Livestock grazing management in Barossa vineyards

BIGG received a Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges 2014-15 Community Action Grant to conduct the project, ‘Livestock grazing management in Barossa vineyards’. The project was conducted in association with Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA). It consisted of a survey of BGWA grower members to determine the benefits and barriers to adoption of grazing in vineyards, and a focus group to verify the survey results.

The project determined that the key reasons why BGWA growers graze livestock in their vineyards is: weed control, reduce chemical use/costs, reduce other input (machinery/fuel/labour) costs and to utilise feed. To successfully graze livestock in vineyards the key criteria were: conduct rotational grazing, manage the timing of grazing and ensure good fencing.

Of the growers that participated in the survey who are not intending to graze livestock in the vineyards their key reasons were: lack of/need to upgrade fencing, soil compaction and the need for sheep management. These factors were also identified as some of the common knowledge gaps.

The project also highlighted the differences in opinions that growers have about soil compaction being caused by grazing in vineyards compared to machinery. In addition, there is scope for BGWA growers to agist sheep in their vineyards if they don’t own them.