A great book - inspiring, lots of details and practical ideas you can implement on any scale

I spent an hour or two last night flipping through my latest library book, Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture, in awe of what this ‘radical’ farmer has achieved on his Austrian mountainside farm. Of particular interest to me was his section on pigs within his permaculture system, and much of what he’s written confirms my personal experiences with these animals.

Mr Holzer writes of his pigs:

For me there is no more versatile or more helpful an animal, I only need to give him the opportunity.

Check out the beautiful roundwood shelters that Sepp Holzer's animals get to enjoy - he says he can build on of these in a day!

His pigs enjoy a free-range life on the terraces of his farm, Krameterhof. They help by providing digging services, and require very little extra feed as they forage for their rations. The loosen soil in rocky areas where ploughs and other machinery would be ineffective, and apparently even help with pest control after they’ve developed a taste for snails.

One of Sepp Holzer's pigs enjoying a wallow. Mr Holzer keeps old breeds, such as Magalitza, Swabian-Hall Swine, Duroc, and Turopolje, as he finds they still have natural instincts which help them to be good workers on his farm. All images from http://www.krameterhof.at/en/

He notes that they really excel in orchard areas, clearing windfall fruit, which minimises fungal growth, and other potential diseases that fruit trees may be susceptible to. I too have found a marked improvement in the quality of our fruit, especially apples, in my orchard after keeping pigs in it during the windfall season, and the pigs don’t damage the trees in any way.

Pigs also serve as a good example of the cyclical nature of permaculture systems: the soil is prepared and fertilised by pigs, plants grow lush and healthy in it, windfall and roots remaining in the soil serve as feed – at the same time snails and unwanted insects like cockchafer larvae are eaten – and last of all I have the finest bacon from humanely kept animals.

I don’t know what cockchafer larvae are, but wholeheartedly agree with the rest of his statement!

I first heard of Mr Holzer and his style of farming by watching a documentary about him called Farming with Nature which is super inspiring: Here are the links to documentary on youtube videos (it’s in 4 parts)

 

 

 

 

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