This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
around the world are using new methods to grow grapes to make wine. These
include natural and organic methods to control harmful insects and weeds
instead of using chemicals. Now, a winery in Canada has imported a natural way
to control its grapevines.
Featherstone Winery is in southern Ontario. It has eight hectares of perfect
rows of grapevines. The vines, like other plants, need to be pruned every year.
general, dead or living parts of plants need to be removed to improve the shape
or growth of the plant. Pruning grapevines must be done very carefully. Only a
targeted area of leaves is removed from the lower part of the vines to help the
grapes grow better.
at the Featherstone Winery, no man or machine does the pruning. Instead, the
job is done by forty cute, little wooly lambs.
Johnson owns the vineyard. He says he learned about using lambs while visiting
wineries in New Zealand.
Mister Johnson says the young lambs are
perfectly designed to do the job. They eat the grape leaves on the lower parts
of the vine. But they are not tall enough to reach the grapes.
They only weigh about twenty-two
kilos, so they do not beat down the soil. And their waste makes good organic
fertilizer. In addition, using the lambs costs much less than hiring workers to
prune the vines for seven weeks in the summer.
And when the pruning is done in August,
the lambs -- well, you might not want to know this part. They become lamb
chops. Tasty ones, says David Johnson.
says he had a difficult time finding enough lambs to do the job. There are
about fifty million lambs in New Zealand. But there are not nearly as many in
Ontario. Also, even some organic pesticides are harmful to lambs. And the lambs
must be supervised so they do not prune too much.
David Johnson says the lambs carry out his
environmental ideas about farming. He says the lambs are lovely and peaceful
and he likes having them in his vineyard. People visiting the vineyard also
enjoy watching the lambs do their job.
And that's the VOA
Special English Agriculture Report. It was produced by Joyce Kryszak with
support from the Park Foundation and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley
Foundation. You can hear more stories and subscribe to the daily podcast at
environmentreport.org. And you can find more of our Agriculture Reports at
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Mario Ritter.