Loddington and Interreg
Our commitment to the Game and Wildife Conservation Trust continues, with three projects receiving support from Kings: The Allerton Project, Loddington; the Auchnerran Demonstration Farm in Aberdeenshire and the Balgonie grey partridge project in Fife.
Both Balgonie and Loddington are seeing specific developments within their role as Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE demonstration sites. PARTRIDGE (Protecting the Area’s Resources Through Researched Innovative Demonstration of Good Examples) is one of 11 new projects which were approved recently by the Interreg North Sea Region. The programme aims to make the region more innovative, resilient and sustainable, demonstrating how new management solutions can improve biodiversity and ecosystem services by up to 30% between 2014-2020.
Game and wildlife habitat
Previous work at Loddington, which utilised Kings Autumn Sown Wild Bird Seed mixtures, had delivered many benefits for both game and farmland wildlife, through brood rearing habitat, pollinator services and winter feed/ cover. Austin Weldon, Game and Wildlife Advisor, Central England, is shoot manager at Loddington and commented, “We are very grateful of the support Kings provide to the Allerton Project. The quality of their products, combined with their after sales care and advice has enabled The Allerton Trust to deliver multipurpose habitats which boost biodiversity on the farm.” Dr Dave Parish also praised the collaborative work with Kings: “We are extremely grateful to Alan Johnson of Kings for his input to our project at Balgonie to date. With his help, we developed a great new grey partridge mix for the PARTRIDGE project. Although it is still early days, this seems to have already been well used by the birds through the summer. With some minor tweaks, we think it will be even better in 2018.” With input from the GWCT and Interreg team, a range of additional species such as perennial rye and sweet fennel have been introduced to enable the investigation of their long term performance.
Overwinter establishment has been very succesful at both locations, so we collectively look forward to seeing the crops develop this year.
Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs)
At Loddington, additional work has been undertaken to demonstrate best practice for the selection and ongoing wealth of options that meet the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) fallow option. A whole field has been allocated for the trial, with wild bird seed, green cover and pollinator options being compared against a ‘control’ area of uncultivated stubble. This has already provided great interest at a range of open days and we will collectively continue to monitor developments from both a soil/water perspective and outcomes for wider farmland wildlife.