Sheep in our organic vineyard for mowing and weeding

April 03 2009

We currently have 552 sheep grazing on the property, weeding, mowing, and of course they do a bit of fertilizing and watering as well. There is a wide range of breeds but they are mainly Suffolk Sheep and there are about 133 lambs in the flock. The shepherd’s name is Cody and he has a helper named Gus, a Great Pyrenees, who helps him herd and protect the sheep.

Cody sets up a mobile fence around a block of about 8-10 acres and the sheep stay in that area for the whole day. They move to a new 8-10 acre block the next morning. It’s important to keep the sheep in that same limited area for the whole day so that they graze everything evenly, otherwise they would just find the food they like the best and leave behind the rest.

There are many benefits to using the sheep to do this, but by bud break we will know exactly how productive and efficient this is and how the costs stack up against tractor farming. Obviously the sheep greatly reduce our carbon emissions and save hundreds or thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and cut down on the expense of maintaining tractor equipment. Most of these sheep are about 6 months to 1 year old.

This is yet another chapter in the story of King Estate and sustainable/organic farming.