As part of its ongoing sustainability and animal wellbeing strategy, The Blenheim Estate is introducing mob grazing.
The estate have decided mob grazing is a more sustainable way to manage its 1,000 strong flock of Scotch Mule and Cheviot sheep.
The practice emulates how animals flock and feed in the wild, grazing down the sward equally, and means they eat the most nutritious top third of the plants and trample the less nutritious stalks onto the ground, helping to enrich the soil quality.
This new practice will see mobile electric fencing replace the 2,000-acre estate wooden fencing via a partnership with Rappa Fencing. The new fencing system allows sheep to move to specific new grazing areas quicker and more easily.
A major upgrade of its sheep farming facilities, the transformation forms part of the Estate’s ambitious land strategy that looks at innovative ways to move towards more sustainable farming practices.
The Estate’s sheep lamb later than many farms because they are reared entirely on grass within the parkland, keeping them as naturally healthy as possible. Blenheim
Estate allows its sheep to give birth outdoors, in order to give the lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need, making it vitally important that they remain safe and protected from interference from dogs..
“We took the decision to do away with all the old permanent fencing and instead use a mobile system which allows us to be much more flexible,” said Blenheim Estate Shepherd Tom Locke.
“Due to the number of sheep we have here and the fact that electric fencing will enable us to move to more sustainable practices, we needed to invest in equipment to help speed up work on the fencing, the most labour intensive aspect of mob grazing.
“The Rappa ATV Winder has made picking up and putting down fences twice as quick as before as everything is so user friendly and close to hand while you are doing the job. The kit is very robust and a cost-effective way of giving our shepherds more time to focus on looking after the sheep.”