Pasture pigs, also known as heritage or grazing pigs, have a rich and deeply rooted history in traditional farming techniques and practices. Pigs have been domesticated and raised by humans for thousands of years, playing a vital role in recycling waste, converting food scraps, and providing food. Pigs are omnivores with a natural inclination to root and forage for food. They enjoy a wide range of grasses and legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, and will consume both leaves and stems. Not only are these plants palatable, but they are also nutritious for pasture-raised pigs. They enjoy forbs, such as chicory, and roots and tubers, such as radish.
We have designed a pasture pig seed mix for every region of the United States while considering the soil, climate, and precipitation levels of each growing area. The following considerations were made during the design process for each regional blend:
Environmental elements such as soil conditions, sun/shade preferences, and heat tolerances
Genetic attributes such as nutrient content, grazing tolerance, and disease resistance
If forage is ample, pigs may obtain up to 50% of their nutritional needs from grazing on pasture, including legumes, grasses, roots, and other edible plants. Supplemental feeding is often necessary to ensure pigs receive a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional requirements. Legumes have been added to provide an excellent source of protein for your pigs, and a natural fertilizer for your soil.
Pigs enjoy a diverse range of vegetation in their diet and the ability to naturally forage, graze, root, browse, search, and explore for their food while providing them with an essential component for their overall well-being. From behavioral and environmental enrichment to exercise and muscle development to soil fertility and land management, these blends touch on the most essential needs for a healthy pasture pig and a healthy pasture.
Prior to the 1950s, pasture was considered a vital component in swine feeding programs. However, after synthetic vitamins became universally available, the need for forage crops diminished. Research has shown that the digestibility of fiber improves as pigs mature. Over time they absorb more nutrients from forages. Fiber prevents constipation during late gestation and early lactation and reduces intestinal issues. Pasture pigs and sows typically have fewer health problems due to the improved sanitation and air quality of living on a pasture.
Pasture Pig Ingredients
Smooth Brome: Provides abundant and nutritious forage that regrows quickly, making it suitable for intensive grazing systems. Its dense growth helps suppress weeds and control soil erosion. It’s drought-tolerant and versatile, making it a reliable and valuable component of pig diets in pasture settings.
Kentucky Bluegrass: Provides a highly digestible forage, with valuable nutrients such as carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Its dense growth and ability to withstand grazing make it suitable for intensive grazing systems. It can also contribute to soil stability and erosion control.
Orchardgrass: A great source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to the overall health and growth of pigs. Its digestibility allows for efficient nutrient utilization and better weight gain. Orchardgrass is known for its rapid regrowth, making it suitable for heavy grazing. Its deep root systems improve soil structure and provide erosion control.
Common Bermuda: Common Bermuda provides a consistent and abundant source of forage, offering a balance of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support their dietary needs. It’s well-adapted to various climates and can withstand heavy grazing, ensuring a continuous food supply.
Bahia: Known for its ability to thrive in warm and tropical climates. This makes Bahia suitable for various regions. It also has a high productivity rate, providing consistent forage, and containing carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to the nutritional needs of pigs.
Timothy: Provides a balanced composition of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates that ensure optimal nutrition. Grazing Timothy engages a pig’s natural behaviors, promotes dental health, and provides environmental enrichment, exercise, and weight management. It also offers a valuable source of nutrients, while providing physical and mental stimulation for pigs.
Alfalfa: High protein content, with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and growth in pigs. It provides excellent digestibility and promotion of efficient nutrient utilization. Additionally, alfalfa contains compounds that can help control internal parasites. It’s adaptable to different climates and has a deep root system making it a reliable forage option. Alfalfa is also known for its nitrogen-fixing ability, which improves soil fertility and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers.
White Clover: A rich source of protein, vitamins (such as vitamin C), and minerals (such as calcium and phosphorous), which are essential for the overall health and growth of pigs. Its digestibility allows for efficient nutrient utilization and better weight gain. White Clover is also known for its nitrogen-fixing ability, which improves soil fertility and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. Its low-growing habit provides a dense and nutritious grazing option for pigs.
