When the registered Meishan came out of the research centers in the fall of 2016.....
There was no proven method to raise them on pasture.
In fact, the foundation herd had only known life inside research facilities.
There was no info, at the time, about what I was embarking on, that I could find.
I remember thinking that we had so much to learn.....
I threw everything at them that I had learned from raising large breed crosses, including the kitchen sink, initially. Then, my processor told me that the carcasses were 'dripping in fat.'
OK. I'll adjust.
From there, I settled on 4 pounds of feed per day per hog.
The feed needed to be a 'dry' feed and they didn't need supplemental feeds like those large breed/ fast growing hogs used. (Adding candy and nuts to that feed is common here.)
What's a dry feed? Simple - it's not coated in molasses or something sticky and sugar filled to entice them to eat.
Up until last year, I kept them on that 4 pounds per day per hog.
Then, I decided to try something else.
3 pounds per day per hog, for the life of the hog.
I really like it! The bacon was a little leaner and there is less fat overall. Still enough for me to use what's there in my retail store. But, less.
This is a win. A win for the Meishan in appealing to more people!
I do raise my hogs on pasture. There's always a forage option for them. Be it grass or hay or both, depending on the season. They're never really out of food.
In feeding a pound a day less, I found that they weren't as lazy like this. They were meeting me at the feed pan daily instead of just lounging around. This was an improvement too.
More movement means a better final result, imo.
Let's talk about the numbers though...as of the writing of this blog, my landed feed cost per pound is $0.42. (Landed meaning the delivery fee included.) Multiply that by 365 days for a 1 year grow out and that's a savings per carcass of $153.30, or $176.40 at the 14 months I try to wait and process them at now.
There is some advice that goes with this though.....
Feed a quality feed.
If you're feeding a cheap feed, it probably has cheap ingredients and it will effect your final product.....ask me how I know.....
So what do you think? How much are you feeding your Meishan?
Pic Below: Hog grown on 3 pounds per day processed 7/23/23. Hanging weight is 253 pounds @ 1 year old. (DOB 7/17/22) Not only is he part of the new feed plan, he's also part of the new direction on my farm - the ideal meat hog for the registered Meishan. I'm REALLY proud of him!