Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
[ Member listing ]

Hog Farmers and Pork Lovers - Hang On!

The writing is on the wall. Meat prices in general will be trending up with pork and chicken leading the way.

The drought across the corn belt has raised grain prices to the point many farmers are unable to stay in business.

I recently saw an article on AgWeb titled Pork Producers Enter 'Survival Mode'.

The article cited a loss of $57 per pig. While many of these large farms will ride out the bad market with operating loans etc, the small farmer is going to have to make some decisions.

I realize most small, sustainable type farms don't necessarily sell at commodity prices, however the feed cost is normally higher and they are working with smaller numbers of animals.

Another article sent to me titled bacon, pork shortage 'Unavoidable' points out that as hog herds shrink across the world prices will have to go up. They went as far as saying it was possible that shelves would be bare of certain pork products and prices could double.

What does this mean to you?

If you currently buy your meat products from a small farm, prices will have to increase. I predict many small farms that have been filling hog feeders with feed from the local mill with little or no thought to the financial situation currently in play will be out of business or at the least scaling back...big time.

I have been watching the sale barns here in Ohio and it's staggering the amount of "small farm hogs" that are going through. These aren't pigs from confinement operations, these are one and two sows, half grown market hogs, feeder pigs, you name it they are leaving the farm.

That tells me pigs are going to be in short supply for the Spring of 2013.

I've said for years that the time to get better is when things are good. That's why way back when corn was under $2 a bushel here at Spring Hill Farms we were busy developing a line of pigs that weren't dependent on a feeder full of feed.

At the same time we were looking at ways to minimize our dependence on outside inputs. I'm glad we did it then and not now. For some farms, it may be too late.

Until next time....


 

 

Google
 
 

Grain Prices - Will They Effect You?

Picture Unless you’ve been living under a rock or just don’t pay attention to the media, you  know much of the United States is suffering from a drought. The experts say this dry weather rivals any we have had in at least fifty years.

There will be far reaching effects for the next few years. I Googled up some headlines to see what I could find in the news and it seems agriculture is front and center.

Probably fitting because for many folks the extremely dry weather has only meant a welcome break from cutting the grass and no rain dates for sporting events or that trip to the lake.

For farmers it could mean the end of their operation.

I consider myself a small farmer so I speak from experience in that realm. To be more specific I raise livestock. 

When I went back to farming in about 1998, corn was $1.98 a bushel. This morning I saw the USDA is talking $8.20 a bushel as a high this winter.

Let’s look at some headlines I pulled up:

The dramatic effects of a small corn crop.

Corn futures could be headed for an explosive run up.

Terrifying Corn Supply/Demand Situation Unfolding.

High Corn, Soybean Prices to Slash Demand.

Say What? $55-Plus Soybeans and $17-Plus Corn!

U.S. drought drives up food prices worldwide – CNNMoney

Drought  Impacting Livestock, Effects on Food Prices Still to Come —Accuweather


When I looked for pigs to start out with in the early days I decided on Tamworth pigs as they were an old breed and they were known to “do well on pasture.”

I had two foundational goals for all my livestock:

1) Cut out as much off farm inputs as possible (grain etc).

2) Develop our livestock to align with that goal. (minimal grain consumption)

Things have come a long way since those early years but I still find myself wishing we were farther down the road toward these goals when I see the grain prices.

I expect meat prices to go up across the board in the U.S. I also expect to see many small livestock farms fold their tents and quit trying to raise livestock while simultaneously handing the local feed mill all of the small profit they might have made if corn was cheap.

"These prices ought to scare the blazes out of ethanol and livestock producers. It appears that the biggest bulk of this cutback will fall on the backs of the livestock, poultry and hog industry. They have some serious decisions to make. And, once you write it on the wall in blood by USDA, I’d say you have a tendency to believe it." - Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group.



If you’re a consumer of farm products direct from the farm it’s inevitable to see prices rise…possibly dramatically.

If you’re a customer of Spring Hill Farms know that we are doing everything in our power to keep clean, healthy, grass based, food on your table regardless of the grain prices. That’s been our goal from the beginning.

Until next time….
 
 

Save Your Own Seed - Grow Open Pollinated Corn

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




 
 

Poison-Free Poultry: Why Arsenic Doesn't Belong in Feed

Picture

Snow Bird!
I have been talking about how unhealthy chicken is from the conventional store forever it seems like. Just in case your not convinced, here is yet another report on just how bad it is.

Spring Hill Farms pastured poultry is not fed roxarsone or any other type of growth promoter, or disease killing poison.

  U.S. poultry farmers have used drugs containing arsenic, a known poison, to control the common disease coccidiosis for decades. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the arsenic-based drug roxarsone as a feed additive in 1944. The chicken industry discovered that roxarsone promoted growth, increased feed efficiency (pounds of chicken produced from each pound of feed), and improved flesh pigmentation as well. Between 1995 and 2000, 70 percent of broiler chicken producers used roxarsone feed additives. [more]

 

 
 

What's in your Chicken?

What's in chicken? 

In my opinion one of the worst meats you can buy in the grocery these days is chicken. It is one of the most adulterated meats in the store!

 Laced with residues and other products deliberately added to enhance flavor, you would greatly enhance your over-all health by switching to local, small farm, pastured poultry

Pastured poultry is actually going to help you enhance your health vs tax your immune system with toxins you need to rid your body of.

 Check out this great video by Dr Oz on what's really going into your store bought, industrially raised chicken.

 

Watch the video here.

 

 
 
RSS feed for Spring Hill Farms blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll