If there was ever any question about the efficacy and efficiency of sheep in vineyard management, we think this photo sums it up quite clearly. Pictured above, is a vineyard row divided by a fence at the edge of a 2 acre vineyard block in which a group of Sheep were contained. The sheep eat grasses, weeds and other vegetation, offsetting the use of tractors and other farming equipment in the vineyard. The sheep are sequestered in one several-acre area like this for a few days and then rotated to a new vineyard block, ensuring we end up with a nice neat block chewed down to an even height. On the left, we have the evidence of a job well done by our mini-lawnmower friends, and on the right, a block yet to be visited by these extremely efficient farm animals.
Over the last couple of weeks King Estate welcomed 1,500 mini lawn mowers to our 1,033 acre certified organic property. The borrowed sheep quickly eat overgrown grasses and weeds in our vineyard so we don’t have to run our mechanical lawn mowers and weeding equipment, which saves fuel, time, and money. The sheep get free organic food at our all you can eat buffet and add a certain charm to the estate. These furry visitors can only do their job in the early spring before bud break entices them to munch on vines instead of the mustard flowers and knee deep grass. This is our third year bringing in sheep to offset the use of tractors and other machinery that run on fossil fuels, 1,500 sheep is almost three times as many as we have ever had on the property at once. Check out the video above featuring Vineyard Manager Meliton Martinez and the photos below to see the first 700 sheep arrive.
Yesterday afternoon marked the return of some of our favorite little farm workers. Sheep are naturally gifted when it comes to weeding, mowing, watering, and fertilizing.
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.