Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Collecting the Data

Water flumes, soil moisture stations, rain gauges and Met station data

The Farm Platform consists of 15 sub-catchments, hydrologically isolated through a combination of the natural topography and a network of French drains constructed around the field margins.  A prominent feature of the site is the presence of clayey sub-soils beneath the sub-surface horizons which results in the surface and sub-surface flows moving laterally and being intercepted by the bounding drainage system. This design ensures that little surface runoff is lost and is instead channelled to a catchment flume, where flow rate and (chemical and physical) water properties are measured at 15 minute intervals.

In addition, a soil moisture station and rain gauge are positioned at the centroid of each catchment to measure soil temperature, soil moisture (at 3 depths) and precipitation, also at 15 minute intervals. There is also a site-wide Met station providing meteorological data at 15 minute intervals.



Via telemetry (UHF radio) all such 15 minute data sets are stored within an integrated web server. An example display of this high resolution time series data (still in its raw form) is given below.

The following table lists all of the time series variables that are measured on the Farm Platform.

Livestock and field event data

Livestock locations and weights/condition scores, along with field event data are recorded in the Farm Platform database.



Field surveys

Many spatial field surveys have been conducted, including those for soil nutrients, botanical data, invertebrates, herbage data and silage cuts.  Sampling is commonly conducted on either a 50m or 25m grid, sometimes complemented with higher resolution sampling at say, a 10m grid. Below is a map depicting the C/N ratio from the 2012 soils nutrients survey.