Utilization of Highly Digestible Cover Crop Ensilage by Adult Swine In an Integrated Organic Farming System

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $22,060.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Wildwood Farm
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Russ Kremer
Wildwood Farm

Information Products

Ensiling Cover Crops for Organic Swine Production Presentation (Article/Newsletter/Blog, Book/Handbook, Bulletin, Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Agronomic: oats, peas (field, cowpeas)
  • Animals: swine


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, feed rations, winter forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, new enterprise development
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: cultivation
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal summary:

    Consumer demand for safe, high quality organic pork products continues to grow significantly while farmers are reluctant to supply this demand primarily because of the high cost of traditional organic grains for feed. Moreover, keeping hogs healthy in an organic swine system is imperative, and implementing a cereal grain cover crop is a vital agronomic practice. This project aims to resolve those particular barriers through research, education and demonstration of the utilization of highly digestible cover crop ensilage by breeding and finishing swine in an integrated organic farming system. A cooperative network of community based, sustainable pig farmers, with an emphasis on young farmers, will perform the tasks of the project.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Research reduction in feed expense of organic swine operations by using homegrown cover crop ensilage.
    2. Maintain records of health, mortality and number of qualifying hogs while providing silage year-round.
    3. Research and demonstrate an economical and practical incorporation of highly digestible sustainably harvested cover crops in an integrated swine operation.
    4. Eliminate economic barriers for entry of young farmers into organic agriculture by reducing organic feed costs.
    5. Research and demonstrate adaptation of advancements in sustainable agriculture techniques pioneered in Europe including a feeding system which is adaptable to diverse needs.
    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.