Woburn Long-term Liming Experiment

  • Experiment Code: W/CS/10
  • Experiment Site: Woburn
  • Objectives: 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. Mg, Mn and S treatments were also applied.
  • 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). The experiment is now discontinued.
  • Date Start: 1962
  • Date End: 1996

Key Contacts

  • Margaret Glendining

  • Role: Data Manager
  • ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6466-4629
  • Organisation: Rothamsted Research
  • Address: West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom
  • Sarah Perryman

  • Role: Data Manager
  • Organisation: Rothamsted Research
  • Address: West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom
  • Andy Macdonald

  • Role: Principal Investigator
  • Organisation: Rothamsted Research
  • Address: West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom

Funding

Experimental Design

Description

  • Four lime treatments with and without P and K (4 x 2 x 2 factorial with two replicates, 32 plots) within randomised blocks and with plot sizes of 6 m x 18 m. The experiment was fallow in 1969, 1979 and 1980. In 1962 columns of 4 plots were split for uninoculated v inoculated seed. In 1964 plots receiving both P and K were subdivided for a comparison of method of application, broadcast versus drilled. In 1974-1978 a comparison of with and without Magnesium was applied to the 64 sub-plots.

Design

  • Period: 1962 - 1980
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Replicates: 2
  • Number of Sub-plots:
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Spring Beans
Spring Barley
Potatoes
Spring Oats
Spring Oilseed Rape
Fallow

Factors

Factors are the interventions or treatments which vary across the experiment.

Liming Exposure

Description: four rates of lime: control, low, medium and high. Applied in 1962/63 and again in 1978. Amounts given are the total amounts applied, see comments for splits.

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 t/ha 1962 - 1980
Lime Low 6 t/ha 1962 - 1980 twice ground chalk 5 t/ha in 1962, 1 t/ha in 1978
Lime Medium 14 t/ha 1962 - 1980 twice ground chalk 12 t/ha in 1962, 2 t/ha in 1978
Lime High 23 t/ha 1962 - 1980 twice ground chalk 19 t/ha in 1962, 4 t/ha in 1978

Phosphorus (p) Fertilizer Exposure

Description: Two P fertilizer treatments, nil and P.

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kgP/ha 1962 - 1980
Superphosphate P 27.5 kgP/ha 1962 - 1978 annually triple superphosphate 55 kgP/ha applied to potatoes and 0 applied in fallow years 1969, 1979, 1980

Potassium (k) Fertilizer Exposure

Description: Two treatments, nil and K

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kgK/ha 1962 - 1980
Potassium K 104 kgK/ha 1962 - 1978 annually muriate of potash In 1968 and 1974, 156 kgK applied to potatoes. Not applied to fallow years, 1969, 1979, 1980.

Magnesium Nutrient Exposure

Description: Two magnesium treatments applied to sub-plots 1974-1978, nil and Mg

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kgMg/ha 1974 - 1978
Magnesium 112 kgMg/ha 1974 - 1978 Annually in spring magnesium sulphate Not applied in 1975. Applied as Epsom salts 1974-1977 and as Kieserite in 1978.

Rhizobium Leguminosarum Exposure

Description: Spring beans seed inoculated with Rhizobium

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 1962 - 1962 spring beans
Inoculated 1962 - 1962 spring beans

Measurements

Variable Unit Collection
Frequency
Material Description Crop
Yield Components t/ha annually AllCrops Crop grain yields at 85% dry matter for cereals, 90% dry matter for oilseeds and fresh weight for potatoes. No straw data.
Soil pH every few years Soil pH 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 Phosphorous ppm every few years Soil Olsen P (plant-available P) in soil, ppm in soil.

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.

Design

  • Period: 1981 - 1995
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Replicates: 2
  • Number of Sub-plots:
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Spring Oats
Potatoes
Spring Barley
Winter Triticale
Spring Lupins
Linseed
Spring Beans
Winter Oilseed Rape
Winter Lupins
Winter Wheat
Fallow

Factors

Factors are the interventions or treatments which vary across the experiment.

Phosphate Fertilizer Exposure

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kgP/ha 1981 - 1996 P0
P1 kgP/ha 1981 - 1996 Superphosphate at 25, 25 & 50 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1982 & 1983 and 25 kgP/ha applied 1988
P2 kgP/ha 1981 - 1996 triple superphosphate Superphosphate at 25, 0 & 50 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1982 & 1983 and 25 kgP/ha applied 1988
P3 kgP/ha 1981 - 1996 triple superphosphate Superphosphate at 75, 25 & 100 kgP/ha applied in 1981, 1982 & 1983 and 75 kg/ha applied 1988

Liming Exposure

Description: Continuation of 4 treatments in Period 1 Further applications made after period 1. Applied in 1981, 1982 and 1986. Amounts given are the total amounts applied, see comments for splits.

