What Breed would you choose?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Up North, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Wish to purchase additional Gilts for our small Hog Operation. We currently have Duroc and Hampshire stock. Recently purchased a new Boar that is cross between Large White and the old Hereford breed. Hogs are housed mostly outdoors with simple shelters included. Focus would be 2-pronged: Selling direct-market butcher hogs and selling feeder pigs to private parties wishing to raise their own pork. Do not have experience or knowledge to be in show-pig sales at this point.
    **What breed(s) would you choose?*** TIA for any&all replies.
     
  2. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    I always used Durock sows and guilts and Hamp boars. They make a nice crosss and my pigs sold well. :cowboy:
     

  3. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    My first pick crossbreed with what you have would be black poland china;really good for hogs that will be outside. You might look at spots if you can find some close;they can add length and keep up litter size and maybe check out chester whites. The pigs we had out of a hamp sow and poland china boar were the biggest and stoutest pigs we've had. Whatever you get keep up the milk and corn!!!
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I would stick with what you have - to add anything else to the mix is going to end up with a hotch potch unless you are going to keep very close tabs on what your breeding to what.

    Umm, now having said that (here I get myself into a tangle) if your can get hold of a pure bred GOS, Saddleback, Berkshire or Hampshire sow and put that Lge White/Hereford boar over them you should end up with piglets that will fill your needs. The only drawback may be in the public perception of coloured pigs when it comes to your direct market butcher pigs and to that end, if you meet resistance, you may like to keep a Landrace or Large White sow that is going to throw white piglets. And maybe even a boar - we don't have the Hereford here and I know nothing about them at all but presume it takes it's name after the cattle and would throw coloured pigs?

    Do what I did - experiment until you have something that suits what your doing. My breeding stock is now Duroc/Lge White sows, Lge White sows and a Lge White/GOS boar and a Lge White/Duroc boar. One old girl is Hampshire/Berkshire/Lge White and she produces superb piglets to either boar. I'm still not finished with my experiment though - I'm in line for a Black Devon sow and Saddleback sow. It's fun playing around and it doesn't hurt the pigs.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Ronney - Don't understand GOS, Please help me out here!
     
  6. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    GOS- Gloucester Old Spot
     
  7. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    I like the pure bred heritage hog breeds. Not only can you sell the weaners for meat as a gourmet product, but you can sell your breeding stock at a tremendous premium. My last litter of British Large Blacks sold as follows: three weaners for meat @ $100 each. three weaner sized breeding quality gilts at $250 each. one breeding quality boar @ $400. I had a small litter last time for some reason...usually we have 10 piglets on average. I also have a small waiting list for breeding stock from my upcoming litters. I could never understand why anyone would want to raise pigs and sell them as weaners for $35 a head unless they had hundreds of them. Marketing is very important.
     
  8. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    John - Highly respect that you have established (or discovered)a niche market that is profitable for you. Would certainly like to learn more about it.
    My thoughts run that getting in to your type of enterprise requires lotsa investment, because one would need to purchase high-value breeding stock from a producer like you to get started, or am I missing something? Would need more info B4 could seriously consider your production model.
     
  9. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    The Herford, as I understand it, is an old english breed with coloring similar to hereford cattle, an old world breed which is good at rutting up it's own food and foraging. More suited to outdoor or pasture setting than modern breeds. On our Boar, the large white coloring dominated, so he is all white, but he has a large shovel and quite good at digging up his own food when season allows it. Not much out there right now except for an ice shelf. I guess we'll find out what color pigs he throws come June, as he bred a red Duroc and a Hampshire both for June farrowing. Not familiar with the Black Devon, are they good for outdoor/pasture setups? I think we may have had a spot or GOS sow, but she got surly with Heather so she's sausage now!
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to do some research on the Hereford but I'm pretty sure we don't have it here which is unfortunate because it's sounds like my type of pig. Importing pigs or seman is now just about impossible so I guess it's going to have to go on my wish list.

    The Black Devon is what John breeds and are also called the British Large Blacks. Sorry to have confused the issue. While I have never bred them, I think they are well worth investigating and to this end John will be in the best position to help you. I have great respect for Johns posts, obviously I have never met him but he comes across as a common sense, practical person (sorry John, I'm talking about you, not to you ;) ) and would be a very good person to give you advice on this breed of pig in the States.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the kind words Ronnie.

    When I decided to get back in to hogs, my wife challenged me to do it in a way that would be certain of attaining a profit. I took a hard look at many different models and was, at the same time, interested in Organic agriculture. That was the first step...realizing that by producing a meat product that was different...gourmet....organic, I could attain premium prices. The next step was to figure out what price other people were selling similar products for. I next settled on a practice of a "pastured" operation because it fit perfectly with organics and just made sense from a pasture management standpoint. With all this research, I made a model of projected costs and profits. It was making sense...I was encouraged. I then chose a breed, and I think that this was perhaps the least important decision. I wanted something that was capable of surviving on a pastured operation...that ruled out the modern commercial breeds. I settled on Large Blacks because I like their temperament and they have all the desirable attributes of the other heritage breeds as far as meat quality goes. They win culinary taste tests on a regular basis along with Berkshire and Tamworth.

