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A new edition of Two Crops from One Acre, the comprehensive guide to managing Shropshire sheep in orchards, conifers and other types of plantation, is to be officially launched at the NSA Sheep South West event, near Tiverton on June 20.

The updated publication has been produced by the Shropshire Sheep Breeders’ Association with the help of a number of innovative growers.

It replaces the previous edition, published in 2008, and contains much new advice about how to use Shropshires in a range of different deciduous trees.

It also explains how Shropshires can be used safely in vineyards and commercial lavender fields.

Pippa Geddes, a Shropshire sheep breeder who helped to produce the new booklet, said: "Over the past thirty years, Shropshire sheep have become well known as the ‘tree friendly’ breed, but to begin with they were used just in conifer plantations.

"A trial conducted at Lake Constance fruit growing research centre in Germany during 2006 showed that Shropshires also had potential to graze safely in semi dwarf apple orchards, without causing serious damage to the trees.

“Since then, the breed has been used by many different commercial fruit growers and the breed society has gathered information from them about how best to manage the sheep in a range of scenarios.

"Quite a lot of the information comes from overseas.

"Since 2008, around 1,250 Shropshires have been exported to Europe, mainly to France, for grazing in tree plantations. Shropshires are also being used successfully in small cherry trees and lemon groves in Australia, and in the UK they have been used successfully in cider orchards and lavender fields.”

Shropshires continue to be used by Christmas tree growers, and the new “Two Crops” booklet also contains well-established advice about how to manage them in conifers.

Pippa continues: “Our booklet has been endorsed by Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, and Liz Bowles, head of farming at The Soil Association, who both point out that use of Shropshire sheep is an effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling the herbage between trees.”

Copies of the 48-page colour booklet will be available at Sheep South West for £1 each.

They can also be purchased from the SSBA for £1.50, which includes postage and packing.