In the case of plants the method of procedure was to grow some of the most important crops of rotation, each separately year after year, for many years in succession on the same land, (a) without manure, (b) with farmyard manure and (c) with a great variety of chemical manures; the same description of manure being, as a rule, applied year after year on the same plot.
Amongst the field experiments there is, perhaps, not one of more universal interest than that in which wheat was grown for fifty-seven years in succession, (a) without manure, (b) with farmyard manure and (c) with various artificial manures.
In one case, indeed, the average produce by mixed minerals and nitrogenous manure was more than that by the annual application of farmyard manure; and in seven out of the ten cases in which such mixtures were used the average yield per acre was from over two to over eight bushels more than the average yield of the United Kingdom (assuming this to be about twenty-eight bushels of 60 lb per bushel) under ordinary rotation.
The average results show that, under all conditions of manuring - excepting with farmyard manure - the produce was less over the later than over the earlier periods of the experiments, an effect partly due to the seasons.
Of the twenty plots into which this land is divided, two were left without manure from the outset, two received ordinary farmyard manure for a series of years, whilst the remainder each received a different description of artificial or chemical manure, the same being, except in special cases, applied year after year on the same plot.