October 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm #17042
OK, Now that we have the bacon shortage resolved, (SORRY)
what would folks recommend for a pasture crop. We are in Michigan.
So I guess what I’m asking is, Timothy hay, a Grass, a mix?
Looking forward to hearing from you allOctober 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm #18223
Come one folks, Really!!!, no pasture crop recommendations.
I’ll have in the neighborhood of 30 acres to plant next spring.
Would like to know what folks think of a pasture crop. I will also plant grain crop in some areas as well.
Let me know.October 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm #18224
Patrick, While not an expert in this subject, it does interest me quite a bit. I’ve done a lot of reading lately on pasture cropping and permanent pasture crops such as silvopasture. Most of my reading has been from books written in the 1800s and early 1900s on Google Ebooks…great source for material where most farmer raised livestock with the methods that most of us are attempting to mimick. One good resource is “Tree Crops A Permanent Agriculture” written by J. Russell Smith in 1929. This is a great resource on planting a sivopasture system that will permanently feed livestock. It peaked my interest when I came to the chapters on mulberry and persimmon trees and the photos were all from my region and showed the farmers at that time rotating pigs through the pastures for finishing. It’s interesting that in the early 1900s there was a huge shift over to CAFO systems in the published works from our major universities. Many of the old books reference planting systems for root crops and squash that the pigs self harvest…many that the pigs will eat the greens early in the fall then go back and harvest the roots through the winter.
If you haven’t used Google Ebooks before, you can use the regular google search then choose the books tab. You can refine your search on the left side to “free” or “public domain” and choose to read or download any of the offerings. I can’t stress enough how great this resource is. I recently researched natural remedies and found a full homeopathic vet manual for livestock published in 1874, “A Manual of Homeopathic Veterinary Practice by F.E. Boericke.
Another great resource is Walter Jeffries Blog on his Sugar Mountain Farm website. He goes into great depth on some of his posts on pasture management and seeding crops in the pastures for self harvest in a climate that is as cold as yours.
smdOctober 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm #18225
Well: That is exactly the kind of conversation I’ve been looking for, Thanks so much.
I’ll be reading on everything here in the next few weeks, and would love to keep this thread going. We have a great “Old Books store here in the Village where I live, that if they don’t have it, they can find it.
We have planted a lot of fruit trees and learned the great balance of LB’s and letting them pasture through the Orchard. The fruit being great for the pigs, and controlling the bugs, and disease that house themselves inside the fruit in late fall to wreak havoc on next years crop.
So Again smd, thanks for all the information. I’ll post the things I find.
Sincerely Patrick Rhéaume
Rhéaume’s LBHOctober 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm #18226
Patrick, There was also a good article in July 12 Acres USA magazine on pasture cropping. Basically keeping a permanent perennial pasture of grasses and legumes then no-till drilling cereal crops to take advantage of vertical stacking, water holding capacity of the soil, and eliminating erosion. The system uses the gaps between cool season and warm season plants and also using livestock grazing to hit the warm season plant hard to give the cool season plants the chance to get started. Worth the read if you have access to a copy.
Sanford, NCOctober 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm #18227
Here is one of the blog discussions from Sugar Mountain on pigs harvesting turnips:
There are links imbedded for other similar discussions throughout the posts.
smdOctober 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm #18228
Will try and find a copy, thanks again, off to sell Bird Dog Puppies. Research when I ge back home.
PatrickOctober 8, 2012 at 4:10 am #18229
I found a copy of “Pork Production” from google ebooks today by William Smith published in 1920. Good overall book with a lot of information on forage crops. You can download this book for free from the google search for books.
Chapter 7 covers the advantages of forage crops.
Chap. 8 is Forage Crop experimental feeding trials and compares clover, alfalfa, rape, rye, timothy, and combinations of field peas, oats, clover and rape.
Chap. 9 is methods of feeding on forage and required supplements for different forage types.
smdOctober 8, 2012 at 4:12 am #18230
What kind of bird dogs do you raise? Heading to SD, KS, and MO for pheasant and duck hunting in Dec. Can’t wait!
We have a Boykin Spaniel that I use for duck hunting.
smdOctober 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm #18231
I have a Small Munsterlander, I bred with a friends English Springer Spaniel.
Her first, and only litter, these are really sweet looking pups, and are very alert and aware, I have 5 left, which I’m going to start more training with this week.
They are fun. Good luck out west, wish I was heading there myslef as well as my Ruby.October 9, 2012 at 5:03 am #18232
Patrick, We have had great success with growing rape and forage turnips. We used only a rototiller to work the pasture ground and hand sowed. These crops grow fast and the pigs love the greens. Next year we are going to try kale, forage radish and maybe field peas along with the rape and turnips. I wanted to try mangel turnips but didn’t get to it but these would be great to grow and store and provide supplemental winter feed. As far as grass goes, the pigs don’t need high quality to benefit from them and this is one of their strengths. Our pasture was very wet area and had not been tended to or used for years before we bought our farm. The farmer that hays our other field is amazed with the improved quality of the grass just by having the pigs on it and naturally fertilizing it. I am very prudent about keeping the pigs in the woods until the pasture is dry and the forage is ready to be eaten in the spring and then I rotate them in the different paddocks in the field as the forage is eaten down or other areas are ready to be eaten. The forages give a nice variety of feed for the pigs and cuts down on commercial feed I need to feed them but I have not yet truly calculated the savings of growing forage at this point. We live in Maine so our growing season is short but there are many options out there. Google forages for swine and you’ll get plenty of material to research. It is fun to trial different ones and see the pigs go hog wild over them!October 9, 2012 at 6:08 am #18233
Thanks Jean that helps a lot. my Extension office told me also about Rape and turnips, and what a help it is if your trying to amend the soil.
the first field will will be looking at this spring have been hay fields in the past, and if that is what they like, a good alfalfa?, then that would be the easiest as to just replant that.
The other fields we can do other things with, and I like the idea of the rape and turnips, and we can look at what we can get an early spring, and late fall crop from.
If your in Maine, you have close to the same growing season as we do, depending where you are. I lived in Bangor for a few years, and worked out at a youth camp for the first summer. It was nice there taxy,but nice.
Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate all knowledge, it is what makes us learn.
Sincerely Patrick Rhéaume