My friend Sabra reminds me from time to time that the government does a lot of stuff that is valuable and useful, and one of those things that they do that I find particularly good is the SARE grant program.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a program where farmers can get money to help them experiment with different practices to figure out what works the best for them, and for others. The grant is given with the condition that the results are shared with the public, and there has been quite a bit of work done with these grants that most small farmers find interesting.
You'll find more information on the SARE program here.
The video that I'm going to talk about today is the product of one of those sare grants,
you'll find that video here. You'll find the farms website here.
Pigs are kept on grass or on fields planted with barley and peas, and the feed they're given is carefully measured out to see how effective the pasture mix is. These pigs are on what I'd consider good pasture, and are what I would visualize when someone says "pastured pork"
00:10 : what pigs eat on a field in this farmers experience.
00:38: Why pasture -- less feed costs
00:56: As with most pasture operations, this one is also feeding a prepared feed. I'm guessing that this is a corn-soybean mix.
01:00 They use cows to move their feed around. No tractors.
01:20: We want to use the pigs to till the soil so that we could plant things that pigs eat.
01:28: Note that the pen that the pigs are kept in is bare dirt with rocks. They feed the pigs by pouring the feed on the ground.
01:30 Pigs on pasture, rooting up the grass. this is pretty typical pig damage. Left to their own devices they will turn over all of the sod.
01:40 The experiment: Take some pigs, divide them randomly, put half on grass and half on stuff they planted for the pigs to eat. Weigh the pigs every week, and weigh the food that they gave the pigs.
02:10 Notice that the pigs are in greenery up to their shoulders, and they're eating it. This is what I'd consider pastured pork.
03:26 The pigs are getting 6.4lbs of feed per day plus what they can forage
03:53 Again the feed is poured on the ground
3 days ago