One thing that struck me was that it does not appear that
organized information on long term trials is organized
anywhere, with the notable exception of a bibliography
published in 1993. Yes, it'=92s true, as a few mentioned, that
much of this information can be accessed through Agricola.
However, for data that is not published through typical peer
reviewed channels, or for information on newer projects, I
have not found Agricola to be very useful. I'=92m wondering if
anyone knows specifically of a database anywhere that might
list all of the long term experiment-station based
comparison experiments. (Does anyone know if this is what
Vivian Allen was trying to do with a project called
It has been my experience as manager for a long term trial
here at Davis, that it would be very useful to have this
information collated for referencing for publications, grant
writing etc. It seems that it might be easy enough to
collect just the basic information--site location, date of
initiation of experiment, major crops and systems compared,
and a list of publications, and store it on a web site. If
anyone out there has some free time and is looking for a
In any event, here is a summary of the information I got.
(Sub-headings are references, trials, web sites, bibliographies and other=
J. Production Agriculture. Nutrient, Labor, Energy and
Economic Evaluations of 2 Farming Systems inIowa by DL
Karlen, MD Duffy and TS Colvin. Vol. 8, no. 4 , 1995.
The Australian J. of Expt. Ag. devoted Vol. 35 (1995) to
studies in several locations. Agronomy Journal also had
several articles on
long-term studies in Volume 83(1991).
For an 18 yr rotation study in Canada see: CAN J PL SCI
ACTA AGRIC SCAND 41,119(1991) rotation/manure expt.
BIOL FERTIL SOIL 11,234(1991) on earthworms
BIOL FERTIL SOILS 12,81(1991), germany, green manure
SOIL AND TILLAGE RES 22,145(1992), rotation, no-till
SOIL TILL RES 31,149(1994) no-till soil quality
Janke et al., Long-term, low-input cropping systems
research. In: Sust. Ag. Res. and Ed in the field, Nat.
Academy Press. (1991)?
LONG TERM TRIALS
I am involved in evaluating soil quality at the Sustainable
Agriculture Project at Remington Farms (currently renamed as Chesapeake
Farms,Chestertown, Maryland). This projecthas been operational
since late 1993-early '94 and is comparing four cashgrain
cropping systems with varying degrees of crop rotation
diversity andapproach to management. The project director is
D. Raymond Forney. His phonenumber is (41) 778-0141 if you want to call him=
. He should
be able to provide you with an overview of the project's objectives as
well as accomplishments to date.
For information on long term cropping system research at the
Univ. of MInnesota, contact Dept. head Kent Crookston at (612) 625-
7773 about the Koch Farm ("Cook") at the Lamberton Experiment Station (I
don't know who theLamberton agronomist is right now, but Kent has had a
special interest in the Koch Farm for many years.
Michigan also has a long term ecological research study on
row-crop agriculture (LTER). These experiments are both located at
Michigan State Univ.'s Kellogg Biological Station. KBS has a web page at
http://gopher.kbs.msu.edu/ The web page offers info. on
experimental design, weather data, field data, publications to date and
people involved in LTER (along w/ their email addresses). Phil Robertson i=
the PI. All the LTER-involved folks I know are very friendly and
I am leading a systems comparison for vegetables here at the
Geneva Experiment Station at COrnell. Currently we are focussing on
sweet corn. I have several reports on cabbage and 1 year of sweet corn,
none of which are published in referred journals. Let me know if you are
firstname.lastname@example.org New York State Ag
(315) 787-2206 Geneva, NY 14456
the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial, a long-
term, multidisciplinary investigation of 6 cash grain and
forage systems, ranging from high input to almost organic.
We are entering our 7th season this summer.
It is expected to run at least 12 years, and involves 6
production systems and two
locations; some systems involve livestock, others are cash
grains. The researchers paid unusually careful attention to the
experimental design; for example, before the treatments were begun, they=20
had a "uniformity year" in which all the plots were in corn, and there=20
was considerable analysis of the heterogeneity of the experimental area=20
to choose the best size, shape and number of replicates.This work (which=20
is still in progress, of course), was written up in the
article "The Wisconsin integrated cropping systems trial:
Combining agroecology with production agronomy", by J.L. Posner, M.D.
