'Babydoll' sheep to reduce emissions at vineyard
Since Yealands Estate launched in August 2008, Peter Yealand has experimented with a range of alternatives to traditional tractor mowing. It began with regular sheep but unfortunately they developed a taste for the grapes. Peter’s second idea was to use guinea pigs, although this proved unviable on a commercial scale.
His latest idea is one Peter is convinced will have major environmental benefits and because babydoll sheep only reach a diminutive 45–60 centimetres tall when fully grown, they are no threat to the grapes.
The newest arrivals are being grazed amongst 125 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines that will be grown organically and they are attracting interest from local and international winegrowers.
Peter plans to cross-breed the babydoll sheep with Saxon merino and grow the flock to 10,000. This will provide additional opportunities in the textile industry as babydoll wool is fine and has a high lustre. There’s also the potential to sell niche cuts of meat to restaurants.
The second and third deliveries of sheep are due by October this year and it is believed it will be the only flock of babydoll sheep in New Zealand.
This latest initiative follows a series of accolades for the winery’s sustainability platform. In April it received carboNZero certification and in May it won the SME Business Award at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Awards.
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