Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team

Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team brings you the latest in science and research for the wine industry. This on-the-go, sustainable farming educational resource provides in-depth technical information on topics like integrated pest management, fruit quality, water conservation, and nutrient management from experts like Dr. Mark Fuchs of Cornell University, Dr. Michelle Moyer of Washington State University, Cooperative Extension Specialists, veteran growers, and more. Our podcasts will help you make smarter, sustainable vineyard management decisions to increase efficiency, conserve resources, and maximize fruit quality.

May 6, 2021

Using sheep to graze vineyards has many benefits including lowering the carbon footprint, fewer tractor passes, and reduced herbicide use. Kelsey Brewer, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California at Davis has been researching how these living lawnmowers impact nutrient and energy flows in the eco system.

When tractors were replaced by sheep, the research team found that vineyards had 1.3 times more organic matter and nitrogen plus twice as much available soil nitrogen in the soil. Grazed vineyards have very high microbial activity, improved infiltration, and porosity. Of course, sheep are not a good fit for every vineyard system. Their benefits are not seen in ranches where heavy tillage is still used. While a manager could establish their own flock, most grazing is contracted with experienced professionals who can intensively and efficiently graze in vineyard.