Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Broadbalk long-term experiment at Rothamsted: what has it told us about weeds?

  • Stephen R. Moss, Jonathan Storkey (a1), John W. Cussans (a1), Sarah A. M. Perryman (a1) and Michael V. Hewitt (a1)...

Abstract

The Broadbalk experiment was started in 1843 to investigate the relative importance of different plant nutrients (N, P, K, Na, Mg) on grain yield of winter wheat. Weeds were controlled initially by hand hoeing and fallowing, but since 1964, herbicides have been applied to the whole experiment with the exception of the 18 plots on Section 8. Approximately 130 weed species have been recorded on Broadbalk and about 30 of these are currently recorded annually on Section 8. Detailed weed surveys, conducted from 1930 to 1979, provide a unique 50-yr record, but the relatively small number of frequency categories used (six) poses a limitation on the interpretation of these data for ecological studies. Weed surveys were restarted in 1991 on Section 8. The current assessment method records the presence of individual weed species in 25 random 0.1-m2 quadrats per plot, which is more appropriate for detecting long-term trends in weed frequencies and population differences between plots. A principal components analysis of the 1991–2002 survey data for 15 species showed clearly the influence of inorganic N fertilizer levels on the frequency of individual species. The frequency of one species (common chickweed) was greatly favored by increasing amounts of nitrogen fertilizer from 0 to 288 kg N ha−1, others were strongly disadvantaged (e.g., black medic and field horsetail), some were slightly disadvantaged (e.g., common vetch and parsley-piert), and some showed little response to differing N rates (e.g., blackgrass and corn poppy). Other weed investigations include studies on the effects of fallowing on the weed seed bank, seed dormancy and persistence, agroecology, and population dynamics of individual weed species. Recently, molecular approaches have been used to study the genetic diversity of weeds found on Section 8, which is one of the few arable sites in the country where herbicides have never been applied. This site also provides an invaluable reserve for seven nationally rare or uncommon species. Broadbalk continues to act as a valuable resource for weed investigations 160 yr after it was established.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Plant and Invertebrate Ecology, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom AL5 2JQ; stephen.moss@bbsrc.ac.uk

