Allerton Project (UK)The Allerton Project is a 333ha research and demonstration farm in central England and was established in 1992. The farm and local landscape have undulating topography, clay soils, and mixed arable and livestock farming systems.
The farm at Loddington is mainly arable, including wheat, oilseed rape, oats and field beans. The farm has made a gradual transition from a plough-based system to zero-tillage over the past 15 years. Pasture is grazed by sheep. Allerton Project research covers a wide range of agri-environmental issues, including plot and landscape scale experiments, especially relating to farmland ecology, soil and catchment management. The project has an eco-build visitor centre which receives about 3,000 visitors each year.
Game management has been a strong theme from the start of the project in 1992 which served as a baseline for future monitoring. A wild game management system was introduced in 1993, including habitat creation and management, legal control of nest predators, and provision of supplementary food in winter. Predator control and winter feeding were withdrawn as part of the research programme between 2001 and 2011. Since then the farm has been managed to provide a reared pheasant shoot.
Habitat management includes woodland and hedge planting and management, grass field margins and beetle banks, wild bird seed mixtures, and pollen and nectar mixtures.
Gamebirds, brown hares and songbird numbers have been monitored since 1992, providing a valuable historical context for the PARTRIDGE project. Grey partridge numbers are relatively low, breeding successfully in some years. Hare and songbird numbers have fluctuated according to the management regime being adopted.
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- PARTRIDGE partners meet at Loddington with farmers from Europe
- The UK’s Secretary of State Michael Gove, visits the NSR PARTRIDGE demo site at Loddington