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What's Happening at Maple Hill Farm!

Posted 7/31/2017 5:22pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

Here at Maple Hill Farm, we raise our hogs on pasture when it is available. Most folks don’t realize hogs eat grass. Our animals enjoy eating legumes and grasses as part of their diet. We try to bale enough hay for them to continue to provide “baled pasture” for the times of the year when there is not pasture available to them. Typically, we need three days of no rain to get hay baled; one day to cut the hay and two days to dry. Up until this week, we have not had those three days of no rain in a row. The days ahead look promising, so the plan is to get all our haying done in the upcoming week. We are almost exactly a month late in getting our hay put up this year, a new record for us!

The rye we have planted is nearly ready to combine. Rye is used on our farm to mill into rye flour and also as a small portion of our hog feed. This years’ crop of rye looks like it could be one of our best ever. This is surprising since the plants were under tremendous stress due to a very wet spring.

Our corn crop is looking very good this year even though we were forced to plant two weeks later than normal due to wet conditions. Corn makes up the bulk of the feed our hogs consume, so it is critical that we get a good crop. We grow field peas, which are high in protein, as another part of our hog feed. It appears we may have a bumper crop this year. Most farms use soybeans as a protein source, which requires roasting to make them palatable. For our farm, peas seem the better option since they grow well in our climate and also do not require roasting which reduces some of the energy input needed to produce feed. We have found that oats do very well on most of our soils, and have increased the acreage grown this year. We expect to be combining oats in a couple of weeks to use as feed. The straw from the oats is one of the best to use for bedding our animals in winter months. Another important small grain we grow is spring wheat. We have an on-farm flour mill and we mill much of the wheat we grow into whole wheat flour. You can try out our flour by ordering through the Lake Superior CSA Special Order. We sell our flour to several bakeries, and they all comment on the exception flavor profile of our stone ground flour. Wheat not used for milling ends up as hog feed. Nothing is wasted on a farm! One real side benefit of growing small grains is the straw that is produced. Nothing beats straw for bedding livestock. I enjoy seeing baby pigs burrow into the straw in cold weather knowing that no matter how cold it gets they will be comfortable.

We hope you are enjoying this CSA season and the summer. Tom, Connie and Matt Cogger