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They Farrow 900 Sows On Pasture
Raising pigs on pasture is paying off for John and Sue Trumm of Cascade, Iowa. “It eliminates much of the cost connected with total confinement production. It also reduces some disease problems, simplifies manure handling, and avoids many environmental regulations because sows farrow in widely scattered pastures,” says John.
  The Trumms raise pigs on pasture, farrowing as many as 900 sows twice a year in huts and A-frames. They’ve found their labor-intensive production system is ideally suited to the four-family operation. John and Sue Trumm, one of 3 brothers and their families involved in the farming operation, have 6 school-age children. They make rounds on ATV’s and on foot to help feed sows, bed hutches, process pigs, check fences, and watch for health problems.
  Raising pigs on pasture and in open buildings is almost a lost art in the present era of total confinement. The Trumms are modern day hog drovers, using 4-wheelers, panels, and gates to manage acres of litters. Woven-wire perimeter fences, small corrals, and a new hoop building help control sows and pigs.
  The Trumms farrow in April and September to avoid interfering with planting and harvesting as much as possible. The hoop building is useful for occasional cold weather farrowing in November. The kids’ after-school pasture duties don’t leave a lot of time for sports and other after-school activities. Bedding hundreds of houses, for example, is time consuming.
  The Trumms usually seed about 70 acres of winter wheat following soybeans. Besides its benefits to their row crop rotation, wheat is a good cash crop. Also, they prefer using wheat straw to bed gestation barns and farrowing huts.
  The Trumms sell most of their pig crop as weaned feeder pigs. Many of their customers prefer buying 10-week-old pigs that are well-suited either for confinement or open-front feeding. For the Trumm’s operation, “de-confinement” farrowing has proved to be profitable.
  The Trumm’s maintain contact with feeder pig customers in several states. For product quality, their breeding program includes dozens of boars and increasing use of artificial insemination. Besides caring for crops, they spend some time between farrowings maintaining pastures, feeders, and fences as well as repairing and building farrowing hutches. The year-round program is designed to keep costs low and production high.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John and Sue Trumm, 22487 Skahill Rd., Cascade, Iowa 52033 (ph 563 852-7627; strum@netins.net).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1