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Hoosfield open access data

Hoosfield mean long-term spring barley yields

Last updated 21/07/2017

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

YOU MUST CITE AS: Rothamsted Research (2017). Hoosfield spring barley mean long-term yields. Electronic Rothamsted Archive https://doi.org/10.23637/KeyRefOAHByields.

Click to download chart Hoosfield Yields

Click the chart above for a PDF version. Summary data used for this chart and information on treatments, are available to download as an Excel Spreadsheet: Yield data and treatments.

This summary data is derived from annual plot data for the relevant selected plots and treatments. The original raw data is available, after registering, from the e-RA database. Contact the e-RA curators to arrange a password.


The figure shows the mean long-term spring barley yields from selected treatments on the Hoosfield experiment. Spring barley has been grown continuously since 1852. The changes in yield reflect the improved varieties, cultivations and control of weeds and diseases that have been introduced, especially since the late 1960s.

To control weeds, the whole experiment was bare fallowed four times, in 1912, 1933, 1943 and 1967. Herbicides were introduced in 1945 and regular liming began in 1955. From 1852-1966 the Unfertilized and FYM plots did not receive any fertilizer N, whereas N1PKMg received 48 kg N ha-1. In 1968, the main plots were divided to test four rates of N (0, 48, 96 and 144 kg N ha-1); these have rotated each year since 1974. In 1970 modern short-strawed varieties with greater yield potential were introduced, and, since 1978, summer fungicides have been used, which has allowed us to exploit that potential.

Yields of spring barley given no fertilizer or manure have remained at around 1 t ha-1 throughout the experiment. Between 1852 and 1970, the highest yields were from the plot given 35 t ha-1 of FYM each year. The highest yields are now from the plot given FYM with fertilizer N (a maximum of 144 kg N ha-1), exceeding those given just inorganic fertilizers. This shows the importance of soil organic matter and good soil structure for spring-sown crops, which facilitates rooting and access to water and nutrients. The comparable Broadbalk Yields graph suggests that this is not necessarily true for winter-sown crops. There is no longer a yield benefit to the spring barley on the plot given FYM for just 20 years, 1852-71.

The greatest yields were not always achieved with the highest N rate. The figure shows the greatest yields achieved each year for the NPKMg and FYM+N treatments. These are the means of the highest yields achieved each year with fertilizer N, up to a maximum of 144 kg N ha-1.

From 1968 to 1978 three course rotations of potatoes, beans and barley were introduced on parts of the experiment, to compare the yields of spring barley grown continuously and after a two year break. The best yields in rotation were only 0.3 t ha-1 more than for continuous barley, and the rotations were discontinued in 1979 (data not shown). This is in contrast to the Broadbalk Experiment, where winter wheat yields after a two-year break can be more than 2 t ha-1 larger than yields of continuous wheat. Part of the reason may be that spring cropping allows more effective weed control than winter cropping, especially when herbicides are used.


Unfertilized: No fertilizer or organic manure since 1852
PKMg+48kgN: PKMg +48kgN ha-1 applied each year since 1852
FYM: 35 t ha-1 FYM each year since 1852
FYM 1852-1871: 35 t ha-1 FYM each year since 1852
Greatest yield from NPKMg plots (max 144kgN): 35 t ha-1 FYM each year since 1852
Greatest yield from FYM+N plots (max 144kgN): 35 t ha-1 FYM each year since 1852


Better weed control: Fallowing and cultivation of the whole experiment was used to control weeds. The experiment was bare fallowed in 1912, 1933, 1943 and 1967. Herbicides were introduced in 1945; previously weeds were controlled by hand hoeing.
Liming: Lime (calcium carbonate, often referred to as chalk) has been applied since 1955 to maintain soil pH at a level which does not limit yield.
Modern cultivars: Modern short-strawed, high-yielding cultivars have been grown since 1970.
Fungicides: Spring and summer fungicides applied as necessary since 1978.

Note: Fallows are excluded from the means


Hoosfield spring barley long-term experiment
Long-term experiments
Crop yield
Farmyard manure

Further Information

For further information about the experiment, including details of the different varieties grown, see Hoosfield Spring Barley Experiment and the key references below. See Johnston et al., 2009, Figure 10, for more details of the difference in yield between the FYM- and fertilizer-treated soils with modern high-yielding cultivars.

Further details can be obtained from the e-RA curators and the Rothamsted Guide to the Classical Experiments (2006), pp 31-34.

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