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Tuesday, July 10, 2007 

Mutton Mowers

I "sheepishly" submit to "ewe" this story.

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.

...But just how do you teach sheep?

It's not as tough as you might think, says Doran, who thinks sheep are unfairly maligned as wooly minded creatures. They may not be the brightest lights around, but "they're very good at what they do," he says.

What they do is eat -- all day, every day.

...Interestingly, it seems sheep may have discriminating palates. The untrained sheep largely left alone a red grape called aglianico but appeared to be big fans of chardonnay. - AP

Big fans of the Chard, eh? Well...guess they might not be doing alot of "mowing" here in Santa Barbara County.

To see these wooly wonders in action, there is a video. HERE.

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