Planting the Pig Pasture

| 7/25/2016 8:51:00 AM

Tags: Pigs, Turnips, Foraging, Grazing, Gavin Dinnel, Washington State,

Gavin DinnelWhen you raise pigs, you have to be prepared for them to tear things apart. Pigs love to root in the ground for things to eat, and they do it to make cool beds to lie in and wallow when it is hot. They will take your lovely green pasture and turn it into a barren dirt field in no time at all.

How do we take this negative and turn it into a positive? For me, my goal was to find something that I could plant that would provide a nice green cover, would provide nutrients to the soil, and could provide feed for the sheep for a couple of months and for the next batch of pigs that will come in January.

And what miracle plant is it that I decided on? Turnips! Yes, that favorite root vegetable of kids and adults alike is what I planted in our pig pasture. Specifically we decided on Appin Forage turnips from Welter Seed and Honey out of Iowa. These turnips have a large amount of leafy material and grow quickly. They are also multi-crowned to allow for quick regrowth after grazing.

Young Turnip Seedlings

We have been very happy with the turnips, and with the growth of all plant material in our pig pasture overall. As you can see from the pictures below, it is very green and there is a good variety of plants. There are a couple different volunteer squash and several volunteer tomatoes. Clover, grasses, barley, and of course some weeds are all interspersed in the area.

Turnips and Grass

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