At Great Southern Forestry and Great Southern Swine, forest-fed pork is a uniquely versatile avenue for raising domestic pigs and an equally powerful land management tool. At its simplest forest-fed pork involves the rearing of domestic feeder pigs in a high density rotational grazing space out in the woods of North Florida. Our pigs’ dietary needs are met through a combination of forage from the forest supplemented with high quality Non-GMO feed. They live in a quarter acre paddock which is rotated onto new ground once a week.
Forest-fed pigs consume nearly all manner of living matter within their browse height and into the upper layers of the soil profile. They are very effective at vegetation control and fuels reduction at or near the forest floor. As a result of their rooting the soil is aerated and bare mineral soil exposed which creates the ideal conditions for seeding in a cover crop or food plot for wildlife. Also, this style of pig management can be used for groundcover restoration projects and the creation of forest-wide silvopasture systems when coupled with timber stand improvement as needed.
We are constantly evaluating the utility domestic pigs including the opportunities and limitations for land management. We believe that the paddock size must be adjusted throughout the rotation to accommodate a certain number of various sized pigs to achieve the desired level of impact. Where vegetation reduction is an objective, the use of pigs is a more beneficial and safer use of the forest than spraying with industrial agricultural chemicals. Our pigs give undesired vegetation a purpose by providing food for the community and favorable conditions for hogs to grow.