This is a small farm and there are four pastures for pigs so they can be rotationally grazed, ranging in size from 0.5-3 acres. The newest pasture was a downhill thicket of blackberry, scotch broom, poison oak, and sedge grass, half of it in tree cover.
We started to work on taming this pasture a year ago and dubbed it the “Forest” pasture:
- Land prep (Spring, 2021)
Advanced Land Management came with an excavator and a skidsteer to turn the invasive thickets into mulch, remove the forest undergrowth, and mow the grassy parts.
- Fencing (Fall, 2021)
Ron Chappell from Statewide Fence installed perimeter field fence, and when you see the slope in some areas you can only shake your head in amazement. I’d highly recommend Ron but he’s in the act of moving to South Carolina.
- Structures (Fall, 2021)
Burz Construction built a livestock shelter and a ramada to protect the animals from the winter downpours while feeding.
- Pig labor (Winter, 2021-2022)
The berks are the masters of rooting up blackberry! The land that was brushed out in the spring had already begun to send out vines and the pigs identified root locations and, well, rooted them out – in some cases digging down a couple feet.
- Electric fencing (Spring, 2022)
Every silver lining has a cloud. The pigs, now 250 lbs., were literally throwing themselves into full-body scratching on the new field fence, in spite of having many other scratching opportunities. So we installed a low hot wire in the pasture to let them know that scratching on the fence was a painful prospect.
Pastures are always a work in progress and this pasture is no different. It’s a great addition to our farm management.