
4
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
96
Number of replicates
4
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
grass leys 1966—1972
grass clover leys 1966—1972
barley 1966—
potatoes 1967—
wheat 1968—
sugarbeet 1969—
beans 1970—
rye 1971—1972
Factors
natural fertilizer exposure
peat  (7.5 t/ha)
1965—1972
Application frequency: annually in autumn
sedge peat
straw  (7.5 t/ha)
1965—1972
Application frequency: annually in autumn
barley straw
green manure
Green manure crops used were Italian Ryegrass, Trefoil and red clover
inorganic fertiliser
farmyard manure  (50 t/ha)
1965—1972
Application frequency: annually in autumn
inorganic fertiliser
To provide equivalent PKMg as Farmyard Manure
grass clover ley
sown April 1965, ploughed either October 1971 or November 1972
grass ley plus nitrogen
sown April 1965, ploughed either October 1971 or November 1972
nitrogen fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Sub plot
nitrogen  (25 kgN/ha)
1967—1969
None applied to barley in 1966
nitrogen  (75 kgN/ha)
1966—1969
25 kgN/ha to Barley in 1966
nitrogen  (125 kgN/ha)
1966—1969
50 kgN/ha to Barley in 1966
nitrogen  (175 kgN/ha)
1966—1969
75 kgN/ha to Barley in 1966

Design period: First test phase (1973—1980)

Description
Four test crops were grown in rotation with an eight-level N test to evaluate residues from all organic amendments and leys. Arable crops were grown in rotation. During this period, no organic manures were applied.
Design description
Each main plot was split into 8 sub-plots for testing eight rates of nitrogen.
Number of blocks
4
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
256
Number of replicates
4
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
potatoes
winter wheat
sugarbeet
barley
Crop Rotation
4 course rotation  1972—1980
  • 1
    potatoes
  • 2
    winter wheat
  • 3
    sugarbeet
  • 4
    barley
Factor
nitrogen fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Sub plot
control exposure
Applied to crop: All crops
N1  (25; 40; 50 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
25 to cereals; 40 to sugar beet; 50 to potatoes
N2  (50; 80; 100 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
50 to cereals; 80 to sugar beet; 100 to potatoes
N3  (75; 120; 150 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
75 to cereals; 120 to sugar beet; 150 to potatoes
N4  (100; 160; 200 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
100 to cereals; 160 to sugar beet; 200 to potatoes
N5  (125; 200; 250 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
125 to cereals; 200 to sugar beet; 250 to potatoes
N6  (150; 240; 300 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
150 to cereals; 240 to sugar beet; 300 to potatoes
N7  (175; 280; 350 kgN/ha)
Applied to crop: All crops
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
175 to cereals; 280 to sugar beet; 350 to potatoes

Design period: Second organic manuring (1981—1986)

Design description
The preliminary period plots with treatments grass ley with nitrogen, grass clover ley, peat, and green manure were all sown to grass clover leys. The farmyard manure, straw and inorganic plots resumed their preliminary period treatments.
Number of blocks
4
Number of plots
12
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
beans 1981—1982
grass clover leys 1981—1986
winter wheat 1982—1983
sugarbeet 1983—1984
oats 1984—1986
rye 1985—1986
Factor
natural fertilizer exposure
Applied to arable crops, cumulative to the same treatments in the preliminary period
Plot application: Whole plot
farmyard manure  (50 t/ha)
straw  (7.5 t/ha)
Plus 140 kgP/ha; 280 kgK/ha; 50 kgMg/ha
inorganic fertiliser FYM rate
To provide equivalent PKMg as Farmyard Manure (280 kgP/ha; 560 kgK/ha; 100 kgMg/ha)
inorganic fertiliser half FYM rate
140 kgP/ha; 280 kgK/ha; 50 kgMg/ha

Design period: Second test phase (1987—2002)

Description
From 1992 wheat was grown continuously, except for 1997 when rye was grown.
Number of blocks
4
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
192
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
wheat 1987—2002
oats 1987—1987
potatoes 1988—1989
beans 1990—1991
rye 1997—1997
Factors
natural fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Whole plot
Effect: Residual
8 year clover grass ley until 1986, green manure in preliminary period
8 year clover grass ley until 1986, peat in preliminary period
6 year clover grass ley until 1986, clover grass ley in preliminary period
6 year clover grass ley until 1986, grass ley with nitrogen in preliminary period
Farmyard manure in preliminary and second organic manuring period
Straw in preliminary and second organic manuring period
PKMg fertilizer equivalent to FYM in preliminary and second organic manuring period
PKMg fertiliser equivalent to straw in preliminary and second organic manuring period
nitrogen fertilizer exposure
No N applied in 1992
Plot application: Sub plot
Effect: Direct
control exposure
1987—1994
N1  (50; 70 kgN/ha)
1987—1994
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
50 to cereals & beans; 70 to potatoes
N2  (100; 140 kgN/ha)
1987—1994
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
100 to cereals & beans; 140 to potatoes
N3  (150; 210 kgN/ha)
1987—1994
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
150 to cereals & beans; 210 to potatoes.
N4  (200; 280 kgN/ha)
1987—1994
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
200 to cereals & beans; 280 to potatoes
N5  (250; 350 kgN/ha)
1987—1994
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
250 to cereals & beans; 350 to potatoes

Design period: Third organic manuring (2003—)

Description
Soils are sampled every 5 years
Design description
The experiment was modified to test further inputs of organic matter. An arable rotation was started on 7 of the 8 plots and the eighth was sown to a grass clover ley. The rotation plots were split into 6 subplots and tested a nitrogen sequence in the order N0>N1>N2>N3>N4>N5>N0...
Number of blocks
4
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
176
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
rye
barley
beans
winter wheat
maize
grass clover leys
Crop Rotation
arable rotation
  • 1
    rye
  • 2
    barley
  • 3
    beans
  • 4
    winter wheat
  • 5
    maize
Factors
natural fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Whole plot
no organic amendment
Previous fertilisers equivalent to farmyard manure and grass with nitrogen plots
straw  (7.5 t/ha)
Previous straw plot
green manure
Cover crop prior to spring sown crops. Previous green manure then grass clover ley plot
compost  (40 t/ha)
Previous peat then grass clover ley plot
farmyard manure  (10 t/ha)
Previous fertilisers equivalent to straw plot
farmyard manure  (25 t/ha)
Previous farmyard manure at 50 t/ha
grass clover ley
Previous grass clover ley
nitrogen fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Sub plot
N0
N1  (30; 35; 50 kgN/ha)
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
30 to rye; 35 to barley; 50 to maize and wheat
N2  (60; 70; 100 kgN/ha)
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
60 to rye; 70 to barley; 100 to maize and wheat
N3  (90; 105; 150 kgN/ha)
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
90 to rye; 105 to barley; 150 to maize and wheat
N4  (120; 140; 200 kgN/ha)
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
120 to rye; 140 to barley; 200 to maize and wheat
N5  (150; 175; 250 kgN/ha)
Chemical form: calcium ammonium nitrate
150 to rye; 175 to barley; 250 to maize and wheat
Measurement
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
grain yield traitAll cropst/haannualsub plot