Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Tamworth Pigs and Soil Fertility

 Tamworth Sow on Pasture

 

In the building up of fertility, especially on the poor light-land farm, there is no animal more effective than the pig. Though I would not suggest that the pig is an essential part of fertility building, there is no quicker or more economical contributor to soil fertility - Newman Turner.

When I first read this a light bulb came on! I could use pigs to increase the fertility of my soil. I was already pasturing pigs when I came across the writings of Newman Turner.

I regard him as one of the pioneers of organic farming and low input farming methods.

Our land is all part of a dairy farm that was abandoned nearly forty years ago. This left our part of the farm basically multi-flora rose and  30+ year old trees.

As we began clearing off trees and brush, it was amazing the pasture grasses that begin to appear. Dormant for probably thirty years and the sun brings them to the surface.

We took electric fencing and kept the pigs in small enough lots that they would first eat down anything they wanted and then they began to root up the soil while fertilizing it as well.

As someone said (maybe Joel Salatin) pigs have a plow on one end and a manure spreader on the other.

In the last several years we have succeeded in restoring a lot of pasture using only pigs as fertility.

We have used the tractor and brush hog to take out some of the larger multi-flora rose and brush that the pigs didn't root out. We are now getting ready to selectively remove some of our wild cherry and sassafras trees.

Since we are going to plant some open pollinated corn this Spring for the pigs to "hog down", I am going to have the soil tested. It will be interesting to see what the pigs and chickens have been able to accomplish as far as soil fertilizer.

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Comments:

We've been raising Tamworth Pigs now for 7 years. Moving them around the farm to restore overgrown scrubby pastures. Sure they turn it into some semblance of a Somme Battlefield but when it's subsequently re-seeded they become emerald green lush meadows. Many a "traditional" farmer can't believe that it's just down to the Tamworth Pigs and not chemical fertiliser. The Kale we plant as part of the reseeding really do grow quick, which we're sure is testimony to the improved soil conditions.
Besides great soil improvers they are also great characters to have around the farm - every one of them a true individual.

Regards

Gavin & Fidelma Goodman
Macnean Farm
Northern Ireland

Posted by Macnean Farm on November 27, 2010 at 02:49 PM EST #

We plant a lot of dwarf essex rape which is of the same family as kale behind the pigs. It too grows very well after the pigs have rooted and fertilized the soil.

Kale is what Newman Turner planted behind the pigs in his book Fertility Pastures.

We've found the pigs don't root nearly as much the second time we run them through the improved pastures. Of course if we left them too long they would.

We love the Tamworth breed. We have found them to be the best pig for what we are doing.

Great to hear from you,

David
Spring Hill Farms

Posted by David Fogle on November 27, 2010 at 06:16 PM EST #

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