Sustainable intensification of farming involves simultaneously increasing farm output and competitiveness, whilst protecting the countryside and enhancing the environment. The Sustainable Intensification Research Platform is a Defra-funded multi-partner research programme comprising farmers, industry experts, academia, environmental organisations, policymakers and other stakeholders.
The Allerton Project is one of five research and demonstration farms, and one of three with associated landscape-scale projects, which form the national network. We are contributing at both the farm and landscape scales.
Cover crops are stimulating considerable interest within the farming community, but the costs and benefits are poorly understood, especially on the clay soils that typify much of lowland England. As our main contribution to the SIP, we are experimentally testing a number of mixes and species for their effects on soil physical, chemical and biological properties, and on farm economics.
Sward minerals and livestock
Once the basic needs of grass-fed livestock are met, variation between fields in the availability of sward minerals can significantly affect growth rates. Improved knowledge of mineral availability to stock can inform decisions about supplementation and stocking of individual fields. The University of Nottingham is carrying out research into sward minerals and lamb liveweight gain in fields at and adjacent to Loddington.
Within our Water Friendly Farming project, we are working with farmers in one of the two ‘treatment’ catchments to learn more about the issues associated with improving water quality at the catchment scale.