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An experiment in the control of the ground water-level in a fen peat soil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2009

H. H. Nicholson
School of Agriculture, University of Cambridge
G. Alderman
School of Agriculture, University of Cambridge
D. H. Firth
School of Agriculture, University of Cambridge


1. The methods of investigation of the effect of ground water-level on crop growth, together with tho field installations in use, are discussed.

2. Direct field experiments are handicapped by the difficulties of achieving close control on a sufficiently large scale, due to considerable variations of surface level and depth of peat within individual fields and to rapid fluctuations in rainfall and evaporation. Many recorded experiments are associated with climatic conditions of substantial precipitation during the growing season.

3. Seasonal fluctuations of ground water-level in Fen peat soils in England, in natural and agricultural conditions, are described.

4. The local soil conditions are outlined and the implications of profile variations are discussed.

5. The effective control of ground water-level on a field scale requires deep and commodious ditches and frequent large underdrains to ensure the movement of water underground with sufficient freedom to give rapid compensatory adjustment for marked disturbances of ground water-level following the incidence of heavy rain or excessive evaporation.

6. A working installation for a field experiment in ordinary farming conditions is described and the measure of control attained is indicated.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1951

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