Over the past 30 years, Shropshire sheep have established an impressive track record as the “tree friendly” breed, able to graze within plantations and orchards without damaging the trees.
This environmentally friendly method of herbage control was first pioneered in conifer plantations in northern Europe, where Shropshire sheep are now relatively widespread.
The use of Shropshires in top fruit orchards, vineyards and other types of deciduous plantation has also been developed successfully by growers in many different countries.
Tree growers using Shropshires are finding many benefits, such as scab control, rodent reduction and the provision of manure as a fertilizer. All these gains are achieved alongside the important reduction in the need to mow herbage, or to control it by using herbicide sprays.
In this era of climate change, where tree planting is one of the most effective ways of capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere, systems of agroforestry are likely to become ever more important. The use of Shropshires looks set to increase as we learn more about the benefits of integrating trees within agricultural systems.
Management of Shropshires in Tree Plantations or Orchards
Certain management guidelines must be followed if Shropshire sheep are to be used successfully in plantations. The SSBA has available a useful practical guide to assist tree growers, available as a digital download free of charge.
The third edition of “Two Crops From One Acre” was produced with the help of innovative growers and contains much new advice about how to manage Shropshires in a range of different tree plantation scenarios.
To download Two Crops From One Acre Click here.
Paper copies are also available from the breed society for a small fee. Please contact the Secretary for more information.