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 t/ha 1981 - 1996
Lime Low 3 t/ha 1981 - 1996 3 times ground chalk Total application over the whole experiment = 9 t/ha. Total amount applied to plots previously receiving 6 t/ha chalk between 1962 and 1978. Chalk was applied at 2, 0 and 1 t/ha in 1981, 1982 and 1986 respectively.
Lime Medium 11.5 t/ha 1981 - 1996 3 times ground chalk Total application over the whole experiment = 24.5 t/ha. Total amount applied to plots previously receiving 14 t/ha chalk between 1962 and 1978. Chalk was applied at 5, 5 and 1.5 t/ha in 1981, 1982 and 1986 respectively.
Lime High 22.5 t/ha 1981 - 1996 3 times ground chalk Total application over the whole experiment = 52.5 t/ha. Total amount applied to plots previously receiving 23 t/ha chalk between 1962 and 1978. Chalk was applied at 10, 10 and 2.5 t/ha in 1981, 1982 and 1986 respectively.

Manganese Nutrient Exposure

Description: Manganese fertilizer applied to split plots 1987-1990 only

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kg/ha 1987 - 1990 Manganese applied to split plots
Manganese 0.3 kg/ha 1987 - 1990 annually manganese sprays Applied twice a year as foliar spray

Sulphur Fertilizer Exposure

Description: Sulphur applied to split plots

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 0 kg/ha 1991 - 1996
Sulphur 30 kg/ha 1991 - 1996 annually calcium sulfate

Measurements

Variable Unit Collection
Frequency
Material Description Crop
Yield Components t/ha annually AllCrops Crop grain yields at 85% dry matter for cereals, 90% dry matter for oilseeds and fresh weight for potatoes. No straw data.
Soil pH every few years Soil pH 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 Phosphorous ppm every few years Soil Olsen P (plant-available P) in soil, ppm in soil.

Site: Stackyard Field Section 3 - Woburn

  • Experiment Site: Woburn
  • Description: 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 5.6 and 6.3. The experiment was started in 1962 and cropped until 1996. In 1997 the experiment was discontinued.
  • Management: From 1962-1996 the site was managed according to conventional practices. In most years N fertilizer was applied to crops at a rate appropriate for the crop and site, and a range of conventional pesticides were used to control weeds, pests and diseases.
  • Visit Permitted?: No
  • Elevation: 89 Metres
  • Geolocation:    52.0003, -0.6149

Soil

  • Type: Arenosol
    Sandy loam, Cottenham series. Brown sand on Lower Greensand Brown sands (Soil Survey England & Wales) Udipsamments; Udalfs or Udults (Arenic) (US Soil Taxonomy) Cambic and Luvic Arenosols (FAO)

Soil Properties

Variable Value Reference Year Is Estimated Is Baseline
Coarse sand content (2-0.2mm) 50% (Percent) 1974 NO NO
Fine sand content (0.2-0.02mm) 27% (Percent) 1974 NO NO
Silt content (0.02-0.002mm) 7% (Percent) NO NO
Clay content 11% (Percent) 1974 NO NO
Soil total carbon 0.82% (Percent) NO NO
Total soil nitrogen 0.08% (Percent) 1974 NO NO
Soil weight 3400t/ha (tonnes per hectare) 1934 NO NO
Soil pH 6 (pH) 1962 NO YES

Datasets available

Woburn long-term liming experiment crop yields 1962-1996
Crop yield data The experiment tests the effects of different amounts of lime (and thus soil pH), P and K on the yields of a sequence of arable crops, on a sandy loam soil at Woburn Experimental Farm, from 1962-1996.
WLTLYIELDS
Woburn long-term liming experiment grain mineral composition
Crop nutrient data The experiment tests the effects of four different amounts of lime (creating a soil pH range for approximately 4. 5 to 7. 5) with and without fertilizer P, on the grain mineral compostion of three arable crops.
WLTLGRAIN
Additional data is available through e-RAdata. Please register for access.

Picture Gallery

More about the Woburn long-term liming experiment

Plans and treatments:
Experimental plans, lime and fertilizer treatments details 1962-1996

Key References

2021

  • Jordan-Meille, L. , Holland, J. E. , Mcgrath, S. P. , Glendining, M. J. , Thomas, C. L. and Haefele, S. M. (2021) "Woburn long-term liming experiment grain mineral composition data", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
    DOI: 10.23637/wcs10-wltlgrain-01
  • Jordan-Meille, L. , Holland, J. E. , Mcgrath, S. P. , Glendining, M. J. , Thomas, C. L. and Haefele, S. M. (2021) "Rothamsted long-term liming experiment grain mineral composition data. ", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
    DOI: 10.23637/rcs10-rltlgrain-01
  • Jordan-Meille, L. , Holland, J. E. , Mcgrath, S. P. , Glendining, M. J. , Thomas, C. L. and Haefele, S. M. (2021) "The grain mineral composition of barley, oat and wheat on soils with pH and soil phosphorus gradients", European Journal of Agronomy, 126, 126281
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eja.2021.126281
  • Clarke, A. (2021) "Why regular liming can raise profits by up to 436/ha/yr", 05 February 2021
    .https://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/land-preparation/soils/why-regular-liming-can-raise-profits-by-up-to-436-ha-year.

