|One of my boars, Pigget, out on the alfalfa The heard is off in the distance on the horizon|
For me the farm year is from the growing season to the non-growing season; the winter is more a time of inside work. Having animals in barns means more inside work, and higher feed costs and labor costs, but it saves the pastures for next year, and having a good green cover on my fields protects them from floods
The utilities on my farm are erratic at this time of year; I'll have 3-5 minute power outages four times a week, and in the last 4 years I've had 1 to 8 day outages. I've installed a backup generator mostly to keep the freezers and pumps working, and the power has been annoyingly reliable for the first part of this winter, which is a good thing. :) I still get the several-minute-outs, but I haven't had a 1 day or more outage this calendar year, which is a first.
I'm keeping the animals out on pasture as long as I can, but I'm approaching the date when everyone goes into housing and the hay consumption starts.
Hay prices have been very low this year, reflecting low exports and low milk prices. Which would matter more to me if I were buying hay, and I may buy a little, but most of what the cow herd consumes is hay that I put up. I've been seriously considering a round baler for silage purposes.
The pig business itself is pretty mature. I don't talk about it much because it's become routine. Some are sold live, some are dead, some to raise, some to breed. I did have to cull a number of pigs this year because they'd just aged out of successful breeding, but I will admit that there are a couple of pigs on my farm that will just die of old age. They are the characters in my barnyard, and they know me, and I know them, and I'll be sorry to see them go, so I'll keep them for a while.