Lots of folks associate brush eradication with goats, and indeed they are good at that. But I respectfully submit that pigs can be even better, at least in some circumstances.
if you’ve ever dealt with a Himalayan blackberry jungle, you know that you can cut it to the ground and it will soon come back. To seriously impede regrowth without an herbicide, either you can continue to cut down new growth for years or you can dig out the roots to hasten the denouement.
In Spring of 2021, I’d had an entrenched blackberry jungle power-mulched and since then it’s been a battle with regrowth. This past summer (2022) I hired goats to tame a couple of overgrown pastures. The goatherd cut down the blackberry canes and the goats ate the leaves, but new growth has quickly and aggressively come back.
All the Berkshire pigs in residence here have demonstrated a taste for tender blackberry leaves and blackberry roots. So now that the fall rains have started and the clay soil has softened, I’ve been working with the current Berkshire team. I cut down blackberry growth above the surface to encourage them to dig for the roots without thorny interference, and they follow right behind me rooting. In this video, towards the end, you can see and hear one chomping on roots as he moves dirt. They never seem to get bored with this job.
Comparing the pros and cons of goats versus pigs would take us deeper into pasture management than I want to go. Let’s just say that it’s a lot of fun to use the destructive nature of pigs to do some work around the farm that would be backbreaking for me.