A new Rothamsted long-term field experiment for the twenty-first century - principles and practice

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Li, X., Storkey, J., Mead, A., Shield, I. F., Clark, I. M., Ostler, R., Roberts, B. and Dobermann, A. 2023. A new Rothamsted long-term field experiment for the twenty-first century - principles and practice. Agronomy for Sustainable Development - ASD. 43 (5), p. 60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-023-00914-8

AuthorsLi, X., Storkey, J., Mead, A., Shield, I. F., Clark, I. M., Ostler, R., Roberts, B. and Dobermann, A.
Abstract

Agriculture faces potentially competing societal demands to produce food, fiber and fuel while reducing negative environmental impacts and delivering regulating, supporting and cultural ecosystem services. This necessitates a new generation of long-term agricultural field experiments designed to study the behavior of contrasting cropping systems in terms of multiple outcomes. We document the principles and practices of a new long-term experiment of this type at Rothamsted, established at two contrasting sites in 2017 and 2018, and report initial yield data at the crop and system level. The objective of the Large-Scale Rotation Experiment was to establish gradients of system properties and outcomes to improve our fundamental understanding of UK cropping systems. It is composed of four management factors—phased rotations, cultivation (conventional vs reduced tillage), nutrition (additional organic amendment vs standard mineral fertilization) and crop protection (conventional vs smart crop protection). These factors were combined in a balanced design resulting in 24 emergent cropping systems at each site and can be analyzed at the level of the system or component management factors. We observed interactions between management factors and with the environment on crop yields, justifying the systems level, multi-site approach. Reduced tillage resulted in lower wheat yields but the effect varied with rotation, previous-crop and site. Organic amendments significantly increased spring barley yield by 8% on average though the effect again varied with site. The plowed cropping systems tended to produce higher caloric yield overall than systems under reduced tillage. Additional response variables are being monitored to study synergies and trade-offs with outcomes other than yield at the cropping system level. The experiment has been established as a long-term resource for inter-disciplinary research. By documenting the design process, we aim to facilitate the adoption of similar approaches to system-scale agricultural experimentation to inform the transition to more sustainable cropping systems.

Year of Publication2023
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development - ASD
Journal citation43 (5), p. 60
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-023-00914-8
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Publisher's version
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Aug 2023
PublisherSpringer France
ISSN1774-0746

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/98xz2/a-new-rothamsted-long-term-field-experiment-for-the-twenty-first-century-principles-and-practice

168 total views
62 total downloads
6 views this month
2 downloads this month
Download files as zip