How can an Organic Farm tackle sustainability?

It’s very nearly two months since I last wrote – not sure where the time goes as this was supposed to be our (slightly) less busy time…

We have picked up our latest group of pedigree British Saddleback gilts from Lynne’s Organic Farm in East Sussex and that brings our total to 21. Our aim is to have all our sows of this breed, so only another 24 to go!

We have been thinking hard about our sustainability, and the use of imported soya for pig and poultry feed, and we have made the decision to attempt to feed our pigs entirely from the farm here.

We will grow beans and peas for protein, and because these can be quite open crops they can result in very weedy fields in an organic system, so we will grow wheat in with the beans to create more cover, and barley with the peas to support them.

We already grow the cereals we need for the pig feed, but as we are trying to grow more crops without ploughing (to release less carbon) we are going to try growing rye this year as it is a taller crop and will hopefully out-grow the clover living mulch which we plant it into.

Lots of experiments to look forward to!

The plan is to mill and mix the feed on the farm with a mobile unit which will visit every two weeks. We will hopefully have our own pig feed by this time next year and be ready to complete the circle.

Our box scheme and partnership with the Sandy Hill Mob is going well, we are making the most of our relative strengths and swap the use of our chiller van and butchery, for their time in collating all the orders and delivering to customers. We learn from each other, and it’s always good to hear new ideas, especially from farmers younger than ourselves!

I have had my first Christmas gammon orders, this starts with one particular customer who orders a whole one, and is always my first. Too early to think about Christmas? I think not!

Helen Wade takes a selfie with a saddleback sow

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