Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TBF 037 :: Alternative Feed For Pigs, Hoop House News, and a Hard Lesson Learned

Food, water, shelter ... those are all pretty important things when it comes to raising animals (or people for that matter), and they are also things that I talk about a lot on the podcast. But, it seems like the most expensive and difficult to figure out sometimes is feed ... especially when it comes to pigs on my farm! There is always a struggle to get the feeders set so that the pigs have to work just hard enough to get feed, but not too hard. There is the question of how much feed value they are getting from the pastures and woodlot. And, of course there is always the question of organic ... non-GMO ... or conventional feeds. With all that in mind I'm also always looking for ways to get the feed costs down and keep the efficiencies of raising our pigs up ... it is a fine line.

That is why the e-mail I received from Claudia about organic and alternative feeds for pigs caused me to think about so many different things. Questions like these have been running through my head all week ...
  • How can I switch over to organic feed and keep my costs down? 
  • What plants should I be planting in my pig paddocks?
  • Is non-GMO most important for me now ... or organic ... or a certain price point and doing the best that I can with the feed?
  • Should organic feeds cost as much as they do?
  • Why am I so confused!?!
Claudia posed a great question, and while I do have a lot of thoughts on the subject I'm not sure if I have a lot of answers. Because of that I'm including some great links below to articles and research reports about a wide variety of hog feed alternatives. In fact I saw one even mentioned potato chips ... I would strongly disagree with that option though!

Alternative Pig Feed Links ...
If you have an input on the topic be sure to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.

The Beginning Farmer ShowAs always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn. If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five start rating and review (by clicking the link or the image on the right). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with The Beginning Farmer and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ... 

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(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records) 


Bruce King said...

When I put up my hoop building, I found that a rented scissor lift was a huge labor saver. Ladders or scaffolding just didn't cut it.

if your structure is on a slab, a scissor life is good. if not, a manlift, like a genie lift, is good. each place where the purloins cross the rafters you'll need to put a bolt...

Rich said...

I was listening to another podcast about direct-marketing meat a few months ago, and heard one of the best arguments for being Certified Organic that I've ever heard.

Basically, you have a short amount of time to convince a customer to buy your product, and the quickest way to tell that potential customer about your product is for them to see that Certified Organic label.

You won't usually have to explain all your ideals and farming methods to that new customer because most people have a rough idea about what Certified Organic means.

Potential customers will see the label, will quickly figure out what you are selling, and then will make their decision about whether to buy without having to have everything about your farming techniques explained to them (supposedly the longer it takes to explain, the more likely it is that they will decide to not buy your product).

Of course, it's more complicated than that since you also have to consider all the politics, paperwork, and increased costs associated with being Certified Organic.

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