    The most important decision I made was an easy one....START SMALL! I had very limited funds to begin with. I paid $600 each for a couple sows and another $600 for a boar...all registered. By starting small, any mistake will be a small one. LOL Right now, my herd is growing and I am anxious for more stock as the demand is really strong for my product. Our best selling product is pastured organic chickens...we could sell 4 times what we are capable of producing on a 'part-time' basis. Of course, with most things, location is important. We live quite close to a community of almost 1 million people....having said that, most of our customers are friends, family and neighbors. We have nice packaging, a website, a newsletter and we act as professional as we can. It all helps.

    Up North....I sell my stock for a little less than what I had to pay to get started (I overpaid in my excuberance!). If you have to pay $35 for an animal that will eventually get you $560 a year wouldn't it be better to pay $250 for a gilt that will get you $2,400/year? The first scenario grosses a 6% profit and the second is %10. The profits go through the roof in a few years once you are producing your own breeding sows.
     
  12. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Ronnie - American Livestock Breeds conservancy has good segment on the Hereford(Nice Pictures too!).............................................................................................................. Click on..................................................................................................
    www.albc-usa.org **** Go to conservation priority list, then to pigs! Have fun! ....http://homesteadingtoday.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=1299280#
     
  13. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link, what neat looking pigs. Now, how can I get a couple into this country.............. I could sell heaps of them and become rich because we certainly don't have them here.

    As they're a threatened breed, you could perhaps make them your focus because they also sound like a pretty good all-rounder in terms of litter size, mothering, growth to porker weight and do well outdoors and anything that does well outdoors, will do well indoors.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  14. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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  15. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    John, Have been thinking on your model. The key, seems to me, is to change mindset to where you put forth energy and effort into presenting and selling value of product. Raising them would become the lesser part of process, marketing the larger part. Will be thinking more on your model, curious if you sell all your product in Canada, or if foresee time when your product will go, for example, to Japanese market?Thanks again.
     
  16. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Please, please, when are you coming? I've just had lime put on half the farm by truck but could organise for you do do the rest with a top dresser. I'm sure nobody would notice a few little red and white pigs falling out of a plane :) although the neighbours might be a little confused.

    Honestly though, I would love to get my hands on a breeding pair and might approach MAF about it. I doubt that they would allow animals into the country but might, just might, look at seman.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  17. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Up North...yes, that is pretty much how I look at it. For me, raising hogs is a pointless endeavour unless I can sell every one I produce at a premium price. I don't want hundreds of hogs on my property. Therefore, I do spend a good deal of effort on marketing. I have looked at the Japanese market. That is not a premium market by my standards. They are buying Berkshires now at .60 a pound live weight and shipping to Japan. The money is being made by the processor/exporter. I would much rather take the farmer's profits plus the exporter's profits plus the shipper's profits by selling my own pork locally. Until I get a licensed processing facility on my farm (not in the plans) I can't get the processor's profits! I sell my meat based on the fact that the animals are treated humanely, fed organic feeds with no artificial supplements or drugs and the meat is comparitively more healthy because of the pasturing. So far, so good.
     
  18. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

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    I'd focus on your local market and go to a local health food store and see what thye charge for pasture raised or organic meat. I went with the tamworths and it was a good choice for me. I raise them in pasture feeding only corn, soy meal & vitamins (plus some veges when they come in). I sold pigs at 250 per half (I included processing costs and my making their sausage for them). I should have gone abit higher. I barely marketed it. Start talking with oeple and have them put a deposit down, get the pigs and raise them up. If by butchering season they aren't sold, put an ad in the local paper and offer a "taste test" day. Sell them by the parts as heirloom pastured pigs, I guarantee they will be gone.
     
  19. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    John- ....."unless I can sell every one I raise at a premium price"....
    Strong like Bull! But I believe with your conviction you do just that.

    Now I must play Devil's advocate - In modern agriculture, seldom is such a profitable plum held out for the pickin'. Begs the question - if one private citizen was acheiving such results, why on earth would he share secrets with the masses?
    You are either too generous for your own good, or you carry a deep-seated conviction that the market for your product is virtually untapped and your 40 acres of production will not even begin to satisfy the insatiable appetite for fine gourmet pork!
    Do you really feel there is enough room in North America for many multiples of your production model?
    Lastly, could same results be acheived with other specialty breeds like Tamworth, Hereford, or maybe even Chester Whites?
     
  20. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me John...

    I'm gonna jump in here before John gets a chance to reply. I'll not put words into John's mouth, but there certainly is enough room in North America for hundreds at least and probably thousands of operations that are variations of what is being discussed here. The key is finding the hundreds or thousands of folks willing to make the investment in money, time, education, labor and being persistent and patient enough to stick it out until the payback begins. There is an undeniable shift in consumer interest on this continent toward more nutritious, healthier, more flavorful, locally produced, humanely raised, low input [take any or any combination of these motivating factors] food.
    The market exists, and is growing rapidly - someone has to capitalize on it...