by Trudy Stewart.
Pigs as the watering trough
Here at our 509 acre farm in Cordering, Western Australia my husband Steve and I aim to live a self sufficient life style without using chemicals, growth hormones or antibiotics, to make an income from our surplus produce and to nurture the environment. Our farm consists of 200 acres of natural bush, 200 acres of blue gum plantation which supplies us with a small income and 109 acres of pasture, stock yards, holding pens and a shearing and machinery shed.
We moved here from the city in October, 2012 without any experience other than a lot of internet research and a two day course in pig management which was what we decided would be our major source of income. Our decision to raise free range pigs was made purely on the basis of economics, being that pigs have 2 litters a year with an average of 8 piglets per litter. Our original plan was to sell our pork produce at farmers markets, but unfortunately the profit was only just enough to cover costs and provided very little income. We now sell live pigs but are finding it hard to find enough buyers.
On the farm we have the capacity to collect 135,000 litres of rain water, a 5 kilo watt on the grid solar system and heat our home with a slow combustion wood fire with wood sourced from the farm. In the future we would like to go off the grid and have our water heated by a solar water heater and in winter from the wood fire. Our 3 dams have yabbies (shell
fish) and we have an aquaponic system with silver perch, we produce all of our own meat with 17 sheep 9 of which are ewes and are currently in lamb, 21 pigs of which 17 are breeding sows with 5 being pregnant and 48 piglets. Our 5 chickens provide us with eggs and we aim to increase our laying stock so we can sell eggs at our stall, the 4 bee hives provide enough honey to sell as well. The vegetable garden is productive and expanding and our young orchard and a small young olive grove will supply us with fruit, nuts and oil in the near future. Our wish is to add a milking cow, some ducks, a rooster and we are undecided whether to get a milking goat. Any opinions on having a goat would be appreciated.
We used all of our savings in the first year and Steve is now working part time to supplement our income, we are downsizing our pig stocks as they are master escape artists and we don't have the time to maintain the fences. We will still sell live pigs along with our new plan to diversify and sell our other produce from a stall at our farm gate with payment being on a honour system basis. When everything doesn't go according to plan, don't get discouraged, change the plan, there are many opportunities out there, LIVE the DREAM with no regrets knowing you are making the world a better place for the generations to come.
Take care and if you like you can visit "Terra Inspirata" on Facebook.