References

Hide All
Bawden, F. C. 1969. The Broadbalk Wheat Experiment. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1968, Part 2. 215 p.
Brenchley, W. E. 1913. The weeds of arable land III. Ann. Bot 27:141166.
Brenchley, W. E. 1915. Weeds on arable land and their suppression. J. R. Agric. Soc. Engl 76:1437.
Brenchley, W. E. 1917. The effect of weeds upon cereal crops. New Phytol 16:5376.
Brenchley, W. E. 1918. Buried weed seeds. J. Agric. Sci 9:131.
Brenchley, W. E. 1924–1925. Spraying for weed eradication. J. Bath West South. Counties Soc 14:120.
Brenchley, W. E. and Warington, K. 1930. The weed seed populations of arable soil. I. Numerical estimation of viable seeds and observations on their natural dormancy. J. Ecol 18:235272.
Brenchley, W. E. and Warington, K. 1933. The weed seed populations of arable soil. II. Influence of crop, soil and methods of cultivation upon the relative abundance of viable seeds. J. Ecol 21:103127.
Brenchley, W. E. and Warington, K. 1936. The weed seed populations of arable soil. III. The re-establishment of weed species after reduction by fallowing. J. Ecol 24:479501.
Brenchley, W. E. and Warington, K. 1945. The influence of periodic fallowing on the prevalence of viable weed seeds in arable soil. Ann. Appl. Biol 32:285296.
Cavan, G., Potier, V., and Moss, S. 2000. Genetic diversity of weeds growing in continuous wheat. Weed Res 40:301310.
Chancellor, R. J. 1966. The Identification of Weed Seedlings of Farm and Garden. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Scientific. 88 p.
Dyke, G. V. 1993. John Lawes of Rothamsted, Pioneer of Science, Farming and Industry. Harpenden, U.K.: Hoos. 234 p.
Firbank, L. G. 1993. Short-term variability of plant populations within a regularly disturbed habitat. Oecologia 94:351355.
Fisher, R. A. 1930. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon.
Freckleton, R. P. and Watkinson, A. R. 2002. Are weed population dynamics chaotic? J. Appl. Ecol 39:699707.
Garner, H. V. 1957. Alternate Wheat and Fallow, Hoosfield. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1956. Pp. 184187.
Goulding, K. W. T., Poulton, P. R., Webster, C. P., and Howe, M. T. 2000. Nitrate leaching from the Broadbalk wheat experiment, Rothamsted, U.K., as influenced by fertilizer and manure inputs and the weather. Soil Use Manag 16:244250.
Grime, J. P., Hodgson, J. G., and Hunt, R. 1988. Comparative Plant Ecology. London: Unwin Hyman. 742 p.
Harmer, R., Peterken, G., Kerr, G., and Poulton, P. 2001. Vegetation changes during 100 years of development of two secondary woodlands on abandoned arable land. Biol. Conserv 101:291304.
Jenkinson, D. S. 1991. The Rothamsted long-term experiments: are they still of use? Agron. J 83:210.
Johnston, A. E. 1994. The Rothamsted classical experiments. Pages 937 in Leigh, R. A. and Johnston, A. E. eds. Long-Term Experiments in Agricultural and Ecological Sciences. Wallingford, U.K.: CAB International.
Johnston, A. E. and Garner, H. V. 1969. Broadbalk: Historical Introduction. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1968, Part 2. Pp. 1225.
Johnston, A. E. and Poulton, P. R. 1977. Yields on the Exhaustion Land and Changes in the NPK Content of the Soil Due to Cropping and Manuring. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1956, Part 2. Pp. 5385.
Jornsgard, B., Rasmussen, K., Hill, J., and Christiansen, J. L. 1996. Influence of nitrogen on competition between cereals and their natural weed populations. Weed Res 36:461470.
Lewis, T. L. 1992. 150 Years of research at Rothamsted: practice with science exemplified. J. R. Agric. Soc. Engl 153:107118.
McEwen, J., Johnston, A. E., Poulton, P. D., and Yeoman, D. P. 1984. Rothamsted Garden Clover—Red Clover Grown Continuously Since 1854. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1983. Pp. 225235.
Payne, R. W., Lane, P. W., and Ainsley, A. E. 1987. Genstat 5 Reference Manual. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon.
Poulton, P. R., Pye, E., Hargreaves, P. R., and Jenkinson, D. S. 2003. Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen by old arable land reverting to woodland. Glob. Change Biol 9:942955.
Preston, C. D., Pearman, D. A., and Dines, T. D. 2002. New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. 910 p.
Silvertown, J., McConway, K. J., Hughes, Z., Biss, P., Macnair, M., and Lutman, P. 2002. Ecological and genetic correlates of long-term population trends in the Park Grass experiment. Am. Nat 160:409420.
Stewart, A., Pearman, D. A., and Preston, C. D. 1994. Scarce plants in Britain. Peterborough, U.K.: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Thurston, J. M. 1963. Biology and Control of Wild-Oats. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1962. Pp. 236253.
Thurston, J. M. 1969. Weed Studies on Broadbalk. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1968, Part 2. Pp. 186208.
Thurston, J. M. 1972. Black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) and its control. Pages 977987 in Proceedings of the 11th British Weed Control Conference. Volume 3. Farnham, U.K.: British Crop Protection Council.
Tilman, D., Dodd, M. E., Silvertown, J., Poulton, P. R., Johnston, A. E., and Crawley, M. J. 1994. The Park Grass experiment: insights from the most long-term ecological study. Pages 287303 in Leigh, R. A. and Johnston, A. E. eds. Long-term Experiments in Agricultural and Ecological Sciences. Wallingford, U.K.: CAB International.
Warington, K. 1924. The influence of manuring on the weed flora of arable land. J. Ecol 12:111126.
Warington, K. 1936. The effects of constant and fluctuating temperatures on the germination of weed seeds in arable soil. J. Ecol 24:185204.
Warington, K. 1958. Changes in the weed flora on Broadbalk permanent wheat field during the period 1930–55. J. Ecol 46:101113.
Warren, R. G. and Johnston, A. E. 1962. Barnfield. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1961. Pp. 227247.
Warren, R. G. and Johnston, A. E. 1967. Hoosfield Continuous Barley. Harpenden, U.K.: Rothamsted Experimental Station Rep. for 1966. Pp. 320338.
Warwick, S. I. 1990. Genetic variation in weeds. Pages 318 in Kawano, S. ed. Biological Approaches and Evolutionary Trends in Plants. London: Academic.
Wilson, P., Kay, S., Philips, J., and Lock, L. 1999. Auditing the arable flora— problems and some possible solutions. Pages 823828 in Proceedings of the 1999 Brighton Conference—Weeds. Volume 3. Farnham, U.K.: British Crop Protection Council.
Wilson, P. J. 1990. The Ecology and Conservation of Rare Arable Weed Species and Communities. . University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K.
Wilson, P. J. 1999. Space for endangered plants in arable landscapes. Pages 273278 in Proceedings of the 1999 Brighton Conference—Weeds. Volume 1. Farnham, U.K.: British Crop Protection Council.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed