Thursday, May 14, 2015

grazing and pigs and hay

pigs on alfalfa
 While the cows have shown a preference for the grass/alfalfa mix, the pigs have shown a strong preference for the pure alfalfa.  So much so that the herd of 80 sows has managed to keep it about 6" tall through the last two months of growth -- and that's good.  We don't have weather to hay it yet, so grazing it off is a great use until I get a round baler to bay haylage.
An airedale herding
 This dog takes his job seriously.  He's positioned himself on the plowed field (nothing planted there yet) and is warning the pigs off the bare dirt.  
some clover, alfalfa, grass and cowslip
 the pure-alfalfa area is where I planted pure alfalfa, but we've got a little bit of weeds on the edges, particularly towards where we planted pumpkins last year (and had mature weeds).  It's still good fodder, and everything eats it, but it'll be hard to eradicate these weeds organically.  I think that mowing/haying will help a bit, though.  All of the weeds are edible - not much in the way of thistles, which is good.
the Angus bull checking out the pig herd
We've got a weather window coming up that is on the edge of haying weather.  I'm watching every day to see if we'll get the right combination of heat and days to make some of the grass into hay.


Mountain Walker said...

Quick questions about pigs. We haven't heard too much about PEDv lately plus the price of wiener pigs has settled down a bit (though still higher than before than pre-virus prices). I was wondering if you think we are thru the worst.

Bruce King said...

Weaner pig prices are still affected by the PEDv epidemic. At this time of year prices should be declining and they're not... The seasonal low for pig prices in the midwest is around june and I'm not seeing the sort of drop that I had seen in the 5 to 8 years before this current problem.

PEDv is very difficult for industry to deal with. It's apparently very infectious -- very little material is required to infect a whole herd, and unlike something like transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) the pigs don't appear to develop an immunity to it after it's passed through a barn. So pigs get sick, lose all their piglets, and then 3-6 months later the whole thing repeats. So affected farms are basically out of the pig business for a long time.