Plant breeders and educators working with the International Potato Center (CIP) needed freely available statistical tools. In response, we created first a set of scripts for specific tasks using the open source statistical software R. Based on this we eventually compiled the R package agricolae as it covered a niche. Here we describe for the first time its main functions in the form of an article. We also review its reception using download statistics, citation data, and feedback from a user survey. We highlight usage in our extended network of collaborators. The package has found applications beyond agriculture in fields like aquaculture, ecology, biodiversity, conservation biology and cancer research. In summary, the package agricolae is a well established statistical toolbox based on R with a broad range of applications in design and analyses of experiments also in the wider biological community.