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
 
 

Eating Grass Fed - Increases Blood Levels of Omega 3's

Picture
Tamworth Pigs on Pasture

I have long been a proponent of Grass fed beef, pastured pork, and poultry.

It always thrills me to see studies as they emerge proving out more positive benefits of eating grass fed meat.

A recent article discusses the fact that eating grass fed meat for just a short period of time can raise your blood levels of Omega 3's. Read it here

 


 

 
 

Save Your Fuel Money Eat More Pork

Picture
Tamworth Pigs Plowing
Here at Spring Hill Farms we don't like buying $4 a gallon gas anymore than you do.

We don't like buying gasoline or diesel at any price as far as that goes. That's one of the main reasons we employed Tamworth pigs to renovate our 25 year old over grown land back in 2004.

I had been trying to figure out how we were going to bring the briar infested land back to producing something more than multi-flora rose, rabbits and deer. 

Being raised on a farm I knew pigs had a bull dozer/industrial roto-tiller on the front and a manure spreader on the back. Of course in between is a whole bunch of good eatin'.

So why spend hundreds of dollars per hour to hire a dozer to clear the land? The only reason I could come up with was it would be faster and admittedly easier. Hire the dozer, go in afterwards and broadcast seed.

Picture
Tamworth Swine Dozer

But I wasn't in a hurry and it looked like there was a good bit of vegetation the pigs could utilize.

Now for the part the dozer and equipment couldn't accomplish.

The pigs would add fertility to the soil as they cleared it. The pigs would also root the soil and loosen it up verses pack it down like the equipment would tend to do.

And finally, I've have never had bacon from a bull dozer!

So after I considered both options, I decided pigs were the way to clear land here at Spring Hill Farms.

If you think about it, it's much like farmers would have done before heavy equipment and cheap fuel. As farmers we are going to have to look at how things were done in the past and leverage them with the knowledge and some of the equipment we have now. (Like electric fence.)

We try to find ways to incorporate our animals natural behaviors into working for us. That philosophy is the exact opposite of the farmer who puts his hogs on concrete so they don't root.

The closer we can mimic natural patterns, the better it is for us, and the animals.

Until next time... 


 





 
 

Help Us Choose a Name For Our New Program

I recently introduced a new program for our customers and potential customers. 

I took submissions to name it something a bit more snazzy then the "New Program" and now it's time to vote on the submissions.

Get some information on the program here and then cast your vote. The link to vote is near the bottom of the page.

 

Thanks!

 
 

Cheap Meat: An Accident Waiting to Happen

You might remember a few years ago the big scare with tainted pet foods. Many animals died and practically every kind of dog food you could think of was pulled of the shelves until it could be sorted out.

It turned out to be a poison called melamine was added. The pet food contamination was widely publicized but what many people didn't know was it also affected the livestock industry as well. [More]

 

 

 

 

 
 

Tamworth Pigs and Clabbered Milk

Picture
Almost gone and gettin' full
80% of our immune system resides in our gastrointestinal tract, which houses 100 trillion bacteria—about two to three pounds worth of bacteria!

Expert natural health folks will tell you optimum levels of bacteria would 85% good bacteria and 15% bad.

What about pigs? Pigs are very similar to humans in there digestive system. It stands to reason if good bacteria is needed for optimum human health than it's needed for optimum pig health.

Good bacterial inputs are typically called probiotics. They are the opposite of antibiotics.

The big guys regularly dose their hogs with sub-therapeutic antibiotics to virtually kill all types of bacteria good and bad.

This keeps the animal healthier (supposedly) and optimizes growth. The major problem of course is the over use of them is resulting in resistance to antibiotics when we need them.

You can read some very solid research here on the resistant pathogens that are direct result of factory farms.    

So....let's just say that we at Spring Hill Farms do not want to use sub-therapeutic antibiotics for our livestock.

We want to use probiotics to build up the good bacteria to the point that it holds in check, or even stamps out bad bacteria in the animals system.

Probiotics are great for:

  • The proper development of your immune system

  • Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease

  • Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
One of the ways we build up good bacteria in our pigs and chickens is by feeding them clabbered milk.

Traditionally, clabbered milk is made by allowing raw milk to stand until it has thickened, a process which takes 24-48 hours. The milk is also typically kept warm, encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria. As it thickens, the acidity of the milk increases, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and creating a very distinctive tang which many people greatly enjoy. Pigs practically kill for it!

That was one of the plans when we bought our Oberhasli goats. Make clabbered milk to feed the pigs and chickens to keep them healthy and vigorous so we don't need antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals to keep them healthy.

It works great and the pigs and chickens both really enjoy it!

This is just another way we are striving to work with the animals immune system, not prop it up with outside inputs.

till next time!
 
 

Tamworth Pig Taste Test

Tamworth sow circa 1920 

Did you know? The Tamworth is one of the great ‘dual purpose’ pigs producing stunningly good pork as well as equally tremendous bacon. In the mid 1990’s the Tamworth came top in a taste test carried out by Bristol University using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment. It was later suggested that further investigation should take place to establish just what it was that gave the Tamworth meat such a distinctive taste putting it way above all the other breeds.

