6th International Symposium
on Soil Organic Matter

Healthy soils for sustainable agriculture: the role of SOM
3–7 September 2017 • Rothamsted Research • Harpenden (United Kingdom)

6th International Symposium
on Soil Organic Matter

Healthy soils for sustainable agriculture: the role of SOM
3–7 September 2017 • Rothamsted Research • Harpenden (United Kingdom)

Congress details

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Lunchtime activities

Please note: The two tours of the lunchtime activities below only have limited capacities. Registration required: Please reserve your place at the check-in counter on-site.
The two exhibitions are unlimited and do not require a registration.

Days
Times
Duration
Monday 4 September12.05–13.0560 minutes
Tuesday 5 September12.20–13.2060 minutes
Wednesday 6 September12.20–13.2060 minutes

Meeting point
Outside the main entrance to the Conference Centre, where a coach will be parked

Contact person
Andy Gregory (andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk)

Maximum number of participants
50 per tour (1 tour per day)

Registration required
Please reserve your place at the check-in counter on-site.

Further information
Participants will be escorted to the Manor House by coach (5 minutes), and then will walk the short distance (5–10 minutes) escorted to the two experiments.  Some of the tracks are unsealed and may be muddy in places.  This tour may be subject to cancellation in case of adverse weather. Lunch will be available to participants upon their return.

Description
Agro-ecological research began at Rothamsted in 1843 when the first of the “Classical” experiments was established by Lawes and Gilbert.  Today there are 7 classical experiments located at Rothamsted Experimental Farm (320 ha), two of the best known are the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment (started 1843) and the Park Grass Continuous Hay Experiment (started 1856).  Initial research focussed on the value of fertilisers and manures for crop production.  Over time, Broadbalk has been modified to include rotations, the use of lime, pesticides, new crop varieties and increased rates of N to ensure that it remains relevant to current agricultural issues, whilst maintaining its long-term integrity.  Park Grass, which is of great interest to ecologists, has been modified to test the effects of lime.  Participants will have the opportunity to see these experiments and learn more about their history and current uses.

Links: http://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/Broadbalkhttp://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/Park

Left: Broadbalk Wheat Experiment (1843 – present); centre, top: John Bennet Lawes (1814 – 1900); centre, bottom: Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817 – 1901); right: Park Grass Continuous Hay Experiment (1856 – present)
© Rothamsted Research
Days
Times
Duration
Monday 4 September12.10–12.35 / 12.35–13.00 / 13.00–13.2525 minutes
Tuesday 5 September12.25–12.50 / 12.50–13.15 / 13.15–13.4025 minutes
Wednesday 6 September12.25–12.50 / 12.50–13.15 / 13.15–13.4025 minutes

Meeting point
Conference Centre Reception desk

Contact person
Andy Gregory (andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk)

Maximum number of participants
15 per tour (3 tours per day)

Registration required
Please reserve your place at the check-in counter on-site.

Further information
Participants will be escorted to the Sample Archive (a 2-minute walk away).

Description
The Rothamsted Sample Archive was established by Lawes and Gilbert in 1843.  The recently refurbished archive now contains about 300 000 samples of dried plant and soil, plus organic manures, lime and fertilisers; many of them from Rothamsted’s long-term experiments (including Broadbalk and Park Grass), dating back to the 1840s.  Samples consist of ground and unground wheat grain, straw, soil and herbage, in addition to material from other crops and long-term experiments.  The archive also contains several thousand soils collected from around the world in the 1920s to the 1950s.  About 1200 crop and 200 soil samples are added annually.  Uses of archived samples include studies on:

  • Detecting fallout from atomic bomb tests in the 1950s.
  • Plant pathogen diversity and atmospheric sulphur deposition
  • Sulphur fertiliser applications and selenium deficiency in wheat grain.
  • Nutritional quality of grain in different wheat varieties.
  • Development of fungicide resistance in plant pathogens.

Participants will have the opportunity to see the sample archive and learn more about its past and present uses.

Links: https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/sample-archive

The Rothamsted Sample Archive (1843 – present), housing about 300 000 crop and soil samples, and growing annually
© Rothamsted Research
Days
Times
Monday 4 September12.00–13.30
Tuesday 5 September12.15–13.45
Wednesday 6 September12.15–13.45

Meeting point
None - participants may go unescorted to the venue at their leisure (see further information below)

Contact person
Andy Gregory (andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk)

Maximum number of participants
Unlimited

Further information
Participants are at liberty to visit the exhibition at their leisure within the times stated above.  Follow the signs to the venue (within the Conference Centre, room to be confirmed).

Description
Data from several of the long-term experiments are stored in the electronic Rothamsted Archive (e-RA).  This is an on-line resource, where users can extract raw data or download summaries as Open Access datasets.  There is also a wealth of background information, including plans, cropping details, images, soil details and a comprehensive bibliography, as well as associated meteorological data, dating back to 1853.  The e-RA curators assist users by providing support in data selection and background information about these complex experiments.
The UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) was started in 1992 and consists of 12 terrestrial sites covering a range of ecosystems throughout the UK including lowland grassland, arable agriculture, woodland/forest and upland moorland/mountain.  Rothamsted supports the network with sites at both Harpenden and North Wyke.  Physical, chemical and biological data is collected using well-defined and agreed protocols for a range of variables, which have been identified as key environmental indicators.  These comparable datasets are accessible through the ECN Data Centre and are freely available to the scientific community.  
Data from e-RA and the ECN are an invaluable resource for today’s environmental scientists and participants will have the opportunity to see the resources and speak to the scientists involved.

Links: http://www.era.rothamsted.ac.uk/http://data.ecn.ac.uk/

Left: Open Access Data from e-RA, showing long-term changes in wheat grain yield under some of the Broadbalk treatments; right: example of time series data viewer tool for Rothamsted and North Wyke rainfall from the ECN Data Centre
© Rothamsted Research
Days
Times
Monday 4 September12.00–13.30
Tuesday 5 September12.15–13.45
Wednesday 6 September12.15–13.45

Meeting point
None - participants may go unescorted to the venue at their leisure (see further information below)

Contact person
Andy Gregory (andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk)

Maximum number of participants
Unlimited

Further information
Participants are at liberty to visit the exhibition at their leisure within the times stated above.  Leave the Conference Centre by the main entrance and follow the signs to the venue (Old Sample House) which is a 2-minute walk away.  Participants should take care when crossing the roads on the site and should use the pedestrian crossing outside the Conference Centre.

Description
A small exhibition will be staged in the Old Sample House describing Rothamsted’s early history, and featuring some of the equipment that was used by soil scientists in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The collection includes equipment that was used to take soil samples, sometimes to a depth of 9 feet (2.75 m)!  Also on display will be balances that were used by Lawes and Gilbert, and mechanical mortars and pestles that were used for grinding soils ready for analysis.  The Old Sample House is the oldest building on the laboratory site, and was built in 1889; it was designed, as the name implies, to house the Rothamsted Sample Archive of Crops and Soils, which had already become too large to accommodate in Rothamsted’s first purpose-built laboratory (opened in 1855 and demolished in 1914).  Also in the Old Sample House, as a permanent feature, is a reconstructed laboratory (ca. 1950), which induces, in most scientists of a certain age, very strong feelings of nostalgia!

The reconstructed laboratory in the Old Sample House
© Rothamsted Research