I’ve had some queries on what our stock are fed. While our stock are very free range we cannot and will not say that they are 100% pasture fed. None of our stock is solely pasture fed all year round. In areas with our rainfall there isn’t pasture in sufficient amounts or quality all year round so we have to supplement our stock’s diets at certain times of year with hay and/or grain, but this happens in the paddock, not in a feedlot.
If the weather has been kind and we get sufficient rain and sunshine they are left to themselves out in the paddocks. That is ideal for them and for us. Supplementary feeding is very time consuming and expensive. If we had sufficient feed in the paddocks we would leave them to it.
The pigs get a daily feed ration that we mix ourselves. It is mainly grain that we have grown ourselves: barley, wheat and peas. It also has a commercial heat treated meat meal (pigs are omnivores) and the mineral lime. They root around in paddocks and have plenty of space to root up the ground and wallow etc. I have a Facebook page, Hogs in Space, which has photos of them in their paddocks and their housing.
There are times when we do put our stock in containment areas for feeding but that is in times of extreme dry when leaving the stock in bare, dry paddocks causes the land to get too bared down and leaves the paddocks highly susceptible to wind erosion.
Over the last 4 or 5 years my husband has been under sowing lucerne with barley. This has improved our grazing paddocks for stock. The success of grazing always depends so heavily on rainfall though.
So, in short, I can’t say our stock are purely pasture fed. Although the cow, pigs and sheep this month were taken straight from pasture. Nothing was confined and only the pigs were receiving grain. The cattle haven’t received grain for a month. From about mid-January until early May the cattle received supplementary feed 3 times a week of hay and about a kilo of barley per head per feed. Cattle kept in feedlots (advertised as grain fed cattle) receive approximately 7kg of grain per head per day. So that is about 3kg per week as opposed to 49kg per week. The reason this supplementary feeding is done in our area is because when the feed in the paddocks dries off as a result of hot weather and low rainfall (summer) the feed quality declines.
We welcome customers to have a look at the farm and we’ll take you for a drive around the stock. Just call so we can find a time that suits everyone!