NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Pig Stocking Levels  (Read 337 times)

Wendelspanswick

  • Joined Nov 2013
Pig Stocking Levels
« on: September 14, 2018, 10:20:48 am »
I have a 16 acre holding, 5 acres of which is woodland and scrub, the woodland being bordered by ancient beech trees and consisting of mature ash with a few oaks, sycamore and birch. The scrub is mainly gorse, bracken and bramble.
I plan to fence in the entire woodland with post and mesh with a strand of barbed wire (2 sides out of the 4 are already done) and then divide the enclosure into 2 with electric fencing and continuing the electric fence inside the post and mesh.
The woodland is on a hill top and is on well drained sandy soil, my question is at what sort of levels could I stock with weaners and fatten to bacon weight, the plan is to raise one batch of pigs a year, then rotate onto the other enclosure the following year, weaners would be purchased in the autumn and slaughtered in May as water is an issue in the summer.
Would the land sustain 20 weaners a year?
Voss Electric Fence

Wendelspanswick

  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 10:59:08 am »
Forgot to add that I'm hoping to raise Oxford Sandy and Blacks

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 11:24:44 am »
Our neighbour rears Black Gasconnes, which are not the largest of pigs but a great delicacy here. He tells me he needs 500m2 each. Your 5 acres is 20,000m2 and divided into two enclosures gives 10,000m2, so by his formula you can rear 20 pigs. They get supplementary feed once a week only and the feed station is at the top of the fields, presumable to make them run up and build strength in their legs, which here is the most valuable part of the animal.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 08:57:51 am »
You could easily raise 20 weaners in an 2.5 acre plot. My next question would be what market have you got for 20 weaners/finished pigs.  OSAB's finish more slowly than some traditional breeds.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 11:32:19 am »
It sounds like a wonderful plan.  Many of us can only rear pigs outdoors in summer as it’s too wet and boggy in winter.

Although it sounds like a lot of land, as I’ve very little experience of pigs in winter other than in fields (and here on mud all winter), I might suggest try it with 10 or 12 the first year, just to see.  If the acreage is a little tight, they could do a great deal of damage to the tree roots.  If you’re planning on feeding well twice a day, this would be less of an issue, but if you’re expecting them to acquire some of their ration from the forest floor, they will rootle with serious intent.  (They’ll rootle, eat roots and damage trees anyway, just a lot more so if they’re not getting well fed twice a day.). So if it were me, I’d build up to 20 over a few years, rather than go the whole hog (sorry, couldn’t resist) from day 1. 

Whatever you do do, good luck - and please tell us how it goes!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 11:38:17 am »
I've reared a few weaners for myself most years for the last 10 yrs and 2.5 acres for 20 initially seems ok to me. However, I've never reared them over the winter months? Realistically most of the forage will of died back, which would mean they'd get through whatever is left quite fast, root more and I think they will make a hell of a mess. They might need quite a bit of supplementary feeding if they clear it fast.

If they ran out of grazing you could open the other half up and its a lesson learnt for the folowing year, or you could just start with 10 and see how they get on?

Wendelspanswick

  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2018, 12:59:28 pm »
My next question would be what market have you got for 20 weaners/finished pigs.

It's a slightly weird one, I have to justify the continued use of a building I have for the purposes of agriculture.  I've always wanted to keep pigs although I hadn't planned to start with so many but I need to make it look like a business and not a hobby, even if I end up losing money!
I can sell a few butchered pigs to friends and I have a contact in a high class hotel who is interested but the chances are I will lose money or maybe break even.
I'm up for suggestions on keeping costs down?
What proportion of the pigs intake would they forage?

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2018, 01:40:46 pm »
Could you rent out the building or use it for overwintering cattle?

20 pigs that all mature at the same time is a hell of a lot of pork to try and sell off at any one time. I think getting them all to the abattoir, then collecting and keeping them chilled before they sold would be a logistical nightmare and I'd really advise against it if your haven't kept pigs before.

I think there could be the potential to loose quite a lot of money..

Wendelspanswick

  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Pig Stocking Levels
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2018, 07:18:22 am »
It's not an animal shed so it's no use for over wintering cattle and I use the building for storing my tractor and equipment in so I can't rent it out.
I will bear it in mind about having 20 weaners at the same time, maybe staggered batches of 5 weaners.

 

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