Monday, March 02, 2009

Dirt Hog :: Chapter 5 Book Report

Chapter five of Kelly Klober's book, "Dirt Hog" deals with the ins and outs of pig feed and the feeding of pigs. The chapter is appropriately titled "Feeds and Feeding" and includes a good deal of information on different types of feeds and feeding plans from everything from the lactating sow to the growing pig. One quote that I particularly enjoyed from this chapter went like this, "I would also challenge the argument that farmland is now to valuable to be used for mere livestock production. Poppycock!" This book of course was copywrited in 2007 so it may have been written an bit before our latest commodity price hikes, but despite that I think it is a very valuable quote (although we must remember that commodity prices didn't stay at those highs.

Mr. Klober goes on to enumerate why he believes that raising livestock on "valuable land" is still a viable practice, but I think I could some it up in just one sentence. The basic idea is that yes you can create a lot of commodity crops on good land and you can grow a lot of pork in a confinement building, but when you add in all of the handling/infrastrucure/input costs you might not come out ahead. I obviously haven't run the numbers on this and don't have a clue what those numbers would be like if I did run them, but I do think there is something to be said about having livestock add to the nutrients of the soil on the farm.

But, back to the feeds and feeding parts of this chapter. Here are some tidbits that I really found useful:
  • With 15-20 finishing hogs per acre you can save between 800 and 1,000 pounds of grain and 500 pounds of protein by having them on pasture.
  • Good pasture access should be considered a plus for lactating sows and they probably should be kept on their regular ration so they maintain the best condition during lactation.
  • "About 10% of a growing hog's nutritional needs can be met by good legume pasturage."
  • Mr. Klober likes to use a 14% to 15% protein ration for growing hogs on pasture no matter their weight.
  • One acre of corn that is "hogged down" can support 10-15 hogs to butcher weight assuming that they have enough mineral, protein, and water.
These are just a few things from the chapter that really jumped out at me. I must admit that I am pretty interested in the idea of "hogging down" some corn. Especially if it is open pollinated corn!

1 comment:

Rich said...

There is a variety of semi-dwarf early corn called Canamaize (I might have commented about it before) that looks interesting for hogging down.

It has a 65-67 day maturity, (so it might be possible to double crop it depending on the area, or it would allow replanting to a new forage), it produces an ear at approximately 1 foot off the ground (easier for a pig to reach?), and it can be planted in 15" rows or broadcast planted.

It is available in an OP variety (but I'm unsure of the legalities of saving the seed for replanting).

The only place I have found it for sale is at:

And the company webpage is at:

Even if a variety of OP corn like Reid's Yellow Dent was planted for grain production, I can see the usefulness of something like Canamaize also being planted for a mid-summer hogging down phase.

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