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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2008-03-09 23:02:28
Subject: More Pigs

    Last week we purchased two new gilts to increase our pig production and introduce a new bloodline to the hog operation. A gilt is a female hog that has not had pigs yet. They were both about 190 lbs and need to put on another 100 lbs before mating. This should only take 2-3 months. Believe it or not, these gilts were only 4.5 months old. We are learning that the right feed and right amount of feed can produce a lot of pork in a very short time.     We've also fenced up another outside area for the pigs to run around outside. Happy pigs make better bacon. They also root up the ground outside and fertilize it simultaneously. I plan on opening up more of these fields in the future and rotating pig grazing with feed crops that the pigs can eat when they are ripe. For instance, we would let the pigs root up and fertilize a small field for a couple months and then plant potatoes. Close the field off from the pigs for about three months and then you've got something really nutritious for the pigs to dig up when you let them back in.     This week Jose (the welder) is going to make some dividers for our existing hog homes. That way we can squeeze another 8 or so sows into the old hog house. This will allow us to house more hogs without building more housing, however we do expect to need another house this year in order to achieve 20 sows (mamas).     Last week I negotiated a discount and free delivery of the hog feed since we are doing more volume now. I also found a good supplemental feed for the cows.     We were thinking about adding a water tower near the pig house to have more storage and more water pressure for cleaning the pigs, but... After doing a little research online today, I found that by increasing the diameter of our water pipe from our water towers to the hog pens would increase our pressure down there. It would also be a lot less expensive!      It's almost buying season for cattle here. Right now it is "summer" in Honduras. From late January until early June, we get almost no rain. Therefore, by April many cattle ranchers are desperate to sell their cattle or risk losing them to starvation. I am told we can find Brahman heifers for about $250 each, so I hope to buy about six next month. Jose started a small crop of "sacate", which is an excellent feed crop for cattle.     We need to find more help for the farm and I might have to start paying a little more. Right now we pay about $5.50/day. We might need to go to $7 more or less. We lost a farm hand that took another farm job for $10.50/day.      I am thankful for the Lord's help in all this. It is miraculous that he has motivated me to set my hand to the plow and not look back at my former occupation. I spent my first year here wondering why I would leave a comfortable, high income career with computers to become a thoroughly incompetent farmer. Now I really enjoy the aspects of farming. There just might be a future for food. People might keep on eating. Seriously, we hope to train the young people here how to work, build a business and see the value in all of it.      The hardware store is doing well, paying its own bills, salaries and growing in inventory. I told Jose not to send any money to the home yet. We want it to grow, so do Jose and his wife. It is developing into quite a retail location. We will probably purchase a freezer and let it also become an outlet for pork. Weird, but yes, we would sell pork at the hardware store. Jose is a very congenial personality and the community loves him. The only thing that's stopping us from opening another store is not knowing more trustworthy, hardworking people like Jose.
Replies to this message
re: More Pigs  by Mike Jones on Monday March 10, 2008
     re: More Pigs  by Mark on Wednesday March 12, 2008

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