Sheep put to use at vineyard

Last updated 11:42 22/01/2014
vineyard sheep
Mytchall Bransgrove

KEEPING BUSY: Brenda and Colin Lyon check up on their Perendale ewes in their pinot gris vineyard.

Relevant offers


Fitting together the jigsaw of wastewater, horses and sheep Ballance Taranaki Farm Environment Awards will go ahead in 2017 Marlborough plougher lifts his performance at world events Intense hail storm blitzes Motueka kiwifruit orchard Berry successful Bay business owner in line for rural women award Hail-hit Tasman growers wait to discover extent of damage from storms Tasman fruit growers count cost of heavy hailstorm Zespri marketers make inroads in Europe Conventional wine growers move to more environmentally benign methods to manage weeds Left-over contaminated fodder beet seed a risk for farmers

An innovative method of using sheep under the grape vines to achieve the annual task of leaf plucking is being used with success by Colin and Brenda Lyon, of Opihi Vineyard, Pleasant Point.

The small flock of 55 two-tooth perendale-cross ewes arrived at the vineyard last week and immediately got down to the work of plucking (and eating) the bottom leaves off the vines and cleaning up any grass between the rows.

Leaf plucking is usually done by human hands, but the sheep are certainly proving they are up to the job, Mr Lyon says.

"I was a bit worried at first that they would vary their diet and eat the berries [small grapes] as well," he said. "But they don't appear to have any bad habits and the first block of vines looks great."

The idea of having sheep under the vines has been used successfully by growers in Hawke's Bay, according to Mr Lyon.

"This is the first time we have tried the sheep and it is certainly proving successful.

"Our vineyard is quite small, about 5.6 hectares, and we estimate the sheep will be here for less than a month."

Leaf plucking takes the leaves away from the fruit to improve air circulation and help prevent fungal diseases.

The Lyons grow a variety of grapes including pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and muller thurgau. The grapes are handpicked and about 1000 cases are produced each vintage.

Ad Feedback

- The Timaru Herald

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content