Preparing for the growing season can be back-breaking work. Whether the area you wish to grow is large or small, the workload is still sure to be heavy. Whether you operate a walk behind tiller or use a tractor implement to ready fields for planting, a long day is sure to be ahead of you. As you do this work, you may find yourself wishing there was an easier way, and the good news is that there is. Nature has provided us with an animal that is ready and willing to do the tilling work for you, and that animal is the pig.
Instead of exerting yourself and putting your own time and energy into garden preparation, let pigs do it for you. In addition to freeing you up to complete other tasks around the farm, the pig method can save you money on expenses such as fuel and prevents wear and tear on expensive farm implements. Using pigs as tillers is easy enough to do; if they are already present on your farm, you need only relocate them to the area you want tilled and let them get down to business.
Photo: Odyssey Farm Journal
The natural behavior of a pig is to root through soil for morsels of food. Their dedication to this way of life is something you might as well make advantageous to your farm. In order to use pigs as tillers, you will simply need to decide what you areas you want tilled and turn pigs out in those areas. Pigs are also useful when it comes to leveling uneven ground thanks to their ability to churn and turn soil so that it can settle in a more uniform manner. Also along the similar lines, if you have an old garden that needs a cleanup job, pigs will eagerly and readily perform that task as well, removing any culled vegetables, weeds, and remaining roots. At the same time, pigs will be sating their appetites naturally, which can save you money on supplemental feeds.
In order to take advantage of natural pig behavior to boost your gardening or crop growing efforts, secure fencing will be necessary, of course, to prevent escape and further tilling than you need. Contain pigs in the area in questions and watch as they till it in short order. Fencing needs to be ‘hog tight’ so they cannot go under, over, or through it. Electrically charged hot wire and wire mesh panels are both effective for this purpose and can be moved about and reused in other areas. Remember that as pigs till, they will have their snouts at ground level rooting about, which means that the bottom of your fence will need to be especially stable to prevent them from uprooting it and going under.
By using pigs as tool to aid you in your planting and growing efforts, you not only save your own time and energy but also boost theirs. Their bodies are then able feed on and benefit from items that might otherwise go to waste, or worse yet be consumed by scavengers not on your feed bill. As pigs process what they eat, they then leave behind fertilizer as they work. Thus, in addition to saving on labor and fuel costs, allowing pigs to till can save you precious feed and fertilizer dollars while leaving nothing for unwanted pests to feed upon which can ultimately deter such scavengers from coming around. All told, having pigs on the payroll is a win all around from the perspective of a farmer as well as the pigs gladly performing the tasks nature intended.