While I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, I’ve long been a sheep fan. I also like the idea of researchers trying to find alternatives to pesticides which are often made from oil or oil derivatives.
That’s why today’s fluff in the Chicago Tribune made my heart hop higher – it combines sheep, pesticides and wine in one wild and wooly weed-a-thon.
Call them mutton mowers. University researchers are training sheep to clean up vineyard weeds but stay off the grapes.
Enthusiastic and unpicky eaters, sheep are already being used in some vineyards as a green alternative to tractors. They don’t use gasoline and keep down weeds — a necessary task to deter pests and keep vines healthy — sans herbicides.
Unfortunately, sheep will chew up thousands of dollars worth of grapes if left to their own devices.
That’s why University of California, Davis researcher Morgan Doran and his colleagues are experimenting with aversion therapy and other techniques to turn sheep into better field hands.
For those looking to expand the franchise will find that others have preceded them. According to the article Wooly Weeders, a Colorado based company uses lambs and *gasp* sheepdogs to keep those pesky weeds down and the sheep peaceful.
I, for one, am counting on this technology to help reduce global warming and improve sheep-human relations.
Because we all know that the sheep are really an alien race simply biding their time until a UFO comes and takes them home. But you knew that right?