Stacking enterprises in the Deep South

Nature’s Gourmet Farm is bringing good food to southern Mississippi

Petal, Mississippi — Ben and Beth Simmons have a lot going for them in terms of producing grassfed products and marketing to the public.

Pasture can grow here virtually year-round, rainfall is plentiful on an annual basis, and forage tonnage can be impressive. Ben can get many of his moderate-framed Red Angus steers to around 1,000 lbs. live weight, with hanging carcasses at 600 lbs., in no more than 16 months on mother’s milk and grazed forages. Continue reading “Stacking enterprises in the Deep South”

Pigs stack well with our grassfed beef

By Aaron and Melissa Miller

We’ve been raising pigs on pasture for the past 12 years. Our beef customers were asking about pork, and we decided it was a good candidate to round out our meat selection at the various markets we serve.

Pigs have become a profit center for us because we’re able to fill our delivery truck and sales trailer with a broader range of products when we go to market, making the days more profitable. Stacking pork atop our core grassfed beef business adds value without adding too much in the way of expense, including labor.

Thank you for visiting the Graze magazine website. We offer a few sample articles online, but to see the full content, order a subscription of the print magazine or order the specific back issue you are interested in. This article appeared in the January 2017 issue of Graze.

The fame and struggles of Gunthorp Farms

Gunthorp and his Durocs

Serving high-end restaurants isn’t always easy

LaGrange, Indiana — Gunthorp Farms is famous.

Superstar chefs laud the farm’s pork in big-city magazines and food publications. The name Gunthorp is all over the menu at Frontera Grill, one of Chicago’s best-known and most decorated restaurants. Big-time politicians in three states have bestowed honors, and Gunthorp Farms once provided the Thanksgiving turkey for the mayor of Chicago.

In 2013 the farm raised close to 150,000 chickens, 10,000 turkeys, 12,000 ducks and more than 2,000 of its signature hogs on pasture, with the majority of that production going to restaurant and grocery customers in and around Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis. Gunthorp is one of the best-known and most desired high-end meats brands in the Upper Midwest and perhaps the entire country. Continue reading “The fame and struggles of Gunthorp Farms”

Trees and pasture can grow together

Pigs graze in the woods

Silvopasture important part of diversified Forks Farm grazing

By Tracy Frisch
Orangeville, Pennsylvania—
For many graziers, the woodlot is a place where the livestock end up when they break through the fence. For others, it’s a poorly managed shade lounge for hot summer afternoons. For John Hopkins, trees represent a natural extension of his pasture management.

And woodlot management. At Forks Farm, tree lots are viewed as something more than providers of summer shade and winter shelter. They are valued for providing diversity and complexity to the farm’s grazing program. And the grazing stock are viewed as improving the quality and market value of the trees by controlling competing weeds and brush. Continue reading “Trees and pasture can grow together”

Changing behavior through genetics

By Jim Van Der Pol, Kerkhoven, Minnesota — As was noted in the last issue, changes we have made in our equipment, building layout, and feed production seem to have helped with our hog behavior and health problems. Feed production adds more work, while the equipment (pens) and building layout are small additional capital costs that allow us to work more effectively. Yet we have not entirely solved our problems, and we do not want to spend a lot more money and time adjusting our management and facilities to the hogs.

So we have a question: What could we change about hog behavior through genetics? Continue reading “Changing behavior through genetics”

How much forage can a non-ruminant handle?

With high grain prices the new reality, it’s time to find out

By Jim Van Der Pol Kerkhoven, Minnesota — For years we have fed a little hay in winter to gestating sows by throwing a small bale in their bedding every few days. This is no big deal, especially when compared to the summer pasturing we have been doing for decades. Grain has long remained the major part of the winter gestation ration.

But with major changes afoot with fuel and grain prices, we have decided to look closely and critically at forages with an eye to building a pig production practice that will be more durable going into the future. Sows are the place to start, as their systems seem to handle forage well, and we perceive that they benefit from it. Continue reading “How much forage can a non-ruminant handle?”