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Sheep trials at Argadens

March 2019:  While visiting a vineyard in the Dordogne, our technical team saw how effective a flock of sheep can be when it comes to tending a vineyard. Always in search of the best solution to reduce the impact of grass in the vine rows, Fabien and his team were won over by the idea of eco-grazing.
"Additional” grazing, as it is known, is a means of exploiting the fodder resources provided by orchards, vines, winter cover crops, cereal crops, woodland and so on, thanks to the ewes. All this farmed or abandoned land represents additional food resources for these animals.
This practice offers existing sheep farms a possible solution for developing their flocks and increasing their surface area for grazing. It also represents a good alternative to the use phytopharmaceutical products, helping to conserve soil and water quality.
This method can further be seen as an opportunity to combat the overgrowth of the landscape and help breathe new life into rural areas by building links between the different actors and users.
But plenty of questions remain. Should we have our own flock, or work with a shepherd with no land of their own? How to manage the flock at the critical times of budburst and ripening grapes?  And what about foxes and stray dogs – how to ensure the safety of the flock?

Enthusiastic about the idea, but aware of the constraints of a project of this kind, we decided to do an initial trial on a few parcels to measure the agronomical advantages, the agricultural and ecological impact and the economic interest of this method of working at Château Argadens. Watch this space…