e-RA: the electronic Rothamsted Archive
Festival of Ideas - 23-24 June 2018

Open Access Data

Open Access Data

Prepared summaries of commonly requested data from the long term experiments at Rothamsted Research are being made openly accessible to the scientific community. We hope greater use of the data by the global research community will lead to further understanding and wider benefits. We welcome any feedback on this. Please contact the e-RA curators for further information.

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

Open Access Data are available from the following Long-Term experiments and datasets:

Please click on the links to find out more and download the data.

Broadbalk Wheat:

Broadbalk Yields

Mean long-term winter wheat yields from selected treatments on Broadbalk are shown. The changes reflect the improved cultivars, cultivations and control of pests, diseases and weeds that have been introduced on Broadbalk, especially since the 1960s. Yields of continuous wheat given no fertilizer or manure have remained at around 1 t ha -1. Since 1979 summer fungicides have been used, which has allowed us to exploit the greater grain yield potential of modern cultivars. In 1968 a rotation was introduced on part of the experiment, so that it is now possible to compare the yields of wheat grown continuously and as the first wheat after a two year break. The highest yields are now from the first wheat crop in rotation, with the best yields from fertilizer alone exceeding those from FYM alone, and the combination of FYM + 96 kgN ha-1 (144 kgN ha-1 since 2005) often exceeding both.


Broadbalk Soil Carbon

Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) content in selected treatments of the Broadbalk experiment, where winter wheat has been grown each year since autumn 1843. SOC (0-23cm) has remained almost constant in the unfertilized plot, at the equilibrium level for this farming system on this soil type. Inorganic fertilizer (NPK) has enhanced SOC a little, probably due to increased returns of organic matter in crop roots and residues. The treatment given 35 t ha-1 FYM now contains almost three times as much SOC as the unfertilized plot. Increases were greatest in the initial years of the experiment.

Broadbalk Soil Olsen P (plant-available P)

Changes in plant-available P (Olsen P) in the topsoil (0-23cm) of selected plots of the Broadbalk wheat experiment since 1843. The accumulation of available P was greatest on the FYM plot, reflecting the larger total P inputs in FYM compared to that applied as inorganic fertilizer or where no P was applied. The larger Olsen P concentrations on plot 5 (PKMg) compared to plot 8 (N3PKMg), despite their similar P inputs, were a result of the higher yields and greater P offtakes in the crop on plot 8, due to the applied N. The relatively low Olsen P concentrations on plot 18 (N2 1/2PKMg) were a result of the limited P inputs between 1844 and 2001. Olsen P concentrations were least on plots receiving no (or very little) P inputs in fertilizer (plot 3, given no fertilizer or manure).

Broadbalk & Geescroft Wilderness Experiments:

The accumulation of organic carbon in soil and tree biomass has been measured on two contrasting sites at Rothamsted that were fenced off in the 1880s and allowed to revert naturally to woodland. Both sites had grown arable crops for many years before. Although not experiments in the usual sense, these two areas of regenerating woodland are of great value, providing information on the long-term sequestration of carbon in soil and vegetation.

Accumulation of organic carbon in soil and trees in Broadbalk Wilderness

The Broadbalk site grew unmanured winter wheat since 1843. Since 1882 it has been allowed to naturally revert to woodland. Large amounts of chalk had been applied, and the surface soil pH is still neutral (pH 7.7).

Accumulation of organic carbon in soil and trees in Geescroft Wilderness

The larger Geescroft site grew beans (Vicia faba) for many years, and has been left uncultivated since 1883. It did not recieve as much chalk as the Broadbalk site, and the soil is now acidic (pH 4.4 in 1999).

Park Grass:

Park Grass Species Diversity

The number of species comprising 1% or more of the biomass in response to selected treatments. Numbers of species have decreased, even on the nil plots. This may be due to changes in atmospheric inputs and/or changes in sward management. Applying N as sodium nitrate (N*) or ammonium sulphate (N) reduces diversity further, and in the ammonium form also rapidly acidifies the soil, reducing the number of species to one or two. Applying chalk aids recovery from acidity. Withholding N causes more species to return (not shown).

Park Grass Soil pH

The changes in pH of the soil (at depth 0-23cm) on Park Grass in response to atmospheric deposition and fertilizer inputs, and then consequent management by liming. The pH was approximately 5.5 when the experiment began. A regular test of liming began in 1903 with chalk applied every 4 years to the southern half of most plots. Plots were then further sub-divided to give a further range of pHs. Soil pH is c 3.5 on the plots given most ammonium sulphate and 5.0-5.3 on the un-limed, unfertilized plots. Sub plot c of most plots is nearest to the original soil pH. Soil pH has slowly recovered by about 0.5 pH units on some plots more than 25 years after ammonium sulphate was last applied.

Hoosfield Barley:

Hoosfield Yields

Mean long-term spring barley yields from selected treatments on the Hoosfield experiment are shown. 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.

Hoosfield Soil Carbon

Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) content in selected treatments of the Hoosfield experiment, where spring barley has been grown each year since 1852. SOC (0-23cm) has remained almost constant in the unfertilized plot since the 1880s, at the equilibrium level for this farming system on this soil type. Annual applications of 35 t ha-1 FYM increased SOC rapidly at first, then more slowly. This treatment now contains around three times as much SOC as the unfertilized plot. The third treatment, given FYM for just 20 years between 1852 and 1871, still contains more SOC than the unfertilized plot.

Rothamsted Meteorological data:

Mean Annual Temperature at Rothamsted

The mean annual air temperature from 1878 to 2013 is shown. Air temperature has been measured at Rothamsted since 1878. The 10 warmest years on record occurred in the last 17 years. The mean annual temperature is now 1 °C higher than the 1878-1987 average.

Back to top

RRes Logo - Back to RRes