Woburn Organic Manuring

  • Experiment Code: W/RN/12
  • Experiment Site: Woburn
  • Objectives: 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.
  • Date Start: 1964
  • Date End: Ongoing

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

Funding

Experimental 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.

Design

  • Period: 1964 - 1972
  • Number of Blocks: 4
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Replicates: 4
  • Number of Sub-plots: 4
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Grass Leys1966 - 1972
Grass Clover Leys1966 - 1972
Barley1966 -
Potatoes1967 -
Wheat1968 -
Sugarbeet1969 -
Beans1970 -
Rye1971 - 1972

Factors

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

Natural Fertilizer Exposure

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Peat 7.5 t/ha 1965 - 1972 annually in autumn sedge peat
Straw 7.5 t/ha 1965 - 1972 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 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

Application: Sub Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
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

Description

  • Each main plot was split into 8 sub-plots for testing eight rates of nitrogen.

Design

  • Period: 1973 - 1980
  • Number of Blocks: 4
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Replicates: 4
  • Number of Sub-plots: 4
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Potatoes
Winter Wheat
Sugarbeet
Barley

Crop Rotations

Rotation Crops
4 course rotation (1972 - 1980) Potatoes > Winter Wheat > Sugarbeet > Barley

Factors

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

Nitrogen Fertilizer Exposure

Application: Sub Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure -
N1 25; 40; 50 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 25 to cereals; 40 to sugar beet; 50 to potatoes
N2 50; 80; 100 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 50 to cereals; 80 to sugar beet; 100 to potatoes
N3 75; 120; 150 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 75 to cereals; 120 to sugar beet; 150 to potatoes
N4 100; 160; 200 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 100 to cereals; 160 to sugar beet; 200 to potatoes
N5 125; 200; 250 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 125 to cereals; 200 to sugar beet; 250 to potatoes
N6 150; 240; 300 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 150 to cereals; 240 to sugar beet; 300 to potatoes
N7 175; 280; 350 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 175 to cereals; 280 to sugar beet; 350 to potatoes

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.

Design

  • Period: 1981 - 1986
  • Number of Blocks: 4
  • Number of Blocks: 12
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Beans1981 - 1982
Grass Clover Leys1981 - 1986
Winter Wheat1982 - 1983
Sugarbeet1983 - 1984
Oats1984 - 1986
Rye1985 - 1986

Factors

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

Natural Fertilizer Exposure

Description: Applied to arable crops, cumulative to the same treatments in the preliminary period

Application: Whole Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
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

Description

  • From 1992 wheat was grown continuously, except for 1997 when rye was grown.

Design

  • Period: 1987 - 2002
  • Number of Blocks: 4
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Sub-plots: 4
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Wheat1987 - 2002
Oats1987 - 1987
Potatoes1988 - 1989
Beans1990 - 1991
Rye1997 - 1997

Factors

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

Natural Fertilizer Exposure

Application: Whole Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
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

Description: No N applied in 1992

Application: Sub Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
Control Exposure 1987 - 1994
N1 50; 70 kgN/ha 1987 - 1994 calcium ammonium nitrate 50 to cereals & beans; 70 to potatoes
N2 100; 140 kgN/ha 1987 - 1994 calcium ammonium nitrate 100 to cereals & beans; 140 to potatoes
N3 150; 210 kgN/ha 1987 - 1994 calcium ammonium nitrate 150 to cereals & beans; 210 to potatoes.
N4 200; 280 kgN/ha 1987 - 1994 calcium ammonium nitrate 200 to cereals & beans; 280 to potatoes
N5 250; 350 kgN/ha 1987 - 1994 calcium ammonium nitrate 250 to cereals & beans; 350 to potatoes

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...

Design

  • Period: 2003 - Now
  • Number of Blocks: 4
  • Number of Blocks: 32
  • Number of Sub-plots: 4
  • Number of Harvests per Year: 1

Crops

Crop Years Grown
Rye
Barley
Beans
Winter Wheat
Maize
Grass Clover Leys

Crop Rotations

Rotation Crops
arable rotation ( - ) Rye > Barley > Beans > Winter Wheat > Maize

Factors

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

Natural Fertilizer Exposure

Application: Whole Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
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

Application: Sub Plot

Levels
Level Name Amount Years Frequency Crop Method Chemical Form Notes
N0 -
N1 30; 35; 50 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 30 to rye; 35 to barley; 50 to maize and wheat
N2 60; 70; 100 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 60 to rye; 70 to barley; 100 to maize and wheat
N3 90; 105; 150 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 90 to rye; 105 to barley; 150 to maize and wheat
N4 120; 140; 200 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 120 to rye; 140 to barley; 200 to maize and wheat
N5 150; 175; 250 kgN/ha - calcium ammonium nitrate 150 to rye; 175 to barley; 250 to maize and wheat

Measurements

Variable Unit Collection
Frequency
Material Description Crop
Grain Yield Trait t/ha annual AllCrops

Site: Stackyard B - Woburn

  • Experiment Site: Woburn
  • Description: 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
  • Visit Permitted?: Yes
  • Visiting Arrangments: By arrangement.
  • Elevation: 100 Metres
  • Geolocation:    51.999805, -0.616036

Soil

  • Type: Arenosol
    Cambic and Luvic Arenosols, sandy to loam sand
There are currently no prepared datasets online for this experiment. However, there may still be data available but requiring curation. For more information please contact the e-RA curators.

Picture Gallery

Key References

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

2009

  • Johnston, A. E. , Poulton, P. R. and Coleman, K. (2009) "Soil organic matter: its importance in sustainable agriculture and carbon dioxide fluxes", Advances in Agronomy, 101, 1-57
    DOI: 10.1016/s0065-2113(08)00801-8

1974

  • Mattingly, G. E. G. , Chater, M. and Poulton, P. R. (1974) "The Woburn Organic Manuring Experiment. II. Soil analyses, 1964-72, with special reference to changes in carbon and nitrogen", Rothamsted Experimental Station Report for 1973 , Part 2
    Get from eRAdoc: ResReport1973p2-136-153
  • Mattingly, G. E. G. (1974) "The Woburn Organic Manuring Experiment. I. Design, crop yields and nutrient balance, 1964-72", Rothamsted Experimental Station Report for 1973, Part 2
    Get from eRAdoc: ResReport1973p2-100-135

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