Dataset: Hoosfield mean long-term spring barley yields 1852-2015

Citation:  Rothamsted Research (2017). Hoosfield mean long-term spring barley yields 1852-2015 Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research 10.23637/KeyRefOAHByields
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Hoosfield mean long-term yields 1852-2015

Hoosfield mean long-term yields 1852-2015


This dataset 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 cultivars 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.


This summary data is derived from annual plot data for the relevant selected plots and treatments. The original raw data is available, from the e-RA database. Fallow years (no crop) are excluded. The arrows on the figure indicate the introduction of key agronomic practices and change of spring barley cultivar (variety).

Technical Information

Agronomic practices:

  • 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.

Related Documents

Related Datasets


  • Sarah Perryman: Data curator
  • Margaret Glendining: Data curator
  • Andrew Macdonald: Project leader
  • Paul Poulton: Researcher
  • Richard Ostler: Researcher
  • Nathalie Castells: Data manager

Dataset Access and Conditions

Rights Holder

Rothamsted Research


Creative Commons License This dataset is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (4.0).

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YOU MUST CITE AS: Rothamsted Research (2017). Dataset: Hoosfield mean long-term spring barley yields 1852-2015 Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research

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Table Of Contents

Data is shown for the following treatments:

  • Unfertilized: No fertilizer or organic manures since 1852
  • PKMg+48kgN: PKMg + 48gkNha-1 applied each year since 1852
  • FYM: 35tha-1 FYM each year since 1852
  • FYM 1852-1871: 35tha-1 FYM each year 1852-1871, no NPKMg fertilizer or organic manure since
  • Greatest yield from NPKMg plots (max 144kgN): Fertilizer treatment (NPKMg) giving highest yield each year (max. 144kgN ha-1) since 1970
  • Greatest yield from FYM+N plots (max 144kgN): 35 t ha-1 FYM since 1852 plus N giving highest yield each year (max. 144 kgN ha-1) since 1970

The data presented is mean data from selected plots only. The complete data set, including the raw data used to derive the mean values, is available from the e-RA curators.

  • The dataset Hoosfield mean long-term spring barley yields 1852-2015 is a published dataset from the e-RA Database. e-RA is part of the Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments - National Bioscience Research Infrastructure (RLTE-NBRI), which also covers maintenance of the Long-Term Experiments, the Rothamsted Sample Archive and Rothamsted's environmental monitoring activities including the weather stations and its role in the UK Environmental Change Network
  • The RLTE-NBRI is funded by UK Research and Innovation - Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UKRI-BBSRC) under award BBS/E/RH/23NB0007 (2023-2028). The RLTE-NBRI is also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust. e-RA has been part of a National Capability since 2012, previous awards from the BBSRC were Grants BBS/E/C/00005189 (2012-2017) and BBS/E/C/000J0300 (2017-2022)
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For further information and assistance, please contact the e-RA curators, Sarah Perryman and Margaret Glendining using the e-RA email address: