What they are really asking is how much damage are they going to inflict on my pastures?
That's a good question with no correct answer "except that depends."
It depends on how wet or dry the ground might be. What type of soil you're dealing with is another factor. The type and quality of forage available, coupled with how much or how little grain you are supplementing the pigs.
And last but not least, is the breed and age of hog you have running on the pasture.
I have read and spoke to farmers who say Tamworth hogs root more than other hogs they have had in the past. Sometimes they have other heritage breed pigs along with Tamworth and they say the Tamworth root more.
Tamworth pigs are very active compared to other breeds of swine I have raised. That probably has something to do with it. A hog laying around more probably won't root as much.
I'm not completely convinced they root more but one thing I am convinced of...all hogs root to some degree.
Then add to it that as they increase in weight they are walking around on four pretty small feet! If it's wet they are going to tear up your pasture!
My experience is they root more when it's wet so you're getting a double whammy! Walking around cuts up the sod and then they all have their noses buried about six inches deep!
One conclusion I've come to is you will be reseeding some parts of your pasture from time to time.
The best way to minimize pasture damage is to have a lot or two that you can move them to if it begins to rain long enough to saturate the pasture for a period of time.
Another thing to remember is that you must keep an eye on forage conditions in the pasture. Move them to new grass before they decide there is more to eat below the ground than above it!
A group of pigs on limited feed can take down a significant amount of forage in just a few days so it's critical to be ready to move when necessary. Don't wait to build more fence when they need moved. By the time you get it completed your pigs may have plowed the pasture they are in.
The key to successful pig pasturing is not to run more pigs on your farm than the grass can handle. How many pigs can an acre handle? Well that depends....
Maybe we'll talk about that sometime!
Until next time...