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Hoggin' down the pastures...

 
Cody Crowder
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Guten morgen. We are currently working on making our lands the chief source of nutrients for our hogs. We have about fifty (and ever increasing) count herd of hogs that we have put on the lush pastures. We have been thinking about growing some crops to rejuvenate soils in the southern pastures where weeds have taken over tremendously as well as using those crops to feed our hogs come harvest. We're wondering if anyone has worked the land in ways similar. The plan is to companion plant either corn and field peas together or corn and red clover. I believe both of these options would work well because Red Clover is more adaptive to shade and obviously would fix nitrogen in the soil that those greedy corn stalks take up. Peas basically do the same thing and the corn stalks would act as trellising. Everything is good in theory, however. All insights welcome
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3662
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Cody, welcome to permies! Be sure to take some time and read all of the other threads under the pigs topic. Lots of info here.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Our pastures provide the vast majority of our pig's feed and we don't buy or feed commercial / grain based feeds. We have around four hundred pigs on pasture in northern Vermont. Our difference in climate from you will make a big difference in species selection for forages. We grow a lot of brassicas, cole crops, out in our pastures such as kale, rape, turnips, etc.

Clovers, including red clover, are a wonderful part of the species mix. They suck down free nitrogen fertilizer from the sky and improve the soils. We also have a wide variety of different grass species and millet out in our fields. Diversity is good. We have seeded in many species of clovers as well as other legumes like alfalfa. The red clover establishes quickly. Legumes are a bit particular about soil pH, liking the more neutral soil. Our soils started out very acidic but have been improving through the grazing. The animal manure and urine is fertilizing and improving the soil.

For us corn is not a good choice but I would grow it if I could. Our land is too thin, rocky, sloping and our growing season is short. It seems that five out of seven years our corn fails.

Sunflowers, sunchokes, mangels, beets, radishes and pumpkins are things we grow a lot of in our winter paddocks - areas of high fertility. These make good fall and food for the livestock.

We buy in winter hay which is a good source of imported nutrients for us, on top of what the plants are sucking down for CO2 and N from the sky.

See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs for more about our pigs's diet and how we do things.

Cheers,

-Walter
in Vermont
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 172
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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Definitely plant comfrey, all of it you can get. My hogs love it and will devour huge quantities of it. Don't worry if they root it up and eat the roots; they don't ever get it all, and root fragments get spread around even more.
 
Ben Walter
Posts: 92
Location: Deland, FL
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Lots of info here to make sure your feed is a complete ration.

Don't forget the sweet potatoes! The greens are high protein, the roots are high carb, and they can be ensiled. Good luck~
 
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