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Working rules for determining the plot size and numbers of plots per block in field experiments

Summary

Working rules for determining plot size and number of plots within a block in field experiments are proposed based on the value of the intrablock correlation (ρ), which can be obtained from the analysis of variance of a randomized-block experiment. The method uses Binns' (1982) equation to relate this correlation to Smith's (1938) empirical law. The rules are: (1) if ρ is greater than 0·5, use an incomplete block design or reduce the plot size in order to increase the number of replications; (2) if ρ is less than 0·1, an increase in plot size is effective; (3) if ρ is between 0·1 and 0·5, an increase in plot size and a decrease in the number of plots per block may be helpful in combination.

References

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Binns, M. R. (1982). The choice of plot size in randomized block experiments. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 107, 1719.
Binns, M. R., Ogilvie, I., Arnold, N. & Lukosevecius, P. (1983). Size of plots and blocks in agricultural experiments: an empirical study with cigarfiller tobacco. Indian Journal of Agricultural Science 53, 706712.
Cochran, W. G. & Cox, G. M. (1957). Experimental Designs, 2nd edn.611 pp. New York: John Wiley.
Kempthorne, O. (1957). An Introduction to Genetic Statistics, 545 pp. New York: John Wiley.
Koch, E. J. & Rigney, J. A. (1951). A method of estimating optimum plot size from experimental data. Journal of American Society of Agronomy 43, 1721.
Pearce, S. C. (1976). An examination of Fairfield Smith's law of environmental variation. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 87, 2124.
Smith, H. F. (1938). An empirical law describing heterogeneity in the yields of agricultural crops. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 28, 123.

Working rules for determining the plot size and numbers of plots per block in field experiments

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