We consider ourselves to be non-certified organic farmers employing many biodynamic principles. We feed our pigs and chickens from several sources. Firstly they get a mixture of our own grains, which do not meet human testing standards as well as cleanings from our milling and dehulling. Secondly, we supplement the protein of our grains by adding lots of sprouted barley mash from a local brewery. Thirdly, we are also adding some powdered whey from a nearby dairy. Finally, we purchase some non GMO conventional complete ration to make up for all the other deficiencies from our other sources. One of the reasons we have the animals is to produce our own composted and well balanced manure for the grain fields.
Why not feed certified organic? Cause I don’t believe in it. When I started farming grain, I thought I could compete with and produce grain and sell into the organic feed system. I quickly realized that growing organically is roughly 3 times the work and yields half. That is 6 fold. Organic Feed is double the price of conventional. Seriously, compare those two numbers. 6 vs 2. Yes, there are no chemical sprays or fertilizers, but organic fertilizer actually costs more and herbicides are very cheap, especially for GMO Roundup.
The real question is why is organic feed so cheap. If you cannot admit that, you’ve never grown organic grain. I was naive and did not know better at one time. Why? is the question you have to ask. Reason is, most organic feed is from Turkey, China and India. In fact Turkey produces twice as much organic feed as it grows. Amazing. I will generously concede that all that grain is grown organically, which is a very generous concession. I will not concede that all the bunker crude to get it here in ships does not defeat all the benefit of the organic grain. If a barrel of grain needs a barrel of oil to get it here, it should be deemed not organic.
Remember, If you think organic feed is expensive, you have never grown it. It should be at least double of what it is right now.
The next question you have to ask is why do I grow organic grain and how do I make a living at it. I do so, because I retail. My retail costs cover my cost of production handily. Big difference between wholesale feed and retail food.
By underseeding all our grains with double cut red clover after the third cultivation, we are able to keep nitrogen-fixating legumes in our crop rotation. We normally take off one cut of hay for the animals and cut two more times, leaving the second and third cuts for mulch (natural fertilizer). From a predator point of view, we are able to raise chickens on pasture, because our dog seeks out predators outside the pasture and the workhorse scares away anything inside the pasture. His barking, and her galloping feet are enough to scare even the most chicken loving hungry predators away.