NU Smart Farms

Long-term Field Trials

Palace Leas meadow hay plots

Established in 1896, the Palace Leas Meadow Hay plots at Cockle Park Farm is the longest running grazing and hay cutting experiment in the world. It is also one of the oldest fertilisation trials.

The plots retain outdated management techniques. Thus, they show how the evolution of management systems affects soil, species diversity and yield.

The field is laid out as a series of 14 plots:

  • one control plot
  • five receiving farmyard manure treatments, with or without fertiliser
  • eight receiving various combinations of NPK

The grass is cut each year and hay is made on the plots. We take samples for dry matter determination and calculate the yield. They are also milled and available for analytical measurements. Livestock grazes the aftermath growth.

Nafferton field trials

We established this multi-factorial crop trial in 2002. It compares conventional and organic rotations with different inputs.

We assess different inputs to develop best practice for agriculture by combining approaches from conventional and organic farming. We currently grow wheat, barley, potatoes and grass. Vegetables were in rotation in the past.