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.