Grazing: A Cleaner Way to Clear Fields
Last spring, from the comfort of their back patio, landowners Susan and Scott Hall watched as 150 Shetland Sheep nibbled through weeds, willows, and dormant alfalfa. The wooly weed eaters efficiently cleared fields, irrigation canals, and wastewater ditches. Meanwhile, they aerated the ground and left behind manure that built organic matter in the soil and fed organisms that broke down minerals for easy plant access.
The sheep belonged to Jared Lloyd, who brought them down from Collbran to feed on valley fields. He says grass-finished meats from healthy, grazed soil are best, both nutritionally and ecologically. High-intensity, short-duration grazing is key. Lloyd used portable electric fences, moving his flocks into a new rotation when forage was grazed to the ideal level.
For their part, the Halls appreciated that the sheep cleared crop residue and unwanted plants from their land. Grazing is less dangerous and impactful than burning, and grazed fields retain and capture more moisture for improved soil and visibly healthier vegetation. For Lloyd, the Halls, and the flock — it was a win-win arrangement all around.