Monday, March 16, 2009

Dirt Hog :: Chapter 8 Book Report

This chapter is the last in Kelly Klober's book, "Dirt Hog" and it kind of serves as a summation of the book and encouragement to get out there and raise hogs on the range again. I appreciate what he had to say about the 21st century range producer, "Yours is the business of not exactly reinventing the wheel, but rather of redefining hog production for a new day and a new role in agriculture." As I have become more and more immersed in the "un-conventional" agriculutral world I am seeing so many great examples of guys that are doing exactly that ... they aren't reinventing anything, but they are gathering knowledge from generations of hog production to make it work in their own environment and farm goals.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when you are producing hogs outdoors is that you don't have to produce for the markets that every else is producing for and you don't have to play the game of super high numbers. I like the analogy that Mr. Klober uses ... three sows a year producing two litters of 8 pigs each would give you 48 bucher hogs. Take those 48 buchers and make them into whole hog sausage sold somewhere between $2.00 and $2.50 per pound could give you between $14,000 and $17,000. Of course you have to sell that sausage, but it is about thinking differently.

Finally, Mr. Klober hits us with one of the most important points of this whole book. Hogs need to be a part of the complete picture, not the entire picture itself. In an agricultural world that has recently built itself upon the ideas of specialization and big size the idea of a completely diversified farm is being lost. But, the farmers that I have had the opportunity to meet over the past year or so that seem to be enjoying life the most and farming in line with their family and farm goals are the ones that haven't thrown all their eggs in one basket. They are the guys that don't have the biggest and the latest and greatest, but they are able to weather the ups and downs and enjoy what they are doing.

If you are interested in taking pigs outside and letting them live and grow on the grass then I would recommend "Dirt Hog" to you. It is not a book for a complete beginner as far as the "nuts and blots" of pig farming go, but it is a great starting point for the experienced and beginner alike.

1 comment:

Jim Curley said...

I got this book for Christmas and loved it. Some of the basics not included in 'Dirt Hog' are in the 'Storey's Guide' also by Kelly Klober.

Unfortunately, I have only 2 acres and need to use drylots for my pigs. We have a Hampshire Boar, 2 Yorkshire gilts (1 with pig) and have another gilt just purchased and ready for breeding(Duroc/Yorkshire/Hamp cross) and 2 more gilts I bought as feeders which we have decided to keep and breed.

I am way behind on the business aspect, but hope to catch up soon.

Glad I found your blog.

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