[NAFEX] Grazing Pigs May Benefit Organic Orchards

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Wed Dec 12 00:04:52 EST 2007


Tom,
Thanks for the link.  Am working on a farm where we had both hogs and
piglets in two different orchards.  Indeed, the hogs ate all drops during
the summer, though the Easter freeze suppressed the amount of fruit.  And no
noticeable damage to the mature trees.

But in a young orchard with 2 year old trees, that was a different story.
One pear tree was rooted out of the ground, and others had bark damage from
chewing.  The owner here is more interested in raising hogs than fruit
trees, so we left them there for the duration.  We did have a feeder in the
orchard, so they did not lack calories or protein.  They were just being
hogs.

>From experience last year, we prefer turkeys, ideally more mobile
breeds than broad-breasted bronzes and whites.  The turkeys ate all drops on
their side of the fence, interrupting pest life cycles.  Turkeys do
not shred weed-suppressing mulch as badly as chickens nor root like hogs.
They kept the grass trimmed, instead of inverting the sod.  Chickens would
peck on the drops, but generally not swallow the cores.  Turkeys gulped it
all down, killing those maggots in the middle.

Richard Moyer
Elk Garden, VA
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