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Seventy years of data from the world’s longest grazed and irrigated pasture trials

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posted on 2023-05-03, 18:10 authored by Richard McDowell, Ray MossRay Moss, Colin Gray, L. C. Smith, G. Sneath
Pastures are the most widespread land use, globally. The Winchmore trials were established in 1948–1949 in Canterbury, New Zealand and examined either different rates of phosphorus (P) fertiliser on the same irrigation schedule (Fertiliser trial), or different irrigation scheduling at the same rate of P application (Irrigation trial). About 96,000 records of soil chemistry and physical data and pasture yield and botanical composition are available along with nearly 7000 soil samples. These data have been used in 475 publications that have explored topics as diverse as: improvements in sheep, dairy and deer production; the efficacy and scheduling of irrigation; improvements in pasture and crop production; agronomic and environmental soil and water research; and entomology. In addition to above topics, these data are invaluable for calibrating models to predict long-term issues like the accumulation of soil carbon or contaminants like cadmium and informing policy on climate change and agricultural practices. The data and soil samples are available for use and may yet yield discoveries, unforeseen 70 years ago.


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Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


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Springer Nature

Journal title

Scientific Data




McDowell, R. W., Moss, R. A., Gray, C. W., Smith, L. C., & Sneath, G. (2021). Seventy years of data from the world’s longest grazed and irrigated pasture trials. Scientific Data, 8, 53. doi:10.1038/s41597-021-00841-x

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