NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Blackface sheep winning giant hogweed battle

A pilot project which saw sheep being tested as a new weapon in the battle against giant hogweed is being rolled out, BBC Scotland can reveal.

The plant spreads at aggressive rates and its sap can cause painful burns on the skin and even lead to blindness.

The project in an area beside the Deveron River in Aberdeenshire saw blackface sheep used as an alternative to chemical spraying.

The flock successfully grazed its way through a jungle of hogweed.

The skin pigmentation of the blackface sheep gives them protection from the toxic plant.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) funded what was described as "promising" research.

The sheep will now be deployed in other areas in Aberdeenshire with giant hogweed problems.

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