Sunday, March 03, 2013

DEVELOPING THE PIG FIELD - INTEGRATED FOREST FARMING...


Prototype pig feeder bed - sleepers and angle-iron
DEVELOPING THE PIG FIELD
Lots going on here at the moment, including our plans to develop the pig field for food for the pigs and for the Treflach Farm pie business. The pig field is about three acres and we are thinking in terms of four strips for veg: beans, tatties, turnips and leeks. The plan is to keep the pigs off the veg to begin with using electric fence then let them onto what’s left of the veg strips at the end of the season so they can routle up the ground ready for next season. As well as that, we are planning some pig feeder beds which will effectively be mini-forest gardens with fruit or nut trees and perennial planting so that the pigs can either eat whatever falls on the ground or grows out through the gaps. Everything has to be pretty robust to survive pig assault so we will use up a stock of old sleepers for the beds.
They need to stand up to the scratchings of enormous boars and sows too
 INTEGRATED FOREST FARMING
Watching life here on the farm over the last year, I’ve realised how the animals are an important part of the whole system. For example, the woodland that's grazed some of the time is more diverse and also pleasant than the woodland that isn't grazed nearby. The more their behaviour can be controlled, integrated and utilised within the farm the less energy and expense required. The key idea being that the forest is a sustainable system and that a few carefully controlled animals fit into that very well. The more the whole farm develops in the pattern of the forest, the more the farm becomes sustainable ie: no waste, reduced inputs, increased diversity, increased types and quantities of yields, drought/flood/pest resistance, with space for paths, clearings and human settlement.
The pig field, about three acres of some of the best land on the farm

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