Current as of 2021-02-28 15:54:15 +0000

Planned yearly schedule

Throughout the year we follow a rough sequence of events that doesn’t change much. Start and end dates depend mostly on rainfall.

Spring - Summer (March 21st to September 21st)

Reseeding of warm season grasses
March-April: Before cows enter a paddock
Grazing animals
Rotational grazing by opening and closing gates and sectors based on forage growth
Pig management
Pigs are kept in corrals. When forage is available, we open doors and use electric fencing to give them access. When no forage is available we feed them inside the closed corrals.
Poultry
Poultry are kept on pasture and fed supplemental grains if needed. Poultry is rotated through the pasture similar to grazing animals. Poultry follow grazing animals for pest control.
Crop management
See seeding and harvest plan

Fall - Winter (September 21st to March 21st)

In September we usually get the first rain after summer. With the rain we can reseed grasses and seed/plant other things.

From November on the acorns will be ripe and the pigs will harvest them. The pigs will be difficult to control and because of that it is important that all the fences are well mended before November. Most paddocks will have only electric wires at the body height of the pigs. Zones with crops need to have a physical fence in order to prevent ingress of pigs. Over time, most paddocks will have a physical fence and the issue will be less and less severe.

Reseeding of cold season grasses
October-November: In areas where pigs cannot go
November: After the pigs have been in an area
Grazing animals
Rotational grazing by opening and closing gates and sectors based on forage growth
Pig management
Montañera to harvest acorns. We use stick and string to make all of the acorns in a given paddock fall down and then close that paddock for the pigs.
Poultry
Poultry are kept on pasture and fed supplemental grains if needed. Poultry is rotated through the pasture similar to grazing animals. Poultry follow grazing animals for pest control. During Montañera poultry will not enter a paddock where pigs are present, because the pigs will mess with the poultry equipment.
Crop management
See seeding and harvest plan

Sectors

Initially there are two main problems to solve:

To make sectors we use a physical barrier (wooden door) that is placed in the animal path and due to that animals only have access to a certain set of paddocks. However, depending on the fencing of the paddock smaller animals may be able to escape the sector.

Cows eating acorns that are meant for the pigs
Cows will not pass an adequate electric fence. We can keep the cows in a sector where the pigs have already harvested all the acorns.
Pigs escape from a paddock and continue to search for acorns in paddocks where they were before
Without a physical barrier pigs can jump an electric wire or pass through fast enough to avoid the shock. They are then on the loose and can return to a paddock where they were before. There they might start to uproot the soil to find older acorns that are buried.

Every sector we create needs to have access to the pigs’ sleeping area but it should not be possible for the cows to get to the pig area.

With sectors we reduce the amount of paddocks that are available in a rotation pattern. Maybe we can manage the pasture in such a way that we can rotate from paddock to paddock in a fixed sequence that allows us to first graze all the paddocks in the same sector.

Animals

Animals are kept in zones A and C separated by sex and in groups reflecting their natural behavior.

Zone B is to keep the small herd of sheep and female pigs for reproduction.


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