Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Contamination - That's YOUR Problem

I have a really nice Tamworth Boar here at Spring Hill Farms. I let him run loose and he does what boars do…..he finds sows and makes babies!

He relies on his sight, hearing, and sense of smell to locate sows that are ready for his advances. His sense of smell must be really good because he finds sows down the road on other farms and makes babies there too!

My neighbor hates Tamworth pigs. He has worked for years to develop what he calls a nice line of Hampshire pigs.

For some reason he thinks my boar coming down and making Tamworth x Hampshire piglets is an intrusion. He doesn't want my genetics contaminating the genetics he's developing. He has went as far as saying my boar is trespassing! Hey I try to contain him but I can't control the wind for crying out loud.

I think he should admit he's using my genetics (which are clearly superior) and give me the pigs. If he breeds those babies my boar made he has stolen my genetics. Unless he wants to pay me what I say those genetic are worth.

Even if we can't come to an agreement he should at least admit that it's not posing a threat to the local environment or human health.

Hey this is America. Free enterprise allows me to let my boar run loose and spread his genetics.

How do you like my story so far?

I bet you're thinking I've lost my mind!

You see that's exactly what's happening with genetically modified (GMO) corn. We are in real danger of it contaminating the entire corn crop in the United States.

Did you know traces of GMO contamination has been found in Mexico's native corn varieties?

If  companies want to develop GMO crops that's fine. Keep them in a hermetically sealed environment that guarantees it won't contaminate other folk's crops who don't want it, don't believe it is safe, and certainly don't want to eat it knowingly.

It's time to educate ourselves about genetic engineering. Take some time and do the research, find out what's really going and make an educated decision. Practically every other developed country in the world has done just that, and they said 'no thanks.'

Until next time…  

Is This Tricking Your Body to Stack on Pounds?

The consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has been on the rise for several years now.

If you get in the habit of reading labels you see it in everything from bread to ketchup.  Why? Because it's the cheapest way to replace sugar or other sweeteners in a recipe.

 I ask myself all the time why we need sugar in so many things but the truth is American's consume so much sugar on a daily basis that they are desensitized to the taste. They think things don't taste right without sweeteners of some kind.

 Add to that, the increasing evidence that these sweeteners can be addicting and we see why the industrial food system relies so heavily on High Fructose Corn Syrup.

It actually tricks your body into creating and storing excess fat.

Check out this article and see a good strategy to eliminate it and lose the weight you've been trying to lose.



Save Your Own Seed - Grow Open Pollinated Corn

Reducing off the farm inputs can be accomplished in many different ways. One of the ways we are expanding on this is by growing open pollinated corn. I blogged here about the small pasture we were running pigs on to take off the grass, root up the soil and then we would plant corn. You can read that blog here.

Once the hogs grazed the grass down and then began to root it up and eat the roots off the grass we got ready to move them. In this case we moved them the trailer for a short trip to see the butcher.

 I then tilled the field  and waited about a week  for any seeds to germinate. I then cleaned out one of our buildings we had kept hogs in all winter. We kept them in a building all winter so we could collect the manure for this project.

 I kept them deeply bedded with straw. Two reasons for this; one was to keep the nutrients in the manure locked up with carbon, and two, I think hogs laying around in mud and manure is a recipe for sickness not to mention poor farming.

 So we ending up with a bunch of manure with lots of decomposing straw mixed in. I then spread this on the previously tilled soil and worked it in.

This gave the soil a big nutrient boost and a good amount of organic matter or humus. We then planted an old variety of open pollinated corn.

Open Pollinated Corn

Here's a definition of open pollinated corn from openpollinated.com

 “Open Pollinated”  is a horticultural term meaning that the plant will produce seeds naturally. When these seeds are planted they will reliably reproduce the same plant as the parent. On the other hand, hybrid corn is the result of controlled pollination of inbred plants. These seeds are often sterile, and if they do germinate, will not reliably produce the same plant as the parent. This means the farmer has a perpetual reliance on the seed companies.

 Being able to save seed is a big plus in my book however the good news doesn't stop there, open pollinated corn is typically 11 to 14 percent crude protein whereas hybrid corn comes in at around 6 to 7 percent.

 I have read claims that open pollinated corn picks up substantially more minerals than conventional corn. I've not seen any scientific evidence to support this claim but perhaps it exists. I have had several farmers tell me it can deplete your soil of nutrients as it is a "heavy feeder" which tells me it's taking nutrients from the soil and  I think that's a good thing.

The crop is almost ready and doing a quick and dirty yield test tells me the yield is around 193 bushels per acre. Now keep in mind this test pot is about a 1/4 of an acre.

I would be pleased with 100 plus bushels per acre on a larger scale.

Along with the manure, I also placed the equivalent of 3 gallons per acre of  Growers Mineral Solution in the seed band when planted and then foliar sprayed it twice before it tassled.

Over all, I am very pleased with the Growers Mineral Solution and open pollinated corn. We plan to plant enough corn to eliminate purchasing corn from off farm sources.

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms


Coming to a Grocery Near You - Pesticide Laden Corn

PictureOne of the many reasons I oppose the use of genetically modified corn is one of the modified traits is to make it resistant to pesticides.

To me it only stands to reason that if you know the poison won't kill your corn you would be more apt to use plenty enough to kill the weeds.

If you end up with some weed pressure when the corn is up high but still able to drag a boom sprayer through it, why not spray poison again? After all it can't kill the corn plants they are genetically resistant. And if you're the seed modifier why not make the seed resistant to the poison you sell?

Great ideas from strictly a marketing standpoint.

But common sense tells me I don't want to eat food that has been hosed down with pesticides maybe more than once.

