Rare Breed(s): Shropshire
Philip Marriott is a newcomer to the sheep breeding world. The property is a 5000 tree-strong cherry and lemon orchard in the Adelaide Hills. Marriott Cherries is in the process of organic certification. They run Shropshire sheep in the orchard to manage the pasture between the trees. Shropshire sheep are tree-friendly.
Marriott Cherries has been running for nine years, originally a commercial operation with an emphasis on large, firm, blemish-free fruit with a long shelf-life. Achieving this required a lot of spraying of foliar fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides along with the strict observation of withholding periods for the various chemicals.
Around 2012 the amount of spraying in the orchard was reduced, now to the point where no spraying occurs. The orchard is much less productive and there are a number of challenges to overcome. But the orchard is a much friendlier and pleasant place to be. The orchard will be certified organic at the end of this 2016 with expectations that the higher cherry prices will help to offset the productivity loss.
Shropshire sheep are a tree friendly animal that does not debark the trees. Also, due to their smaller stature, they cannot reach the leaves as high as others might. Since putting sheep in the orchard in 2015, Philip has continued to change the way he manages the property. Philip says that while the Shrops will eat the leaves he has pruned, they do not seem interested in the leaves while there is other fodder for them. The orchard is no longer a place of "fruit production at any cost" but instead also a home to the sheep, geese, and ducks who work in it.
Philip has sold Shropshire sheep to other orchards. He would also enjoy selling the wool to fibre enthusiasts.
Fleece - white (unwashed and washed)
Rams or ewes
Montacute, SA 5134
+61 418 826 207 (mobile)