WHY CO-GRAZING SHEEP AND CATTLE CAN BE A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN
QWe are thinking of introducing sheep to our holding, where we already have four Aberdeen Angus cattle. Is it OK to graze sheep and cattle together? Are there any diseases that can spread between cattle and sheep?
ACharlotte Mouland says: Sheep and cattle can complement each other quite nicely on a smallholding and if there is enough grazing available to introduce a paddock rotation system, this would be ideal. Sheep and cattle harbour different species of gut worms so can ‘hoover up’ some of each other’s parasites quite effectively.
Co-grazing sheep and cattle is generally not a problem, but they do have different grazing preferences. Sheep prefer to nibble on shorter sward lengths, ideally 8-10cm, whereas cattle need to wrap their tongues around the grass stems and so prefer longer swards, more like 12-15cm. There are some diseases that can be spread from cattle and sheep, including Johnes, BVD, Leptospirosis and Malignant Catarrhal Fever, and therefore having a rotational grazing system may help to reduce the risk of transmitting these diseases. Chat to your vet for more information on this.
Cattle and sheep have different grazing preferences