e-RA: the electronic Rothamsted Archive

Broadbalk open access data

Fisher 1921 Broadbalk wheat grain yields 1852-1918

Access and use conditions

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

You are free to re-use this data but YOU MUST CITE AS: Rothamsted Research (2018), Fisher 1921 Broadbalk wheat grain yields 1852-1918. Electronic Rothamsted Archive https://doi.org/10.23637/rbk1-data-fisher-1921-01

Download the Data

This dataset is presented as a downloadable Excel Spreadsheet:

Fisher 1921 Broadbalk grain yields 1852-1918.xlsx

and as comma-separated values (CSV):

Fisher 1921 Broadbalk grain yields 1852-1918.csv

Publication Date

Publication date V1. 2018/12/17
Last updated V1. 2018/12/17

Rothamsted relies on the integrity of users to ensure that Rothamsted Research receives suitable acknowledgment as being the originators of these data. This enables us to monitor the use of each dataset and to demonstrate their value. Please send us a link to any publication that uses this Rothamsted data.


This dataset consists of annual wheat yields from selected plots of the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment, 1852-1918, as used by R.A. Fisher in his 1921 paper 'Studies in crop variation'. It is the annual data used to derive the mean values published in Table 1 of this paper.


Data are presented as annual dressed wheat grain yields, in bushels/acre, from the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK. Data is given for 13 plots (2b, 3&4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 18), from 1852-1918 inclusive.

Key Reference

Fisher, R.A. (1921) "Studies in crop variation. 1. An examination of the yield of dressed grain from Broadbalk", Journal of Agricultural Science, 11: 107-135.

Provenance & Quality

Data from plots 2b, 3&4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 18 were transcribed from Fisher's original hand written datasheets. These are kept in the Rothamsted Research Library Archive. The original datasheets for plots 6-8 could not be found in the Archive, so the annual data have been re-constructed, based on yield data in the e-RA Database, dataset BKYIELD. See Supporting Information for more details of how this was done. Verification includes checking all data entry, checking that the mean values agree with Fisher's mean values in Table 1 of the 1921 paper and re-constructing known data from plots 5 and 11 to check which sub-plots were used by Fisher. There are some minor differences, see Supporting Information for more details. The raw data used to derive the yields for plots 6-8 is available, after registering, from the e-RA database. Please contact the e-RA Curators for an access password and further details.

Supporting Information

Notes describing the Fisher 1921 raw data.

Broadbalk plan 1852-1925 (pdf)

Yields in the original Fisher paper were expressed as bushels/acre. A bushel is a measure of volume, eight gallons or 36.369 litres. Grain yields in e-RA have since been converted to t/ha, using bushel weights, ie the weight of one bushel of wheat grain. Bushel weights were determined after harvest by weighing a bushel measure filled with grain. See Atkinson et al, 2008 for further details.


crop yield
Long-term experiments
statistical data
Broadbalk long-term experiment


Margaret Glendining


Rothamsted Research.

Further Information and contact details

For information: Rothamsted Research statement on R A Fisher, June 2020

For further information about the Broadbalk experiment, how the plots have been managed and other data available from e-RA, see Broadbalk.

Please contact the e-RA Curators for further information, and assistance with questions about the data or its interpretation:

e-RA Curators,
Department of Computational and Analytical Sciences (CAS)
Rothamsted Research
Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ

email: era@rothamsted.ac.uk


The Long-term Experiments and weather stations are supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust and BBSRC National Capability Funding (BBS/E/C/000J0300) recognising the national and international importance of the data.

RRes Logo - Back to RRes