Why graze orchards with sheep?
Orchard grazing can offer financial and environmental benefits. The experience of stakeholders in the AGFORWARD project is that some lowland sheep breeds (e.g. Shropshire) can successfully graze on orchards which have been pruned to a height of 1-2 m without noticeable losses in apple yields. Sheep producers can profit from an additional source of grass in the orchards, and the release of grazed land for hay production. Orchard owners can profit from reduced mowing costs, increased nitrogen cycling and a rent from the sheep owner. There can also be societal benefits in terms of employment and plant biodiversity.