Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pig Heaven - A sustainable, healthy, profitable, pig feeding model for small farms

It is possible, no pig in the world has a better life than these guys! They have their own garden... and eat fresh produce every 2 days.. harvested for them and delivered to their doorstep.  Life is good!

Today we harvested 22 barrels (35 gallon trash barrels) of zucchini. At approximately 150lbs per barrel, thats a total of 3300 lbs of zucchini! This is pretty much average harvest per week for the pigs.

The ladies are chowing down on the first 6 barrels of fresh harvested zucchini... plenty more to come!

Why do we do this?

Well... for the cost of seeds, water, fertilizer, infrastructure (about $2000 all together) plus a bit of labor to prepare, plant, grow, and harvest... we get a ton and a half of fresh nutritious organic produce to feed our pigs every week.  Lets do some math...

3300 lbs is a lot of zucchini. The going local rate for organic locally grown zucchini in bulk is 1.35 per lb... but that's not heirloom.  Heirloom varieties go for closer to $1.50 per lb.  But lets be conservative... use the 1.35 per lb price. That means 3300 lbs is worth $4455 of Zucchini! For heirloom (which this is) thats a value of $4950.   And we feed this.. every week, plus a small amount of soaked/ sprouted grain, weeds and alfalfa.  In addition to zucchini, we are growing beets, pumpkins, cabbages, and a whole host of root vegetables for winter.

Grain, at wholesale, runs about $.15 per lb for a killer deal, $.20 per lb for a good deal (organic).  We are feeding produce fresh from the garden worth $1.50 per lb. that's 10x the going rate!

Who in their right mind would do this? well us... we would.   Lets think it through.   it takes us about 3 hours a week to harvest this produce.  Total cost to plant was about $2000.  so growing it ourselves is actually quite economical!  consider the alternative:

We would have to feed about $1000 of grain per week, plus another $200 per week in nutritional supplements (because grain by itself doesnt supply enough nutrition for health). And you still have labor to cart the grain around and feed it appropriately.

Think about the impact to the environment... trucking 3 tons of grain in per week to feed these guys... plus all the local tractor labor to fill the feeders.  This approach, growing the feed right here on farm, in our dirt, with our water and our labor, makes a lot of sense! and it's nutrition that cant be beat!

We are excited about our model... it provides the best nutrition possible (fresh produce) for the hogs, meaning larger healthier litters and fewer health problems.  Plus it is more environmentally friendly than trucking heavy feed around the country. And it saves money for feeding in the process. And lets not forget... it makes the best tasting pork you can imagine!

So there you have it... a unique model that works... profitable for the farm, healthier for the hogs, sustainable for the environment, and producing a superior product for you, the consumer.

Have you tried our sausage or bacon yet?

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