Re: Hog manure...now sustainable hog production
Greg and Lei Gunthorp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 18 Mar 98 09:38:48 PST
My pasture hogs recieve a premium on grade/yeild programs with about half the purchased
protein(soybean meal) as the typical confinement hog. I'm starting to see the potential for
a direct market for our PASTURE-IZED PORK. Its leaner, darker color, and better flavor pork
than you can get in the grocery store.
Pastured hogs are most profitable as part of a diversified crop or grass farm. Hogs are a lot easier
to manage as part of a crop rotation if you don't exceed 1 sow per 10 crop acres. Pastured
sows(farrow to finish) in the midwest can easily net over $500/sow/year. That is not including the
added benefit of reducing the fertility needs of the crop farm. On a true pasture hog operation, sows
are under MIG on a legume pasture for the growing season. This cuts their feed needs by at least
50-75%. In the winter they are gleaning corn feilds. This again cuts the sow feed costs by at least
50-75%. This is one of the major places our operation differs from the financial figures of "outside
hog operations" that are shared by the land grant universities.
Check out the SMALL FARM TODAY magazine next month. They are going to share some of my
budgets in the magazine. Also, I will let everybody know when the American Farmland Trust has their grassfarmer.com web page going. They are going to do a virtual tour of our pasture hog operation.
I see two problems for my long term survival as a pasture hog producer. The first one is the consolodation
of the hog industry. It sure appears that the hog industry could end up the same as the chicken industry.
The only people selling chicken in this country are the ones who own the proccessing facilities. It doesn't
matter how low my cost of production is if I can't sell my pigs. That is one of the reasons I am trying to
direct market my pigs.
The other big problem I see facing pasture hog producers is finding the genetics that will continue to thrive
outside on a high forage diet. That is exactly the opposite end of the scale of what confinement hog
producers are saving breeding stock for. I've got some Tamworth genetics in my hog herd. They haven't
been selected for confinement genetics. Its hard to find any other breed of pigs that have been raised out
side let alone on pasture. This is also one of the reasons that we keep all of replacement gilts from our own
herd. They are the ones that thrived under outside finishing with a high fiber diet. They are ready to go to
work as sows to forage for their own food.
pasture hog farmer
> A question about pasture hogs--economically they may be more feasible, but
> are the breeds/genetics what the packers want? If not, why aren't the
> pasture-hog producers talking to the packers?
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