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Torc

What to grow for the pigs?

Just planning next year's planting. Any ideas on what to grow for the pigs?
I was thinking of beans but wonder would runners or broad beans be better? I have Jerusalem artichokes but the pigs didn't root them up this year. Has anyone tried white turnips? They are quick and the tops are edible as well as the roots?
macconraoi

Hi  we plant table turnips and kale every year .If you fill a trailer of turnips you can feed them the tops straight away and give them the turnip over the next few days.With the kale if you strip off the leaves and feed them to the pigs the kale will recover fairly quickly and you will get a couple of feeds from every plant.We did'nt try beans yet,as a source of protein they are hard to beat .
dara

I had the same problem with jerusalem 'chokes - they ate a few of them but left most and they were hard to get rid of. Me and the wife had a feed of them and she swore never again. There's an enterprising fellow in south Sligo who keeps pigs and has built a methane digester - I reckon he'd treble production if he fed them 'chokes.
Apparently the best bean to grow is the tic bean - if you can get the seed, which I couldn't. They can be sown in the winter in Ireland but can't stand acid land, which rules me out anyway.
I plant sugar beet, which is a better feed than fodder beet and higher in protein. You can get varieties that don't need to be thinned out and I find the leaves quickly shut out weeds if sown early enough - say middle of march but later if it's too wet. You need quite a fine bed and we harrow and roll after sowing. You can pull them as you need them until the real hard frosts set in. Frost can spoil them so we clamp most of them (I store them on the yard covered with a big 'tarp). Another benefit is that the tops are supposed to be a better feed than turnips - pigs like 'em anyway. I haven't tried it but I'd say you could forget about pulling them yourself and let the pigs do the work. They love the sweetness of them and I can't see why you couldn't creep them over a field behind the electric fence.
I think I mentioned before that I was buying fodder beet a couple of years ago and lost two sows with rectal prolapse (very nasty) - the vet thought that the grit (they were unwashed) in the skins of them plus the bulk was to blame. So I mix beet with barley for the sows and introduce it slowly.
sir. porky

growing food for pigs.

try growing mangel,s they are in the same family as turnip, but grow 2 or 3 times as big and seem to thrieve on our wet irish sommers, the tops are also very nutricous and the grop is unbelievable!  can also be fed with good results to sheep, cows and goats.
            sir. porky
Torc

I read somewhere that mangels have to be clamped or stored for a time before feeding to stock.
I'll take on board the suggestions regarding kale and turnips and I think I'll experiment with the runner beans and let them run over the ground rather than making wigwams for them to climb. I might try broad beans and even the tic beans if I can get them.
That's what I like about this time of the year - you can have great plans for next year.
Moonwaves

I know that this guy [url]http://stonehead.wordpress.com[/url] grows mangels to feed some to his pigs and also to make ale from.  Might be some useful info for you there.
Torc

Thanks Moonwaves, an interesting blog. More food for thought.
macconraoi

We swear by kale interesting site for food values of different veg try this link                       http://www.fineli.fi/food.php?foodid=326&lang=en
David

Kale is great for humans too...it has exceptionally high levels of antioxidants

We grow red russian kale which is a fairly tender kale, good winter green veg, and recovers really quickly in the spring. We strip off the old bottom leaves as supplementary feed for pigs. Small leaves can be shredded in salads, older leaves boiled like cabbage, and it is easy to grow...stands up above the slugs.

D
dara

Nice one Noreen, I like the idea of this kale - very high in protein.
Q. Are there perennial varieties?
macconraoi

A few years ago we planted seed that we got from Seedsavers,Marrow Stem and Thousand Head .We found that the Marrow Stem grew tall and thin much like a sapling,grew taller than the weeds then sent out its leaves to smother the weeds.The Thousand Head kale grew very like a cabbage and really struggled with the weeds,they both grew strongly after the weeds died away later in the year.We saved seed for the next year from a small patch of kale.You could also buy an acre pack of commercial kale .Plant yours over a few months so that it will be eaten before it goes to seed .Biggest problem at the moment is pigeons but its nice to have your own fodder at this time of the year.You could broadcast it by hand when sowing but be sure to roll it after,we bought an old 5 row seed drill which makes things a lot easier.Hope this helps
Torc

One of the reasons, I am going for beans as pig food is that I can't grow brassicas. Well, I can grow them but they are always completely skeletonised by caterpillars. I don't just mean a few leaves, I mean completely devoured. This is true for turnips, cabbage, kale, the lot.
The seashore beside my land is covered with wild cabbage which is host to swarms of cabbage white butterflies.
I tried growing a few cabbages last year under fleece but they found a hole and destroyed the lot.
At the moment I have winter broccoli and kale growing nicely but come butterfly time they will vanish.
I have also tried growing brassicas in the polytunnel but they don't do well in the heat.
Sorry. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

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