Pasturing Hogs on Field Peas and Barley

Final Report for FNE09-674

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2009: $9,973.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Hanne Tierney
Cornerstone Farm
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Project Information


Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE09-674

The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility of replacing 50 % of the hogs diet with fresh field pea and barley pasture. Twenty hogs were split up into a control group and an experimental group and turned out on separate pastures; the control on grass pasture while being fed 100% of the normal grain ration and the experimental on field peas and barley while being fed 50% of the normal grain ration. The hogs were weighed weekly. After slaughter, meat and fat weights between the two groups were compared. No significant differences were found with the exception of the smallest five hogs in the experimental group, which grew significantly less than the five smallest in the control group. The meats and fats as a percentage of total hanging weights were very similar throughout both groups. There is room for much improvement in this study. Were this study to be taken further it should adopt a method of decreasing competition between hogs for the grain that was given, especially in the experimental group. Also different forages should be selected for different seasons, so that each season has forage that usually thrive in these climates during these seasons. It would also be helpful for management techniques for those forages to be perennials rather than annuals to decrease the tilling that is need to maintain soil quality.

Project Objectives:

This project plans on exploring an alternative to raising hogs on all grain diets. We will experiment with feeding hogs 50% of their diet with homegrown, and hog harvested field peas and barley. The project will be examining the growth of forage fed hogs and comparing the forage-fed hogs with a control group raised on a full-grain ration and pasture. The hogs will be regularly weighted through their lives and at slaughter as hanging weight and as actual packaged meat. The customers will then help to determine if there are quality differences between the two groups of hogs. We will also analyze the fat of each group to determine if there is different fat composition between the two groups. The overall goal of this project is to find a reasonable alternative to feeding hogs such large amounts of imported GMO grains. After the project is complete the information will be shared through talks and internet posts with hog farmers throughout New England who are interested in replacing grain with forages for hogs.


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.