Rothamsted Long-term Liming Experiment

Local identifier
R/CS/10
Years operational
1962—1996
Objective
To study the effects of different amounts of lime (and thus soil pH), P and K on the yields of a sequence of arable crops.
Description
Yields of various crops were recorded from 1962-1996 and papers published (Bolton, 1971, 1977 a,b; McEwen et al, 1990; Holland et al, 2019). Soil samples have been used for experiments determining the effects of pH on the bioavailability of heavy metals (Sanders et al, 1986). Lime was applied in one year (1962) and then in small doses between 1982-1987. The plots were also used as part of a dataset to produce the Rothamsted Lime Model (RothLime; Goulding et al, 1989) which was used from 1982 onwards to apply small amounts of lime to keep the plots at the target pHs (1:2.5 soil:water) of 4.5, 5.5, 6.5 and 7.5. Since 1997 the plots have been in grass and no further treatments have been applied.
Data Access Statement
Available to any researcher on request
Data license
CC BY
Data URL
http://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/Other/liming
Data policy
Yes (not online)
Organization
Rothamsted Research
research organisation
People
Dr Sarah Perryman
data manager
Rothamsted Research
Computational and Analytical Sciences
Dr Margaret Glendining
data manager
Rothamsted Research
Computational and Analytical Sciences
Dr Andy Macdonald
principal investigator
Rothamsted Research
Sustainable Agricultural Systems
 

Site: Sawyers Field I

Type
research station field
Local code
R/CS/10
Location
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
United Kingdom
Geographic location
51.8157, -0.3752
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Elevation
130 Metres
Visits permitted?
No
History
The site is an old arable site, which had not grown beans for many years. The soil was acidic and deficient in P and K. The intial pH ranged between 4.8 and 5.6. The experiment was started in 1962.
Management
From 1962-1996 the site was managed according to conventional practices. In most years N fertilizer was applied at a rate appropriate for the crop and site, and a range of conventional pesticides were used to control weeds, pests and diseases. Since 1997 the plots have been in grass and no treatments are applied.
Soil type
luvisol
Soil description
Chromic Luvisols and Orthic Acrisols Podzoluvisols (FAO). Paleo-argillic brown earth (Soil Survey England & Wales) Paleudalfs, Hapludalfs (Fragiudalfs) (US Soil Taxonomy). Derived from drift and loess over clay-with-flints. Batcombe series, Flinty silty clay loam (Bolton 1977).
Soil properties
VariableDepthValue (range)UnitsRef yearEstimated?Baseline?
Coarse sand content (2-0.2 mm)0 – 23 Centimetres14 Percent1974
Fine sand content (0.2- 0.02 mm)0 – 23 Centimetres40 Percent1974
Silt content (0.02-0.002 mm)0 – 23 Centimetres23 Percent1974
clay content < 2 µm0 – 23 Centimetres21 Percent1974
soil total carbon0 – 23 Centimetres1.4 Percent1974
total soil nitrogen0 – 23 Centimetres0.15 Percent1974
soil density0 – 23 Centimetres2800 tonnes per hectare1905
soil pH0 – 23 Centimetres5.1 (4.8 – 5.6) pH1962
Climatic type
temperate oceanic climate
Climate properties
VariableTime periodValue (range)Units
annual total precipitation 1981 – 2010 737 (515 – 973) mm
annual mean air temperature 1981 – 2010 9.8 (8.51 – 10.89) degree Celsius

Design period: Period 1 (1962—1980)

Design Type
Randomised block
Description
Four lime levels with and without fertilizer P and K. Magnesium was tested on split plots 1974-1978.
Design description
The original design was four lime treatments with and without P and K (4 x 2 x 2 factorial with two replicates) within randomised blocks and with plot sizes of 6 m x 18 m. Until 1978 test P and K were both applied cumulatively. In 1962 columns of 4 plots were split for uninoculated v inoculated seed. 1969, 1979 and 1980 were fallow years. In 1974 plots were subdivided for a comparison of with and without Magnesium, applied at 112 kgMg/ha/yr in 1974, 1976-1978.
Number of blocks
2
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
64
Number of replicates
2
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
spring beans 1962—1964
spring barley 1965—1967
potatoes 1968—
fallow 1969—
spring oats 1975—
spring oilseed rape 1976—
Factors
Factor name
Factor levels
liming exposure
Four rates of lime: control, low, medium and high. Applied in 1962, 1963 and 1978. Amounts given are the total amounts applied, see comments for splits.
Plot application: Whole plot
control exposure  (0 t/ha)
1962—1980
lime low  (7 t/ha)
1962—1980
Application frequency: twice
5 t/ha in 1962, 2 t/ha in 1978
lime medium  (15 t/ha)
1962—1980
Application frequency: twice
10 t/ha in 1962, 5 t/ha in 1978
lime high  (30 t/ha)
1962—1980
Application frequency: twice
15 t/ha in 1962, 5 t/ha in 1963, 10 t/ha in 1978
Phosphorus (P) fertilizer exposure
P either applied or not applied to plots. Treatments not applied in fallow years.
Plot application: Whole plot
Effect: Cumulative
control exposure  (0 kgP/ha)
1962—1980
P fertilizer exposure  (27.5 kgP/ha)
1962—1980
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: annually in spring
Chemical form: triple superphosphate
55 kgP/ha applied to potatoes. Not applied in fallow years 1969, 1979, 1980.
Potassium (K) fertilizer exposure
K either applied or not applied to plots. Treatments not applied in fallow years.
Plot application: Whole plot
control exposure  (104 kgK/ha)
1962—1980
Application frequency: annually in spring
Chemical form: muriate of potash
In 1968 and 1974, 156 kgK/ha was applied to potatoes. Not applied in fallow years 1969, 1979 or 1980.
potassium K  (104 kgK/ha)
1962—1980
Application frequency: annually in spring
Chemical form: muriate of potash
In 1968 and 1974, 156 kgK/ha was applied to potatoes. Not applied in fallow years 1969, 1979 or 1980.
Rhizobium leguminosarum exposure
Spring beans seed inoculated with Rhizobium
Plot application: Sub plot
control exposure  (0 )
1962—1962
Applied to crop: spring beans
Inoculated
1962—1962
Applied to crop: spring beans
Application method: seed dressing
Magnesium (Mg) fertilizer exposure
Magnesium either applied or not applied to sub-plots
Plot application: Sub plot
control exposure  (0 kgMg/ha)
1974—1978
magnesium Mg  (112 kgMg/ha)
1974—1978
Application frequency: annually in spring
Chemical form: magnesium sulphate
Not applied in 1975. Applied as Epsom salts 1974-1977 and as Kieserite in 1978.
Measurements
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
yield componentsAll cropst/haannuallyCrop grain yields at 85% dry matter for cereals, 90% dry matter for oilseeds and fresh weight for potatoes. No straw data.
soil pHNot specifiedevery few yearspH in water 1:2.5 soil: water suspension from topsoil (0-23cm). Sampled in autumn/winter after harvest and before sowing the next crop.
plant available phosphorousSoilppmEvery few yearsOlsen P (plant-available P) in soil, ppm in soil.

