Pasturing Hogs on Field Peas and Barley

Project Overview

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


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


  • Animal Production: feed/forage

    Proposal summary:

    Current issue

    Many New England farmers have attempted to raise hogs on pasture, but few have managed to establish a small scale farm with rotating pasture lots that can supply a significant percentage of the hogs’ feed. Raising hogs outdoors on small scale farms is widely accepted throughout New England. Unfortunately, many farmers host hog pastures that are overgrazed and can no longer supply anything besides room to run. Although the room to run is valuable, it is time to move small scale hog farming in New England to the next level. This project looks to grow a large percentage of the hogs’ diet on pasture, using the hogs themselves as tractors for preparing a seedbed and as harvesters by letting them hog it down.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    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.

    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.