Strawberry Clover: Provides soil-enhancing properties, with a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that support muscle development and overall pig health. Strawberry clover has nitrogen-fixing abilities, improves soil fertility, and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. Its deep root system enhances soil structure, increases organic matter, and improves water retention. Strawberry clover provides a nutritious and sustainable forage source that promotes pig performance while contributing to soil health and nutrient cycling in pasture systems.
Red Clover: Rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals that support pig growth and overall health. Red clover contains bioactive compounds, including isoflavones, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its deep root systems help improve soil structure, enhance nutrient cycling, and increase organic matter content. Red clover provides a nutritious and sustainable forage source that promotes pig performance while contributing to soil health and nutrient cycling in pasture systems.
Field Pea: A high protein content that supports muscle development and growth. Field pea is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to the overall health and nutritional requirements of pigs. Its inclusion in pasture systems diversifies the diet of pigs, providing a nutritious and sustainable feed source that enhances their well-being a performance.
Birdsfoot Trefoil: Includes unique properties, such as the presence of condensed tannins that reduce the risk of bloat and improve nutrient utilization. Birdsfoot trefoil contains a nutrient-rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, supporting muscle development and overall pig health. Additionally, it has a deep root system that enhances soil structure and fertility, contributing to the sustainability of pasture systems. Its inclusion in pig diets provides a nutritious and well-rounded feed source that can benefit the health and performance of pigs in pasture settings.
Sainfoin: Rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, supporting muscle development and overall pig health. Sainfoin contains condensed tannins, which reduce the risk of bloat and improve nutrient utilization. The deep root system improves soil structure, enhances water filtration, and increases organic matter. It provides a nutritious and well-rounded forage source that promotes optimal pig performance while contributing to sustainable pasture-based systems.
Triticale: A hybrid grain crop derived from wheat and rye, combining the desirable characteristics of both for a highly palatable, nutritious, and versatile forage option. Triticale provides carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals essential for pig health and growth. Its digestibility allows for efficient nutrient utilization and better weight gain. It’s adaptable to various growing conditions and can be grazed or harvested for hay or silage. Its inclusion in pasture systems can diversify the forage options and contribute to a balanced diet.
Hybrid Pearl Millet: Warm-season grain that grows rapidly, provides substantial fo
rage, is highly productive, and is one of the most drought-tolerant grains in existence. Hybrid pearl millet contains a high carbohydrate content, which serves as an energy source for pigs. It also contains essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals, supporting pig growth and overall health. Its adaptability to diverse climates and soils further enhances its suitability for pasture. By incorporating hybrid pearl millet into pig diets, farmers can provide pigs with a nutrient-rich and digestible forage source that promotes optimal performance and contributes to sustainable pig farming practices.
Barley: Provides a great source of energy through a high carbohydrate content, as well as containing vitamins, proteins, and minerals that support pig growth and overall health. Barley is versatile and can also be processed into various forms such as rolled, cracker, or ground, allowing for flexibility in feeding methods. Its inclusion in pig diets provides an energy-dense feed source that supports pig performance and can easily be incorporated into balance feeding programs.
Oats: Rich in carbohydrates, providing a valuable source of energy, while also containing proteins, vitamins, and minerals that support pig growth and overall health. Oats can also be processed in many forms, such as rolled or crushed, allowing for flexibility in feeding methods. Their inclusion in pig diets provides a nutrient-dense feed source that supports pig performance and can easily be incorporated into balance feeding programs.
FORAGE TYPES & FORBS
Forage Radish: Soil-enhancing properties, combined with a highly digestible and nutrient-rich forage option, provide carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support overall health and growth. Pigs find the tender leaves and roots of forage radishes appealing and readily consume them. The deep taproot system of forage radish helps break up compacted soil, improves soil structure, and increases organic matter content. Its inclusion in pig diets promotes soil health while providing a fresh and nutritious forage source for pigs in pasture settings.
Forage Chicory: Rich source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, supporting overall health and growth. Chicory contains bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, that have antioxidant and anti-parasitic properties, which improve pig health and reduce the need for chemical dewormers. The deep taproot system improves soil structure and nutrient-cycling pastures, providing a diverse and sustainable pasture-based system.
Small Burnet: Source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, supporting pig growth and overall health. Small Burnet contains bioactive compounds, such as tannins and flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its inclusion in pasture systems contributes to diverse and nutritious forage.
Check out our new Pasture Pig Forage Mixes!