Design period: Period 2 (1981—1996)

Design Type
Randomized block design
Description
Since 1981 the effects of four rates of P and four rates of lime, with effects of K residues. Manganese was tested on spit plots, 1987-1990; sulphur was tested on spilt plots, 1991-1996. Lime was applied to achieve soil pH of approximately 4.5, 5.5, 6.5 and 7.5.
Design description
The experiment was modified in 1981. The 4 lime treatments continued, the PK treatments were replaced with 4 P levels with two replicates (4 x 4 x 2). The main plots were split into sub-plots 1987-1990 to test foliar Manganese, and in 1991-1996 to test Sulphur
Number of plots
32
Number of subplots
2
Number of replicates
2
Number of harvests per year
1
Crops
CropYears grown
oats 1981—1982
potatoes 1983—
fallow 1984—
barley 1985—
triticales 1986—
lupins 1987—
beans 1989—1990
rapeseed 1991—1992
lupins 1993—1994
wheat 1995—1996
Factors
Factor name
Factor levels
Phosphorus (P) fertilizer exposure
Plot application: Whole plot
control exposure  (0 kgP/ha)
1981—1996
Control treatment 1962-1980, no fertilizer P applied.
P1  (?? kgP/ha)
1981—1996
Chemical form: triple superphosphate
25 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1982 and 1988. Received K treatment 1962-1980, no fertilizer P applied.
P2  (?? kgP/ha)
1981—1996
Chemical form: triple superphosphate
25, 50 & 25 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1983 and 1988 respectively. Received P treatment 1962-1980, a total of 495kgP/ha.
P3  (?? kgP/ha)
1981—1996
Chemical form: triple superphosphate
75, 25, 50 & 75 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1988 respectively. Received PK treatment 1962-1980, a total of 495kgP/ha.
liming exposure
Continuation of 4 treatments in Period 1. Further applications in 1981, 1982 and 1986. Amounts given are the total amounts applied, see comments for splits.
Plot application: Whole plot
Effect: Residual
control exposure  (0 t/ha)
1980—1996
lime low  (8.0 t/ha)
1982—1987
Application frequency: 3 times
Chemical form: ground chalk
2, 5 and 1 t/ha chalk applied 1982, 1983 and 1987 respectively. Total application 1962-1987 = 15 t/ha.
lime medium  (9.5 t/ha)
1982—1987
Application frequency: 3 times
Chemical form: ground chalk
5, 3 and 1.5 t/ha chalk applied 1982, 1983 and 1987 respectively. Total application 1962-1987 = 24.5 t/ha.
lime high  (22.5 t/ha)
1982—1987
Application frequency: 3 times
Chemical form: ground chalk
10, 10 and 2.5 t/ha chalk applied 1982, 1983 and 1987 respectively. Total application 1962-1987 = 52.5 t/ha.
Manganese exposure
Manganese fertilizer applied to split plots
control exposure  (0 kg/ha)
1987—1990
manganese  (0.3 kg/ha)
1987—1990
Application frequency: annually
Application method: manganese sprays
Foliar spray applied twice a year
Sulphur fertilizer exposure
Sulphur fertilizer applied to split plots
control exposure  (0 kg/ha)
1991—1996
sulphur  (30 kg sulphur per hectare)
1991—1996
Applied to crop: All crops
Application frequency: Annual
Chemical form: calcium sulfate
Measurements
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
yield componentsAll cropst/haannuallyCrop grain yields at 85% dry matter for cereals, 90% dry matter for oilseeds and fresh weight for potatoes. No straw data.
soil pHSoilevery few yearspH in water 1:2.5 soil: water suspension from topsoil (0-23cm). Sampled in autumn/winter after harvest and before sowing the next crop.
plant available phosphorousSoilppmEvery few yearsOlsen P (plant-available P) in soil, ppm in soil.

Related publications