 
 

Most Antibiotics in the US Used for Farm Animals

As much as 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U. S. are fed to chickens, cattle and hogs — not to treat disease but to make them grow faster. This increases profit margins for livestock producers, but it puts YOUR health at risk.

 

Read the article here

 
 

Why Eat Local?

Eating food that was sustainably raised is like eating a tomato out of your garden verses buying a tomato at your local mega grocery. It looks like a tomato, well sort of, but the taste is more like cardboard. There is plenty of crunch, plenty of texture, but almost no taste. No taste usually means very little nutritional value.

How can you take something like a tomato and ruin it? The same way you can take a pig and raise it in a way that isn't sustainable or natural and end up with something that looks like pork but tastes like, you guessed it, cardboard! Most factory farm "premium pork" tastes like the brine and chemicals used to enhance the flavor.

According to ATTRA, sustainable agriculture follows the principles of nature to develop systems for raising crops and livestock that are, like nature, self-sustaining. I agree.

If you come to my farm I'm not going to give you my long passionate talk about the evils of big business agriculture and how we need to return to a more sustainable model. I'm going to give you a pork chop, unless you'd rather try our pasture raised chicken.

I've learned that once you taste and see that sustainably-raised food is superior to factory-farmed products, you will ask me where to get food that tastes so good. And I'll gladly tell you.

Find a sustainable farm practice in your area and see what they offer. You will be convinced that food produced according to nature tastes better because it is better . It's healthier, environmentally friendly, and it stimulates the local economy. As the old saying goes, "The proof of the pork is in the eating."

 If you're around our neck of the woods, we hope you'll try us at Spring Hill Farms

 

Until next time...

 
 

Some Obscure History of the Tamworth Pasture Pig

I came across some old writings recently that stated the Tamworth at one point had some "crosses of pigs having a strong infusion of Neapolitan blood...It is also said that a few breeders used a white pig that had been improved by Bakewell."

 I was surprised as everything I ever read about the Tamworth indicates no particular story of having any known infusion of other breeds.  Some have speculated that probably it did, have but no indication of what type.

 Although the writer didn't say anything with certainty, I found the account interesting.

They did start out saying "The Tamworth is probably the purest of the modern breeds of swine, it having been improved more largely by selection and care than by the introduction of the blood of other breeds."

They go on to say, "Fortunately the class of men who had undertaken the improvement of some of the other breeds, by sacrificing almost everything to an aptitude to fatten, did not undertake the Tamworth; hence the preservation of the length and prolificacy of the breed. For a number of years previous to 1870 the breed received comparatively little attention outside it's own home. About that time the bacon curers opened a campaign against the then fashionable short, fat and heavy shouldered pigs, which they found quite unsuitable for the production of streaked side meat for which the demand was constantly increasing. The Tamworth then came into prominence as an improver of some of the other breeds, in which capacity it was a decided success owing to its long established habit of converting it's food into lean meat."   

 We're thankful to those very early Tamworth breeders here at Spring Hill Farms, and once our customers try some of our old fashion hickory smoked bacon they are too!

 

Until Next time...


 

 


 
 

If you have been to our website please read!

If you sent us any type of communication from our website from March 1st to March 16th, chances are we did not get it.

 

Our website had an "issue" where it wasn't sending us the email. It would tell you on your end that it did when in fact it didn't...

 

SO... If you signed up for our free pork or wanted on our mailing list you will need to go back to our site and re-submit your information.

 If you sent us a request for more information and you didn't hear from us, we didn't get it please re-send.

 

Oh the joys of the Internet...

 

Until next time...

Tags:
 
 

Do Pigs Really Eat Grass?

I hear this question a lot. Your pigs are on pasture? Do they eat grass? Suprisingly enough farmers ask this more than anyone. If I explain a little to them many times they dismiss it and go on.

I can see them thinking to themselves and some have even said 'you can't get a hog to eat enough grass to make any difference.'

I just smile. I know mine do! My feed consumption and weight gain records don't lie.

It's a practice that was common years ago.

 Here's one account from 1910:

Pasture plays an important role in the common practice of swine feeding. Besides getting fresh and palatable feed the pig in such cases harvest the crop which saves considerable expense.

He also gets a greater variety of feed as well as different mineral substances that may be gathered from the soil in different places.

While the feed gathered from the pasture in the form of grass, plants of various kinds, etc., is of the nature of roughage, still the pig can use a considerable quantity of this even though he is primarily adapted to concentrated feeds.

In fact, he will do better with some roughages in his ration than he will to be confined entirely to concentrates, especially if the former are gathered from from the pasture. The pasture exercises a considerable influence besides the feed it supplies. - William Dietrich - 1910

Hogs on grass fell into obscurity for quite some time, thank goodness it's making a come back!

 

Until next time...

 



 


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

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll