Of these stations the greatest, and the oldest now existing, is that at Rothamsted, Harpenden, Herts, England, which was founded in 1843 by Sir John Bennet Lawes.
The yields in the experimental wheat-field at Rothamsted - where there is no change either of land or of treatment - indicate this.
The following figures show the average yields per acre of the selected plots at Rothamsted over six 8-yearly periods from 1852 to 1899, and afford evidence that the higher yield of later years is due to the seasons: Bushels (of 60 lb) Average of - per acre.
Gilbert, Rothamsted Memoirs on Agricultural Chemistry and Physiology, 7 vols.
Hall, Book of the Rothamsted Experiments (1905).
Experiments similar to the foregoing were carried on for many years in succession at Rothamsted upon oats, and gave results which were in general accordance with those on the other cereal crops.
The field experiments on leguminous plants at Rothamsted have shown that land which is, so to speak, exhausted so far as the growth of one leguminous crop is concerned, may still grow very luxuriant crops of another plant of the same natural order, but of different habits of growth, and especially of different character and range of roots.
The attitude taken up later on with regard to this problem is set forth in the following words, which are quoted from the Memoranda of the Rothamsted Experiments, 1900 (p. 7): - " Experiments were commenced in 1857, and conducted for several years in succession, to determine whether plants assimilate free or uncombined nitrogen, and also various collateral points.
Considering that the results of Hellriegel and Wilfarth on this point were, if confirmed, of great significance and importance, it was decided to make experiments at Rothamsted on somewhat similar lines.
The conclusions of Hellriegel and Wilfarth have thus been confirmed by the later experiences of Rothamsted, and since that time efforts have been directed energetically to the practical application of the discovery.
Another field experiment of singular interest is that relating to the mixed herbage of permanent meadow, for which seven acres of old grass land were set apart in Rothamsted Park in 1856.
The benefits that accrue from the practice of rotation are well illustrated in the results obtained from the investigations at Rothamsted into the simple four-course system, which may fairly be regarded as a self-supporting system.
In the feeding experiments which have been carried on at Rothamsted it has been shown that the amount consumed both for a given live weight of animal within a given time, and for the production of a given amount of increase, is, as current food-stuffs go, measurable more by the amounts they contain of digestible and available non-nitrogenous constituents than by the amounts of the digestible and available nitrogenous constituents they supply.
The results of these experiments will be found in a compendium issued from the Rothamsted Agricultural Experimental Station.
1900) provided an endowment of Lroo,000 for the perpetuation of the agricultural experiments which he inaugurated here at his seat of Rothamsted Park.