We’ve had seven litters of pigs since 24 December and two more are imminent. Young pigs grow fast – here are some pics from 31 Jan. These pigs are between 2 and 5 weeks old.
Chester White coloration from mama and upright ears from her Berkshire daddy.
These pigs and their mama are looking for wheat berries in the new straw.
Above is a warming hut where the pigs can escape mama for a while. A heat lamp combined with plenty of dry straw and a litter of pigs makes for a cozy spot. The heat lamp reflector is mounted into a steel garbage can lid which is attached to the wooden house. So far we’ve managed to not burn down the barn.
Second breakfast! Just like hobbits.
Remember Wilbur? This runty pig probably won't get a name or a friend like Charlotte.
Soil is the fundamental component of any farm and improving and protecting it is perhaps a farmers most important job. Soil conservation is kind of like contributing to a savings account – at the time there always seems to be a dozen important ways to use the resources but years down the road you are always glad you did it. One important component of soil conservation is cover cropping which, in simplified terms, is the use of non-cash crops to cover the soil until the next cash crop cycle begins. Green Manures are cover crops that are knocked down and worked into the soil when they are still green and full of nitrogen and other soil nutrients. They serve a similar function as brown manures, real animal poo, without the smell and without the added work and cost of spreading the brown manure.
Here are a few pics of our current cover crops.
Formerly hog pasture, this 3 acre plot is planted to cereal rye and vetch, a nitrogen fixing legume.
The light green, viney vetch with its oval shaped leaves will climb the dark green rye as they both mature.
Last years squash patch was planted to annual rye and crimson clover.
Annual rye and crimson clover in early Jan. By April foliage will obscure our view of the soil
In the foreground is a patch of sudan grass planted last summer and left to winter kill. The straw and intact root systems serve to protect the soil from the compaction and erosion of winter rains.
The whole field of sudan grass straw was nicely alligned when it was knocked down last fall by a wind storm.