2020

  • Holland, J. E. and Behrendt, K. (2020) "The economics of liming in arable crop rotations: analysis of the 35-year Rothamsted and Woburn liming experiments", Soil Use and Management, 1-11
    DOI: 10.1111/sum.12682
  • Glendining, M. J. , Mcgrath, S. P. , Goulding, K. W. T. and Holland, J. E. (2020) "Woburn long-term liming experiment crop yields 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
    DOI: 10.23637/wcs10-wltlyields-01
  • Glendining, M. J. , Mcgrath, S. P. , Goulding, K. W. T. and Holland, J. E. (2020) "Rothamsted long-term liming experiment crop yields 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
    DOI: 10.23637/rcs10-rltlyields-01
  • Glendining, M. J. (2020) "Woburn long-term liming experiment lime and fertilizer treatments 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research
    DOI: 10.23637/wcs10-Treatments-01
  • Glendining, M. J. (2020) "Rothamsted long-term liming experiment lime and fertilizer treatments 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research
    DOI: 10.23637/rcs10-Treatments-01
  • Glendining, M. J. (2020) "Rothamsted long-term liming experiment plans 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research
    DOI: 10.23637/rcs10-Plans
  • Glendining, M. J. (2020) "Woburn long-term liming experiment plans 1962-1996", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research
    DOI: 10.23637/wcs10-Plans

2019

  • Holland, J. E. , White, P. J. , Glendining, M. J. , Goulding, K. W. T. and Mcgrath, S. P. (2019) "Yield responses of arable crops to liming - An evaluation of relationships between yields and soil pH from a long-term liming experiment", European Journal of Agronomy, 105, 176-188
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eja.2019.02.016

2017

  • Watts, C. W. , Glendining, M. J. and Castells-Brooke, N. I. D. (2017) "Woburn Experimental Farm Soil and Field Maps", Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research
    DOI: 10.23637/ws-soil-maps-01

2016

  • Goulding, K. W. T. (2016) "Soil acidification and the importance of liming agricultural soils with particular reference to the United Kingdom", Soil Use and Management, 32, 390-399
    DOI: 10.1111/sum.12270

2006

  • Kemmitt, S. J. , Wright, D. , Goulding, K. W. T. and Jones, D. L. (2006) "pH regulation of carbon and nitrogen dynamics in two agricultural soils", Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 38, 898-911
    DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2005.08.006

1993

  • Wang, G. M. , Stribley, D. P. , Tinker, P. B. and Walker, C. (1993) "EFFECTS OF PH ON ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZA .1. FIELD OBSERVATIONS ON THE LONG-TERM LIMING EXPERIMENTS AT ROTHAMSTED AND WOBURN", New Phytologist, 124, 465-472
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1993.tb03837.x

1990

  • Mcewen, J. , Yeoman, D. P. and Mcgrath, S. P. (1990) "effects of pH, phosphate and manganese on spring-sown Vicia faba L.", FABIS Newsletter

1989

  • Goulding, K. W. T. , Mcgrath, S. P. and Johnston, A. E. (1989) "Predicting the lime requirement of soils under permanent grassland and arable crops", Soil Use & Management, 5, 54-58
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-2743.1989.tb00760.x

1986

  • Sanders, J. R. , Mcgrath, S. P. and Adams, T. M. (1986) "ZINC, COPPER AND NICKEL CONCENTRATIONS IN RYEGRASS GROWN ON SEWAGE SLUDGE-CONTAMINATED SOILS OF DIFFERENT PH", Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 37, 961-968
    DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2740371003

1977

  • Bolton, J. (1977) "Liming effects on response of potatoes and oats to phosphorus, potassium and magnesium fertilizers", Journal of Agricultural Science, 89, 87-93
    DOI: 10.1017/S0021859600027222
  • Bolton, J. (1977) "Changes in soil pH and exchangeable calcium in 2 liming experiments on contrasting soils over 12 years", Journal of Agricultural Science, 89, 81-86
    DOI: 10.1017/S0021859600027210

1976

  • Bolton, J. (1976) "Liming and interaction of soil pH with responses to P, K and Mg fertilizers", Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 27, 593-593

1971

For further information and assistance, please contact the e-RA curators, Sarah Perryman and Margaret Glendining using the e-RA email address: era@rothamsted.ac.uk