I have lurked for a while but it is time to make my first post. I am in need of everyone's help to figure out how to put together a managed intensive grazing pig program that relies strictly on pasture/hay from my farm.
A little back story:
My wife and daughter and I live on 120 acres (consisting of five hills/ridges, 30 acres of fields and 90 acres of woods) in Northern Kentucky. We purchased the farm in 2013 and have built a house in which we live. Before moving to the property we did not have any farming experience. At the beginning of this year we dove right into getting any and all animals that interested us. We tried our hands at chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, and goats. As those of you with experience can imagine, we bit off way more than we could chew and given our lack of experience we were not successful with the chickens and ducks; predators took their toll. As for the pig portion, we purchased a pregnant sow (Yorkshire mix bred to a large black) this February. She gave birth to 14 piglets in the spring on the farm. We lost two of the smallest runts but have raised the remaining ones with her, rotating through paddocks in our fields and wooded areas. We mainly utilized 2 acres divided into 4 paddocks that I have been rotating them through 1 paddock each week. We raised them on a combination of forage, earlier in the year before the paddocks became too abused, and a Non-GMO commercial feed mix. This has resulted in pigs that are now 175-200 pounds and are of better quality than an industry animal but I would like to do even better next year. My ultimate goal is to have any animals that we bring onto the farm be supported solely by foraging from the farm. Our land is in ok shape. I have found a seed company in my state that has a good selection of native grasses that I would like to over seed our fields with to increase our forage quality and diversity.
My question is:
What breed of pig and what amount of land do I need to plan on using for next year (and beyond) in order to have a program that in supported strictly by the pigs foraging or being fed hay during the winter? I have heard good things about American Guinea Hogs and Kune Kune breeds. Are these the only two breeds that are suited for strictly pastured systems or are there others? Down the road (5-10 years) we will have a better area of hickory, walnut, and some oaks that will provide forage possibiliteis for finishing but as of right now the overwhelming bulk will be grasses.