Now, we are years away from getting this accomplished exclusively on our farm. Right now we practice Intensive Rotational Grazing. Intensive Rotational Grazing is rotating your pigs to different smaller paddocks, therefore forcing them to eat most everything in that paddock. Right now we are swimming in grass (a problem we can live with!), so we aren't moving the pigs as much.
Mob grazing is similar, a small paddock, and you pack in a lot of animals. Basically forcing them to compete for food. They will eat most everything, and what gets trampled on, will compost and turn into organic matter. This organic matter will improve your soil and also help hold in moisture. The hooves on the pigs will also poke holes in the ground, aerating the soil, so other plant species will have an opportunity to grow and thrive. Mob grazing is very labor-intensive. To do this, one must constantly be moving animals to new paddock and putting up new temporary fence. This takes a lot of time, that one doesn't always have. I know Jason is working on this as well. How to do this with less labor? I have all the confidence in the World, he will figure it out. More to come on this later, I am sure! My one worry...what will my job be in all of this?
We have an amazing new pasture in it's second season. It has red and white clovers, alfalfa, and timothy grass. There are very few weeds in this pasture. We have done one rotation through, rotating groups of four or five pigs through it. On the last section of the first rotation, Jason decided to put all the feeder pigs, and my replacement gilts together and mob graze. It turned out great! They ate everything! That last section is now as tall as the first section we grazed on that pasture. It bounced back immediately. We will most likely be able to graze that again in 45 days or less.
I have to admit, Jason has peaked my curiosity. How would this help us if we were in a drought, like we were last year? Our goal is to be able to graze May-early November drought or not. Last year we barely made it, but with mob grazing, would we be able to push it a month longer? That would be a huge savings to our feed and forage budget.
This is definitely worth some thought! Please let me know if any of you out there practice mob grazing. I would love to hear any advice, tips, challenges, etc.
Have a great week!!!