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Home World VIDEO. Sheep to weed Strasbourg?

VIDEO. Sheep to weed Strasbourg?

Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg on April 23, 2019. – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

  • The SNCF is experimenting with eco-grazing along its tracks, near the station, with about twenty Solognotes sheep well supervised by an itinerant shepherd of the company Ecozoone.
  • In an area of ​​more than 4,000 m2, about twenty sheep are working to clear the area, graze the grass and invasive plants like the Japanese Knotweed.
  • The experiment is expected to last three weeks and other locations are under consideration.

Sheep on the immediate edge of downtown, grazing peacefully. Stuck between the railroad track, a bike path and the exit of the highway, the twenty animals of itinerant shepherd Vincent Fruleux does not seem to be bothered by the traffic, the blows of alarms. Endlessly, animals graze the grass and an invasive plant, the
knotted from Japan.

And it is a Lille shepherd, present day and night on the site, which has been installed on the land of Strasbourg for a few days. The company Ecozoone specialized in "urban eco-grazing" was chosen by the SNCF "while waiting to find local partners on other projects of the agglomeration, still under study," says it.

The future turned to eco-grazing?

"This experiment makes it possible to fight against Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant, without using chemical products or mechanical solutions," explains Pierre Merton, director of the SNCF infrastructure facility. We are looking for variants and ecopasturing, tried elsewhere, adapts to this kind of terrain, configuration. But we can not do it everywhere, warns the management. We are dependent on biotopes. "

Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg, April 23, 2019.
Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg 23 April 2019. – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

"Each type of grass, plant, configuration of the place requires adapted animals, says the shepherd Vincent Frileux. Sometimes you need goats, some donkeys, some cows. It also depends on the nature of the soil. "

For the SNCF, if "it allows to create the social link, to have a visual impact, to avoid bleaching in urban areas after weeding or to access hard-to-access areas for machines or machines. workers ", this allows" to guarantee the safety of railway traffic by avoiding excessive vegetation.

Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg, April 23, 2019.
Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg 23 April 2019. – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

"We must avoid the proliferation of invasive grass embankments, ways, trees fall on the way," says Pierre Merton. And this is not trivial. Each year, 4 million euros are devoted to clearing the entire network, 8% of the total budget of all rail infrastructure valued at 50 million euros. For the moment, this practice, not yet generalized, remains more expensive with a cost of 1.5 euro per m2 against 0.50 m2 for conventional weeding. But the generalization of this practice could eventually lead to better prices, SNCF hopes.

Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg, April 23, 2019.
Sheep near the Place d'Haguenau in Strasbourg or eco-grazing, an alternative solution for weeding. Strasbourg 23 April 2019. – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

Meanwhile, twenty animals, spread over the 4,000 m2 around the Place de Haguenau, seems comfortable and does not give too much trouble to Malbak, Border Collar dog shepherd and intrigue passersby where cyclists who do not fail to stop, to contemplate these scenes of lives. Like a country air.

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