1st February 2010 – Is Farming Sustainable?

Dr Alastair Leake MRPPA ARAgS MIAgrM CEnv from The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Project Head of The Allerton Project, will talk to us about farming and the pressures on farming today.

Alistair describes his topic: “The Allerton Project is 333 hectares of clay soil (Hanslope and Denchworth series) and is a mixed arable and livestock business. Crops grown are primarily winter wheat, oilseed rape, winter oats and spring beans. The pasture land is grazed by a flock of 280 mule ewes and, through a grazing agreement with our neighbour, a South Devon suckler herd. In order to spread fixed costs, the arable side of the farm has also been managed in collaboration with the neighbouring farm since 2001 when minimum tillage was adopted across the combined area.”

“Wheat and oat crops are grown to an environmental standard and sold at a premium as Conservation Grade. Farm staff are also involved in conservation work through management of habitats, both in the farmed area and in woodland and other non-cropped habitats. Much of this work has taken place at Loddington and in Sussex where we have recently compared the relationships between pesticide use and invertebrate abundance. They have a wide-ranging research programme in collaboration with universities and other research organisations from across the country.”

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