Integration of Intensive Sheep Grazing with a Vineyard/Orchard Operation
Enterprise diversity and value-added products give producers more options to improve their farm economy, without sacrificing environmental quality and agricultural sustainability.
Objectives: 1) To determine if a rotational grazing system with sheep can coexist and support a vineyard and orchard, and 2) to determine if sustainable agricultural operations and environmentally positive management can increase profitability.
The producer established five acres of a dispersed trellis system within a permanent pasture. The trellis was modified to discourage grazing of the grape leaves. These modifications included raising the lowest wire to four feet above ground, training vines to grow up to this height before spreading out, encasing the new-growth in transparent plastic and positioning electric wires around the young vines.
Approximately 467 vines were established on one-third of the system. Each third will be established in a new year.
Results: 100% of two vine cultivars took root. For Frontenac, there was no winter kill loss, although grazing damaged 10-15%. Disease loss equaled 20%. For Foch, winter kill loss was 36% and disease loss was 0%.
The project was extended one year to collect data on older vines and new cultivars.