Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, November 16, 2012

That'll Do Pig

I'd say this pig is just about ready......

And if you want to get all arty you can interpret this picture as my shadow and the pig melding into one... the pig becomes me.... ha! Not really! Get in my belly, pig! I need me some bacon!

I'll have to check with my expert pig-weight-guesser but I suspect this pig is about 230-250lbs. So its about time. Normally we like to grow out pigs closer to 300lbs, and more like 320lbs, for the most glorious amount of bacon. But wow, we are getting crushed by feed prices this year.

You know I've been bellyaching about the drought and how its going to impact food prices overall...thanks in part to ridiculous regulations about how a certain percentage of the harvest will have to go to fuel. Well, friend, if you think that's all a lot of talk then buckle up and prepare for next spring.

To put it in context, normally feed prices drop about this time of year. They haven't. A couple years ago we could expect to pay less than $4 for a 50lbs bag of corn. Today's price is over $9. But that's nothing compared to my shock of when I picked up a bag of feed for the meat chickens... $16!! I nearly fell right over. I remember $8 for chick feed and $12 just doesn't seem that bad right now.

What all this means is that producers are paying a lot more for whatever food is the in pipeline and they will be looking to you as the consumer to pick up the tab.

Its already outrageous. Friend, to put it plainly... we don't understand how regular people make it. I was in the store trying to find a cheap package of meat a couple weeks ago. I needed special one time snacks for the dogs and figured I could find a $3 or $4 package of whatever. The cheapest I could find was not even a pound of "stir fry beef" that was $4.54...and that was a red tagged mark down from over $6!

To be sure I don't frequent the meat counter but wow! We are so glad we don't have to buy many groceries. I stood there wondering how all the regular people could even afford to buy anything. All we normally buy is catfood, chips, and beer. I couldn't imagine having to fill a cart of stuff we make ourselves.

And don't think you are going to get off easy by just not eating meat. What makes you think that fuel, seed, or fertilizer prices are any lower for the vegan options? No sir.  Think that fruity yogurt-like-substance is gonna still be a deal? Not when I'm seeing hay priced at $9 a bale when it should be $4.50 tops. Dairy prices will be hit hard too.

Any body see turkeys on sale for $4 this year? The best we've seen is $0.78/pound and they are doing their best to make it sound like a deal. I can't imagine what it will be like next year. As it is, this year I guarantee you we are having a pork roast for our turkey day, probably smoked like this.

So while we cringe every time we go to the feed store...and frankly we just resolve to do more fencing and have everyone do more free ranging... we can't imagine what grocery prices are going to be like when this expensively raised food hits the stores in the next couple of months.

We are taking action now by sending this little porker to the freezer on our next cold day. This will cut our feed bill and even tho we won't be getting the maximum amount of meat, we'll still do alright. And we will be thanking our lucky stars every time we walk thru the meat section and see all the regular people crying at the beef or pork case. At least we won't have a bacon shortage.

That's the way of it, friends. Today its all about getting the troops out and about to free range as long as we still have the good weather. I suspect we'll be moving the meat chickens into a different yard so they can meat around and free range their own supper. This business about $16 a bag of feed is for the birds!

Happy Friday everyone! Anyone else scheduling a butcher day?


stace41971 said...

We are! We have 3 pigs that need to be put into the freezer...another 3 to grow out...and two more litters due in Jan/Feb. I hope people don't mind paying more this spring for piglets...with the price of grain I'm going to have to increase the price to just break even :/ Of course if no one wants to buy them, then I guess they'll just have to go into my freezer :)

Heavens Door Acres said...

I can SO relate on the feed prices. I bite the bullet every time I go to the mill. YIKES. Our little porker is only running MAYBE 150...no way NEAR the size to butcher...I mean, if we want bacon, AND WE DO!!! We have already had too many hard freezes to get "free pumpkins" Glad I got the truckload I did while I could! Now, to be scavenging in the corn field next to me...to see what I can pick up, just to help a little on feed. At this rate, I see us eating a LOT of chicken, and maybe a few little tiny call ducks. Tighten the belt only goes so far...when you hit bone, you can't tighten any more. *sigh*

Tombstone Livestock said...

Once they get us paying those high feed prices I don't see it coming down anytime. Hay in California is between $12 - $17 a bale, 50 pound bag of pig food is over $15. Supposed to have a chance of one inch of rain this weekend, that may get the pastures to sprout some grass. I don't know how families with children are handling the high grocery prices.

Misty Pines Homestead said...

I don't see how people are going to make either.I got at least another year or so to get my garden growing and chickens put in.In the mean time i have to depend on the grocery store and it's not going to be pretty!

Carolyn said...

Whole corn is $12 for 50# here.
I still have ten Creepy Meats (I LOVE that term!!) to butcher, but they aren't quite up to weight yet, but I can't afford to feed them anymore. Once we run out of scraps around the house, they HAVE to go into the freezer, underweight or not.

Ann from KY said...

Yes, I know about the feed! Just paid $10.45 for a 50 lb bag of whole kernel corn here in Northern KY.
We didn't do pigs this year because of the expense. Passed on the meat chickens because of it too. Budget is just way too tight. Boys are deer hunting and we have a steer. That's just going to have to do. I found a catalog called waltons and they sell a cure that makes deer meat taste like bacon. so I need to try that!!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thats the best thing about raising your own, Stacy, is that you can eat your extras! :-D

Yep HDA, you can only tighten the belt so far. But at least we are making it work. I dont understand how normal people make do.

Tombstone, those prices are crazy. I dont know how folks with kids do it either.

Great work AnnNF! every little bit helps!

Carolyn, we are all eating "lean meat" these days... at some point you just have to say "good enough is good enough."

Wow, Ann, please let us know how that venison bacon turns out. And yep I think a lot of folks will be hunting this season.

Unknown said...

Our chicken feed and scratch mix is up too, luckily we aren't heavy meat eaters so we do pretty well at the grocery store. We also don't eat a lot of junk food. I see people loading up on boxed this and that and I just cringe. I made sour cream noodels the other night, easy! Cook egg noodles til done, add sour cream, salt and chives, stir and done! Cheap and tasty. I'm wondering what our checken feed will be by spring? Luckily our egg sales pretty much cover that and then some...

Teri said...

I bought a bag of feed for my meaties the other day and about had a stroke - $19 ! !

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