Preschedules – the plan for the experiment

Within the manual Protocols for experimental plot sampling, handling and processing of cereals in field experiments(external link) by G.J. Rebetzke (, A. van Herwaarden, B. Biddulph, C. Moeller, R. Richards, A. Rattey and K. Chenu.

Field experiments are commonly very large and resource intensive. Development of a planning document or -Preschedule’ is recommended for reporting the experiment aims, design and measurements in advance of the experiment being sown (Fig. 4). Management of the experiment (e.g. irrigation, nutrition, fungicides etc.) is included for the benefit of the farm manager or those responsible for managing and maintaining the quality of the experiment. The approximate timing of measurements is a critical feature of a good preschedule. Reporting in advance will often identify those resources required and particularly those times during the season when staff need allocating for sampling. This will aid in managing staff requirements especially when many experiments are planned and run concurrently.

Ultimately, a good preschedule should act as a recipe in providing all the information necessary to undertake the experiment. This document can be included on-file and be available if ever the scientist is unavailable and others take on responsibility for the experiment.

 - File

Figure 4. Example of a preschedule containing basic planning and management information for a proposed experiment (Source A. Peake).

Other resources

Appendix 1.(external link) Text description of phenological scale, Zadoks decimal code (DC).
Appendix 2.(external link) Picture description of phenological scale, Zadoks decimal code (DC).
Zadoks JC, Chang TT, Konzak CF (1974) A decimal code for the growth stages of cereals. Weed Research 14(6),415-421. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3180.1974.tb01084.x

Notes and troubleshooting tips


Download complete manual: Protocols for cereal field experiments_Nov2012.pdf

Health, safety & hazardous waste disposal considerations


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