Fifty-three years of crop rotation studies, started in 1894, were concluded in the fall of 1946. These experiments were on Bridgehampton very fine sandy loam soil that was originally acid and produced meager crops. Within a very few years it became evident that the yields of crops could be materially increased by the use of agricultural lime and chemical fertilizers. The records of the last 17 years of the experiments are reported in this bulletin and comparisons are made with results from former years. The 3 rotations described in this bulletin are known as rotations B, E, and F. B was a 6-year sequence: 1 year of potatoes followed by a year of ensilage corn and 4 years of alfalfa-timothy hay. Rotations E and F were 5-year sequences in which potatoes were followed by Rhode Island White Flint corn and 3 years of hay. Rotation E contained alfalfa, red clover and alsike clover as well as timothy and redtop in the grass seed mixture. The meadow seeding for rotation F consisted of timothy and redtop grasses. The average yields of Irish Cobbler potatoes were: 222 bushels per acre on the "clover rotation," 246 bushels per acre on the "alfalfa rotation" and 294 bushels per acre on the "timothy-redtop" rotation. The superior yields of potatoes after the non-legume hay is thought to result, in part, from a more favorable supply and balance of potassium, calcium and magnesium left by the grass crop. Rhode Island White Flint corn yielded slightly more grain when grown after the legume-grass hay rather than grass hay alone. The supply of available nitrogen seemed to be a controlling factor influencing the yield of corn. The alfalfa-timothy seeding outyielded the general legume hay mixture during the second and third years. The non-legume seeding produced the smallest amount of hay with the least feed value. The general legume mixture usually produced more hay the first year because the biennial clovers that it contained appeared to mature more quickly than the alfalfa. The average net returns per acre were figured for 2 periods of 5 years, 1935-1939 and 1942-1946. During the first period these net returns per acre were $40.77, $24.46 and $10.93 for rotations B, E, and F, respectively. During the second period the net returns were $61.44, $34.52 and $39.85 respectively for these rotations.
Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station, Kingston R.I.
Is Part Of:
Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletins
Odland, Theodore Eugene; Owens, Albert L.; and Bell, Robert Smith, "A Half Century of Crop Rotation" (1949). Special Collections (Miscellaneous). Paper 14.