Casler, and J.O.Baldock; American Journal of Alternative Agriculture
The mother of all long-term studies of "alternative"
(specifically organic) systems is the famous Haughley
experiment in England. I don't have a ready reference, but
no doubt you can get information on it from its sponsors: Soil
Association, 86 Colston
St., Bristol BS1 5BB, Great Britain; email@example.com.
Suggest you talk with Dr. James Powers, USDA-ARS, Lincoln,
NE and the Director of the ARS Research Center in Mandan, ND about some
of their long-term studies on cropping systems.over the past 50
There may also be some long term studies at the ARS Akron,
CO research station. That station is now part of the Fort Collins, CO
management unit. Dr. Jim Welsh is the Director of the Gt. Plains
Regional Systems Lab that would be able to tell you who to talk with.
Another ARS locationthat may be worth checking out is Morris, MN - I know t=
have been involved in long term studies but cannot tell you what they
Do you have a copy of the project report from Virginia Tech
on the low-input corn/cattle experiement that has been going on for
about seven years? It was funded for six years by the Southern
Region SARE program and will go on indefinitely as long as funding can
be found. Long term projects like this really show their importance
when youget to the fifth or sixth year and see the low-input system
pulling ahead in terms of profit.The official name of the project is
Low-Input Crop and LivestockSystems for the Southeastern United States. Viv=
ien Allen was
the original coordinator and passed it on to Joe Fontenot when
she moved from VA. Tech to Texas. If you don't have information on
this project I will be glad to send you the final report, which was just
submitted December 1995, in either hard copy or diskette form.
(A possibly more accessible write-up is "Whole farm systems
research: An integrated crop and livestock systems
comparison study," by J. Luna, V. Allen, J. Fontenot, and
others; American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 9(1-
Penn State under a grant.Ken Steffen is the PI on this
project, I believe, and if he isn't I knowthat he's actively
involved. Sorry I don't have an email address for him but
he can be reached at the Depart. of Horticulture, 102 Tyson
Bldg.,Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.
Two of the oldest long-term cropping trials in the country
are being conducted in Auburn, Alabama. Contact Dr. Charles Mitchell
of Auburn University for more details. His email address is
Rodale Farming Systems trial. Speak to Laurie Drinkwater
here at Rodale-- she is organizing a symposium forthe 96 ASA
Ohio State was doing comparisons of vegetable production
systems about 3 or 4 years ago. It might have been with SARE grant
money. I think they had some agronomic crops, too. Check with them.
How far back in time did you look? Almost all the work
published until sometime in the 1950's should qualify as organic. There wer=
no pesticides, nitrogen came from legumes in rotation, and
little P and K were applied. Much of this work was published in Experiment
Station Bulletins and you should be able to find these in any Ag
library that predates WWII. Most of the midwestern states had these
studies. Some rather famous rotations were the Morrow plots at the U of
Ill, the Jordan plots in Pa. and Sanborn field in Mo. Ohio also had the Fry
Farm rotations and Thatcher published on these.
Weintraub, Irwin. Alternative Agriculture: Selected
Information Sources- Part
I: Databases, Abstracts and Indexes, Periodicals, and
Newspapers. Journal of Agricultural and Food Information,
Weintraub, Irwin. Alternative Agriculture: Selected
II. Bibliographies, Reports, and Directories. Journal of
Food Information, 1(4):33-96, 1993.
In that file choose Forskning - Research
Then sub meny LongTermTrials
ATTRA, an information clearinghouse for sustainable
agriculture,has some information on this subject. Please call our toll-
free # (800) 346-9140 (8.30 am to 4.30 pm CST) with your request.
Ourmaterials are available at no charge.
Maybe the SARE research results would be a profitable placeto search
for the kind of studies you seek....