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Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15379
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 19 9:50 pm    Post subject: Pigs  Reply with quote    

There is a local group trying to take on the lease of a farm which has been abandoned for two years.
Pigs have been suggested as a good way to clear and fertilise the ground, but the idea has been dismissed as "Not a practical, affordable or quick answer."
I'm not finding that entirely convincing, but I don't know much about pigs...

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4310
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 19 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

To give you any information to convince you or otherwise,one would need more details that just an abandoned farm,

Acreage would be a good start and the practical ability of said group.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15379
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ty Gwyn wrote:
To give you any information to convince you or otherwise,one would need more details that just an abandoned farm,

Some general points would probably be helpful. I should probably read my "Backyard pig keeping" book, but it isn't here.
Quote:
Acreage would be a good start and the practical ability of said group.

I believe it is about 16 acres, and I don't know about the practical abilities of the group: averaging less than mine I suspect.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 36278
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

are they willing to do 24/7/365 hard work?

have they a wide variety of skills and the ability to learn a load more first time?

any buildings?

how much can they invest? time? and especially money they are willing to lose?

do they like pigs? i know they are charming but not flinching when you get a broken finger and smile as you continue farrowing while sat in a puddle so mum and piglets get the dry bit at 4 am requires love

if they like pigs eating them can be a bit awkward at times, if they don't like em they don't deserve to have any

re clearing land it depends on the land and very good fencing

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2111
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have been a pigman in a past life. And as Ty Gwyn says much more information is essential before any hard information could be given.
16 acres is quite a lot to start up with, if alone and keeping a job going! Remember pigs need feeding twice a day, and having their manure removed daily on most systems. They are a tie, but rewarding creatures. You would need to keep your pigs in a building or invest in electric fencing if you want them to go outside and have a pig hut; they must have shelter to sleep in and be warm! They will plough your ground for you and that includes under the fence and escape-grass is greener etc! Electric fencing and a backup hard "fence" is essential if you are not to be around all day! If you collect the manure it will grow a good crop of potatoes next year. Pig manure is acidic Potatoes grow down to ph4! Of course the ground needs to be fairly flattish for spuds!

You need to get a book to read about it-go to the library and borrow 1 or 2 and have a good read. The ground can always be covered with horses, till you are ready to have the pigs, or decide to keep the pigs indoors. Letting the grazing to horse people could raise capital for the pig enterprise. I do that at home and well worth doing. If the ground is levelish, you can also do as I do, sell the hay as a standing crop. The man I sell it to makes haylage which is ok for horses. It is a semi silage, but as I understand it, it is not fermented. He mows it today, turns it tomorrow and bales it the next day maximum; usually done in 2/3 days total, all into mini round bales and wraps it the same/next day, and carted back to his place the day after that. 3-4 days maximum.

The plus is you wouldn't want to have 16 acres covered in pigs, they could be a valuable aid to fertilizing the ground in readiness for a potato crop for example. Potatoes are a valuable crop for pigs and potentially for you. If all is where it should be, flat ground, drained soil, and arable I would do- 2 years pigs, one year potatoes and 2 years barley, for bulk feed for the pigs, using a contractor for the barley and potatoes. That way the ground doesn't/shouldn't get pig sick; you get an income from the contractor and the barley feeds the pigs! It is not that simple in any way, but I would try!

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4310
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What was this 16 acres used for before abandonment?


Is it cleanish land or scrub?

Is it free draining land or wettish?


What`s the fencing like?


Is there a house and buildings?

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15379
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This is about as much as I know: Linky
I believe he grew some kind of crops, but I don't know what.

The last tenant died and it's council owned, which is why it has been left for two years.
I don't know if pigs would be good there or not, but I thought I'd read that they're recommended kit for any smallholding.
Looks like perhaps not for this one though.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34032
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 19 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Pigs will absolutely and easily do the job you want.

