Conservation grazing

Those of a dark green persuasion don’t like animals out of their natural habitat, but they can be used for conservation grazing:

In England, the group Action for the River Kennet are using sheep and cows instead of lawnmowers.

There are three Wiltshire Horn sheep in the meadow, close to Waitrose car park, which were put to a Hampshire ram and produced five lambs.

Charlotte Hitchmough, director of ARK, said: “Previously the town council would mow the grass and leave the cuttings to rot down so stronger plants like stinging nettles, which we would consider to be weeds, would thrive.

“The sheep are being used for conservation grazing, which changes the vegetation and makes the land look prettier with more flowers.”

In 2009, Belted Galloway cattle were introduced to graze in the meadow.

Ms Hitchmough said: “The way sheep graze is different to cows, they are neater over the surface.

“Cows tend to rip the grass up in clumps so they did a good job of getting up the core vegetation.

“The cows, Harriet and her calf Campanula, are now in the meadow at Stonebridge. We would like to have about four cows at Stonebridge because there’s a lot of grass for only two to eat.”

The sheep will stay in the meadow until the autumn and will spend winter at a farm in Minal.

Ms Hitchmough said: “We’ll make a decision whether to bring the sheep back or whether to use cows again. It’s taken us four years to see results and we’re happy. . .

Of course those of a dark green persuasion will be worried about the methane the animals produce.

Will that be greater or less than the emissions from lawnmowers which presumably were powered by fossil fuels?

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