Poland - Experimental Station in Skierniewice

Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW

Name of site

Experimental Station in Skierniewice


The study site is located in Skierniewice 60 km distance from Warsaw in Central Poland


Soils of glacial origin, on ground moraine. The dominant soil type is stagnic luvisols (WRB). The substratum is a loamy sand (14–17% of silt) to a depth of about 40 cm, and a loam in deeper soil layers.

Monitoring infrastructure

Drainage systems were installed in May 2011 to collect water from selected plots of long-term experiments: CaNPK (mineral fertilization system) in experiment A (arbitrary rotation), CaNPK+M (mineral-organic fertilization system) in experiment E (5-course rotation ) and Ca+FYM (organic fertilization system) in experiment D (monoculture of rye).

Each drainage system consists of a perforated PVC drainage pipe 100 mm in diameter, laid in a PVC U-profile in the soil at a depth of 120 cm. The length of the drainage pipe allows the drained water to be collected over the entire length of the plot. The drained water is collected in graduated vessels placed in inspection chambers. Because the installation of drainage systems involved a major intrusion into the soil environment of the experimental fields, maintained with no alterations since 1923, the systems were installed on one of 3 or 5 replicate plots of the selected treatments in fields A and E, D, respectively.

Soil samples can be collected from the static fertilization experiments (see below). The Experimental Station in which the experiments are conducted has an analytical laboratory, where basic physical and chemical analyses of soil and plant samples can be performed. A vegetation hall and research facility with ca. 1000 ground pots (0.4 m in diameter and 1.2 m tall) is also available.

Agricultural impacts and pollutant types

Controlled crop rotation and fertilization of plant systems. The various experimental plots are shown in the map below.

Long-term static fertilization experiments at the Experimental Field in Skierniewice were designed using modern statistical methods. Experiments on 11 fields (A1–8, AF1–3 and D) were started in 1922 and on the other 8 fields (A9–11 and E) in 1924. From the beginning until now the experiments are conducted in three (Fields A) or five replications (Fields E and D).

The major aim of these experiments has been the evaluation of effects of different organic and mineral fertilization on crops and the environment in different crop rotation systems. The experimental design has consisted of the following matrix :

  • Mineral fertilization without FYM in arbitrary rotation with legumes on strongly acidic (Fields A1–3 & AF2–3) and slightly acidic soil (Field A6–8)
  • Mineral fertilization with FYM in arbitrary rotation without legumes on strongly acidic (Fields A4 & AF1) and slightly acidic soil (Field A5)
  • Mineral fertilization without FYM in arbitrary rotation with legumes on slightly acidic soil (Fields A9–11)
  • Mineral fertilization with FYM every 5 years in 5-course rotation (Fields E1–5)
  • Mineral fertilization only, FYM only or FYM with mineral fertilizers in monoculture of rye, potato (since 1923) and triticale (since 1990) (Fields D)

Mineral fertilizers under all fertilization and crop rotation systems are applied in comparable doses. At the beginning of the experiments, fertilizers were applied in following doses: 30 kg N ha-1, 30 kg P2O5 ha-1 and 30 kg K2O ha-1.

Available data

A database of the results of experiments conducted in previous years, such as yields, other parameters needed to calculate C and N balances and weather conditions are available.

Relevant publications
  • Mercik S. (1992). Results of 70-years continuous fertilization experiments in Skierniewice as a contribution to modern fertilization. Dauerfeldfersuche und Nahrstoffdynamik. Bad Lauchstadt, 32–35.
  • Mercik S. (1993). Seventy years of fertilizing experiments in Skierniewice. Proceedings of the International Symposium Long term static fertilizer experiments, Warszawa-Kraków, 31–55
  • Mercik S. (1997). Long-term static fertilizer experiments in Skierniewice. Date began: 1923. GC TE. Global Change and Terrestatic Ekosystem. Report No 7, Wallingford UK, 108–113
  • Maciejewska A. and Stępień W. (1998). Effect of brown coal on some soil properties, crop yield and its quality. Zeszyty Problemowe Postępów Nauk Rolniczych, 455, 133–140. (in Polish)
  • Weigel A., Klimanek EE. M., Körschens M. and Mercik S. (1998). Investigation on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in different long-term experiments by means of biological soil properties. Carbon Segustration in Soil, CRC/Levis Publishers, 335–344.
  • Weigel A., Klimanek E.M., Körschens M. and Mercik S. (1998). Wechselwirkungen zwiischen Physikalischen und Biologischen Bodeneigenschaften in abhängigkeit von der dungung. Dauerfeldversuche als Forschungsbasis für nachthaltige Landwirtschaft. Fagungs material Internatuional Tagung, II, 11–18. (in German)
  • Blake L., Mercik S. and Körschens M. (1999). Potassium content in soil uptake by plants and the potassium balance in three European long-term field experiments. Plant and Soil, 216, 1–14
  • Weigel A., Russel S., Mercik S., Körschens M., Kubat J. and Poolson, W.S. (1999). Biomass and its biological activity in relation to the soil carbon content in long-term fertilization experiments from four European countries. Zeszyty Problemowe Postępów Nauk Rolniczych, 465, 505–515
  • Blake L,. Mercik S., Körschens M., Moskal S., Poulton P.P., Goulding K.W.T., Weigel A. and Powlson D.S. (2000). Phosphorus content in soil, uptake by plants and balance in three European long-term field experiments. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 56, 263–275
  • Sosulski T., Szara E., Stępień W. and Szymańska M. (2014). Nitrous oxide emissions from the soil under different fertilization systems on a long-term experiment. Plant Soil Environment, 60, 11, 481–488
Research opportunities and additional information

Fields belong to the Station founded in 1921, covering an area of 27,83 ha, including 25 ha of arable land. The arable land is managed as follows:

  • 5 ha of field experiments conducted in static system since 1921 (Fields A, D and E) to evaluate effect of varied fertilization on crops and environment in different crop rotation systems
  • 2 ha of field experiments conducted over 20 years to evaluate action of phosphorus and potassium depending on soil pH value and nutrients availability
  • 3 ha of field experiments with fertilizing use of different organic waste (compost Dano, wort)
  • 1,2 ha of energy crops collection of the Department of Plant Physiology (Fields R IIIa–b)
  • 13,8 ha of production fields (Fields B, C & R IV–VI)
  • The Meteorological Station of the Experimental Station in Skierniewice was founded in 1921 and is the oldest facility of this type in Poland. Nowadays it belongs to the synoptic station network of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management in Poland and is used for short- and long-term forecasting.


Partner Organisations