The latest: Monsanto’s new GMO corn, intended for the frozen and/or canned corn market. This experimental corn will not be labeled, so consumers cannot know when they may be eating a GMO food that contains a toxic pesticide in every bite

Let the food giants know you don't want to eat pesticide laden corn.
Go to The Center For Food Safety and click the "Take Action" button.

till next time...



Hogging Off Corn - One Man's Story

Tamworth Pigs
I came across this old account of hogging off corn recently. Since I was already thinking this might be a good idea as I blogged about a couple of months ago it seemed a good addition to my previous post.

HOGGING OFF CORN FIELDS - J.M. MILLIKIN, in the National Live Stock Journal 1897

"I am aware that the people who reside in the East, where grain is high, will be greatly shocked to think that any one would presume to say anything in behalf of such a 'lazy, wasteful, and untidy' mode of using a crop of corn. Indeed western men can be found who will denounce the unfarmer-like proceeding in unmeasurable terms. But let us see if something cannot be said in support of what some may regard as a very objectionable practice.

"In managing our farming operations, there are two things that should not be lost sight of:

"First - We should aim to so manage our affairs as to realize a good profit on our labors and investment; and
"Secondly - To so cultivate our land as to maintain, if not to increase, its productiveness.

"If you have a field of corn of a size suited to the number of hogs you intend to fatten, supplied with water, there is no plan you can adopt of feeding said corn to your hogs that will produce better results than by turning your hogs into the filed, where they can eat at their pleasure. As a rule, the weather is generally good in September and October. If so, there will be no loss of grain, while the saccharine juice of the stalks will contribute somewhat to the improvement of the hogs. The expense of gathering the corn, and in giving constant attention in feeding, is quite an important item to any man who has other pressing work to perform. Besides hogs turned into a field for fifty or sixty days are likely to do better than they will do under any other ordinary circumstances.

" There is no plan of using the products of a corn field better calculated to maintain its fertility than the hogging off process. Everything produced off the ground is returned to it; and if the proper mode is adopted of plowing everything under in the fall, the soil will be improved rather than impoverished. This is my theory upon the subject, which is sustained by  my experience and observation, and which I have occasionally urged on the attention of others.

"A very few days since I was in conversation with some farmers upon this subject, when a very reliable, careful, and excellent farmer gave this account of his own experience, which I give, with the remark that his statements are entitled to the fullest confidence. He said: 'I have cultivated one field eleven successive years in corn, and every fall turned in my fattening hogs, and fed it off. My crops of corn rather increased than diminished. In the spring, after feeding off the corn for eleven years, I sowed the field in spring barley. I had a crop of forty bushels per acre. I plowed the stubble under, and sowed the same field in wheat. The next harvest I had a crop of wheat of forty-two and a half bushels per acre'

"Thus you have the theory, the practice, and the result, of the hogging off process." 


A couple of Mr. Milikin's points stand out to me. He brings up the fact that if the pigs are hogging off corn the farmer doesn't have to concern himself with harvesting the crop or the daily chore of feeding the hogs. That almost convinces me right there!

He also points out the value of manure as fertilizer. This is one of the factors almost never taken into account in modern agriculture.   

With both fuel and fertilizer prices on the rise it looks like a "no brainer" to me!

Until next time...

Feeding Hogs Something Other Than Corn

Tamworth Pig
If you've read many of my posts you know I love old books on farming and especially pigs. I have a pretty good collection dating back as far as 1883.

I've bid on books on some auction sites older than that but they end up being too rich for my blood!

This document is dated 1925 but is revised so it probably was from an earlier work. It is titled Swine Feeding.

It covers quite a bit of topics such as: [More]


Alternative Feeding Methods - Hogging Down Corn

Tamworth Sows circa 1920 

The practice of letting pigs eat the corn from the stalks is a good alternative way of finishing pigs. It is a great labor saving practice because instead of having to pick the corn the pigs do the picking! It was a popular method in the early 1900's as corn harvesting was much more labor intensive than it is now.

It works well today if you don't have all the equipment to harvest the corn and store it. (which I don't)  You basically turn the hogs into the corn when it's ready to pick. The corn can be higher moisture than it would be if storing so there is also the savings of drying the corn.

 Another advantage is the hogs are distributing the manure through out the field so there is no cleaning the barn. This is something we do year around as I hate cleaning barns. All our pigs are on pasture Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

It is best if the fertilizer is spread by the animals verses having to do it with equipment. With fuel costs on the rise constantly, I figure why go that route when the pigs can do it themselves.

 Some disadvantages to this type of feeding is you will have some waste. The best way seems to be allow the pigs access to small sections of the field at a time so they don't wander around knocking corn down and not eating it.  This is easily accomplished by using electric fencing.

 Chickens help clean up so a few laying hens running around are a good way to keep waste to a minimum. They will also add to the manure and they have a higher nitrogen content to their manure so it helps in that way as well.

Another disadvantage is the pigs should have some size to them when you turn them in as corn alone is good as a finisher. The last eight weeks or so of the pigs life before slaughter is best so timing is an issue.

I plan to plant open pollinated corn this Spring and seed dwarf essex rape or maybe field peas or perhaps both in the corn. Both of these are high in protein whereas the corn isn't so this should help balance the ration. I hope that this will enable me to run the pigs at a slightly younger age for a longer time period. Maybe run some smaller pigs to help clean up after the bigger ones? I found a open pollinated seed corn that does well in Ohio. You can visit their website here.

 Plus we will be feeding fresh goats milk so the pigs should do quite well.

One of many reasons why we like pigs here at Spring Hill Farms, they are so versatile.


Until next time!


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