Sun, Sep 17|
Converting Underutilized Forested Areas to Silvopasture Using Swine
Lessons learned from year 1 of a 2 year project
Time & Location
Sep 17, 2023, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Skyline Pastures, 96 Skyline Dr, Mohrsville, PA 19541, USA
About the event
Army National Guard soldier Charles Lafferty and his wife Tanya, who are on a mission to raise the highest quality meats in the most natural way possible, will host. The Laffertys’ livestock are raised outdoors where they can enjoy a constant supply of natural forage and sunlight.
Charles received funding from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE SARE) to pilot a project at his farm in Berks County. SARE supports farmers in putting principles of sustainable agriculture into practice on farms and ranches. The project seeks to answer the question of whether under-utilized forest or brush areas that currently serve only as windbreaks and dividers for row-cropped fields can be effectively managed for pastured swine.
The goal of the two-year undertaking is to create a replicable system for farmers to use wooded areas of their farms to raise pigs, improve fertility in wooded areas, increase productivity, and add a profitable enterprise to their existing businesses. At the September 17 event at Skyline Pastures, attendees will walk the land to see the year one progress, ask questions, and learn how the success will be measured.
Joining Charles will be John Hopkins, who is providing technical guidance for the project. A professional forester and grass farmer, Hopkinss has 35 years experience developing pastures and silvopastures at Forks Farm. Hopkins will document outcomes, and make recommendations for managing the forest overstory and understory in order to maximize solar gain and forage production.
Workshop attendees will learn how to conduct a basic forest inventory, how to measure forest density, and how density affects forage production in a silvopasture system. Also on the agenda is methods of managing forest overstory to maximize solar gain for improved tree growth and improved forage production.