But. You’ll need excellent fencing and water. Without those, you’re sunk. With those, it may make sense. It may not. Tick the easy boxes and find out more details.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5545
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 19 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The question I haven't seen answered (though gregotyn was also sort of asking the same thing) is: even if everything is great and you've got folks rotating pigs through the 16 acres, what are you following them up with? And is anyone prepared to handle that? Is there equipment to harrow & otherwise prepare the areas that will be fresh out of pigs and or them into whatever is next in the rotation? Let's say you do a 4 year rotation and potatoes are next. Does anyone have the equipment and experience necessary to grow and harvest 4 acres of potatoes? Where will the crop be marketed/donated? Etc

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 36278
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 19 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

it does not seem to have a house/yard/barn/styes etc

that is a problem with livestock on both constant care and security

with a static caravan or similar 24 hr might be possible if the planners would allow it

imho stock need somebody around but pigs can be happy with good arcs and an electric fence to contain them(they will escape now and again, see constant care etc)
the care giver might not be happy living in a pig arc

the land looks a bit scrubby but a rotation of pig and arable/roots/spuds might be possible over a few years

with a 5 yr lease there would be quite a lot of front end costs and perhaps only a year of full production towards paying them back before they might or might not get another 5 yr lease(especially as after a few years of improvement it would be worth more in rent or as a sale price)

i looked at 2 similar parcels of land with such a scheme in mind and recon that owning the land is required and you need to allow 5 to ten years to pay off the land if it is at agricultural rather than at equestrian/development/subject to planning prices.

with rented land long term planning is a bit risky as it is only your land while it is available and soil improvement does not fit on a lorry like pigs and their arcs if you had to move.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 36278
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 19 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

who left the gate to the feed alley open?

for a trust to do such a job would require a full time skilled pig handler to be employed or sourced by other means

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15379
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 19 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
Pigs will absolutely and easily do the job you want.

Well that's what I thought, and why I sought a second opinion.
Quote:
But. You’ll need excellent fencing and water. Without those, you’re sunk. With those, it may make sense. It may not. Tick the easy boxes and find out more details.

They seem fairly firmly decided, and probably not worth having the argument with them.

Slim wrote:
The question I haven't seen answered (though gregotyn was also sort of asking the same thing) is: even if everything is great and you've got folks rotating pigs through the 16 acres, what are you following them up with? And is anyone prepared to handle that? Is there equipment to harrow & otherwise prepare the areas that will be fresh out of pigs and or them into whatever is next in the rotation? Let's say you do a 4 year rotation and potatoes are next. Does anyone have the equipment and experience necessary to grow and harvest 4 acres of potatoes? Where will the crop be marketed/donated? Etc

Those questions apply even without the pigs. It's not my project, so I don't need to find the answers to them: we might reasonably expect the people running it have thought about them.

dpack wrote:
for a trust to do such a job would require a full time skilled pig handler to be employed or sourced by other means

I think that was probably the main issue that put them off.

Shan



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 8371
Location: South Wales
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 19 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have spent enough time chasing pigs through pine forests to know that you need regular sight of the pigs plus good fencing. Yes, I did have to chase them through the forest because after upending every single pheasant feeder through the forest and eating the contents, they were definitely not hungry enough to follow a bucket.... and it wasn't my fencing that gave up, some nitwit left the gate open in my field (no not me or Mr Shan).

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15379
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 19 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Shan wrote:
I have spent enough time chasing pigs through pine forests to know that you need regular sight of the pigs plus good fencing.

Moving away from the original question and into more general piggery, is there any scope for technological solutions?
For example, something like the electric shock dog collars that have been banned.
Leaving aside the obvious problem, I imagine that pigs have a better rate than dogs at destroying such things, but OTOH they have to have ear tags, which they presumably manage to keep: perhaps the tags could include RFID to trigger an alarm if the pigs escape?
Does not absolve the need for good fences, but reduces the attentiveness requirements so that other things can be got on with.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4310
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 19 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If for arguments sake,these people start off with weaners or at least under 12mths old stock,purchased from a farm,they can move on a temporary paint mark,and will only need to be tagged when they move off the holding after the age of 12ths to another holding,but need tagging or slap marked to an abattoir at any age.

Not heard about any techy tags you mention but I`m primitive with sound stock fences that keep my wild boar enclosed.

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