Dataset: Highfield Bare Fallow soil chemical properties, 1959-2014

Highfield Bare Fallow %SOC 1959-2014

Highfield Bare Fallow %SOC 1959-2014


Highfield Bare Fallow experiment soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (N) sub-plot data 1959-2014. The experiment was ploughed out of old grassland (since 1838) in 1959 and has been kept in bare fallow since by cultivation to suppress weeds. No crops are grown. The data set contains SOC and total N as % and soil stock data, soil weights and soil pH in the topsoil (0-23cm).


The soil was sampled eight times between 1959 and 2014, in the summer/autumn, except in 1959 when it was sampled in December, before the grass was ploughed in. There are four sub-plots. The stock of total soil N and SOC was calculated from %N and %SOC and the estimated soil weight, 0-23cm. %N and %SOC were measured on air-dried soil, ground to <2mm.

Technical Information

Soil pH was measured in water, with a 1:2.5 soil:water suspension, in air-dried soil, sieved <2mm. Samples were analysed for %N by the Kjeldahl method (Bremner, 1965), 1959-1987, and by LECO combustion, based on the Dumas method, 2000-2014. SOC was measured by the Tinsley method (Kalembasa & Jenkinson, 1973) 1959-1987, and as total C by combustion (LECO) minus CaCO3-C by manometry, 2000-2014. Soil weights were measured in 1978 and 2000 and also in 2000 from an adjacent area of grassland, to give an estimate of starting value in 1959. Stocks of SOC and total N were calculated from %SOC and %N and estimated soil weight, 0-23cm.

Related Documents


  • Andrew Macdonald: Project leader
  • Paul Poulton: Researcher
  • Andy Gregory: Researcher
  • Margaret Glendining: Data curator
  • Richard Ostler: Project manager
  • Nathalie Castells-Brooke: Data manager
  • Sarah Perryman: Data curator
  • Ruth Skilton: Data collector
  • Wendy Wilmer: Data collector
  • Melanie Brookman: Data collector
  • Jeanne Day: Data collector

Dataset Access and Conditions

Rights Holder

Rothamsted Research


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

Cite this Dataset

YOU MUST CITE AS: Andrew Macdonald, Paul Poulton, Andy Gregory, Margaret Glendining, Richard Ostler (2021). Dataset: Highfield Bare Fallow soil chemical properties, 1959-2014 Electronic Rothamsted Archive, Rothamsted Research

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Table Of Contents

An Excel file, 01-SOILCN5914.xlsx contains the Highfield Bare Fallow soil data, 1959-2014. Frictionless CSV files are also provided for users who prefer the CSV format.

This dataset is derived from measurements made by the Analytical Chemistry Unit, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden.

The Analytical Chemistry Unit follows the Joint Code of Practice (JCoPR) and participates in European Quality Assurance programmes. All performance is strictly monitored using certified external standards alongside in-house standard materials. Standards and check samples are monitored and recorded.

  • Bremner, J. M. (1965). Total nitrogen. In Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2 (ed. C. A. Black), pp. 1149-1178. Madison: American Society of Agronomy.
  • Kalembasa, S.J and Jenkinson, D.S (1973) A comparative study of titrimetric and gravimetric methods for the determination of organic carbon in soil. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 24: 1085-1090.

For further information and assistance, please contact the e-RA curators, Sarah Perryman and Margaret Glendining using the e-RA email address: