Grazing for Nature

POSTED BY: Jane Cooper


Mid-Summer in Orkney is the season that explodes with plant growth.

At Burnside on Orkney mainland the sheep are managed with tall grass holistic mob grazing. This allows the multitude of grass species and wild flowers to grow tall, flower and set seed while providing safe habitats for so many wildlife species.

Grazing for Nature — Orkney Boreray sheep grazing
Orkney Boreray sheep grazing

The sheep relish the frequent moves to new grazing areas and the richness and variety in their grazing on the species-rich meadows. Sitting among the tall grasses and observing them reveals the taste preferences of individual sheep as they hunt out their favourite plants when they first enter a new grazing area.

The flowering grasses too reveal, even to the non-expert, the many different species of grass to be found on our land, and here too the grazing reveals that the sheep have favourite species.

The sheep move across the land in a controlled imitation of wild grazing herds, eating, dunging and trampling, improving the composition of the soil and the diversity of life within it.

— Jane