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A pastured-pig operation in the Mary Valley

SUSTAINABLE: Pigs graze the pastures at Tamworth Flyers, near Gympie, where owners Paul Stringer and Julian Maher try to follow organic principles.
SUSTAINABLE: Pigs graze the pastures at Tamworth Flyers, near Gympie, where owners Paul Stringer and Julian Maher try to follow organic principles. Peter And Bevly Hughes

AN INTERNET-based pastured pig business was the site of the latest farm walk, part of the Mary Valley Country Harvest project.

Tamworth Flyers, at Mothar Mountain outside Gympie, is operated by Julian Maher and Paul Stringer, who try to follow organic principles but would prefer to be sustainable rather than registered organic.

Mr Stringer said as much as possible of the pigs' diet was from grazing.

"The very dry weather last and early this year meant some grain supplement was required," he said.

"We will probably continue with that, to give pastures a better chance to recover."

Mr Stringer said all decisions were based on continuing to try to improve the fertility of the soil.

"The pigs are moved from paddock to paddock about monthly," he said.

Pigs gathered most of their food from digging in the soil, so plants that produced tubers were a favoured food but soil fungi of various types was also eaten during grazing.

As well as pasture, each paddock was planted with strips or connected circles of arrowroot, taro, cassava, bananas and sweet potato.

Because pigs did not sweat, Mr Stringer said shade - often banana trees, from which fruit was also eaten - was provided, along with muddy patches for cooling.

"A good wallow (in mud) on a hot day provides an insulating layer," he said.

Pigs were ready for sale at 13 months and about 70kg. From the abattoir they went to Kandanga Butchery to be prepared for clients. Production was about 40 pigs a year from two sows and a boar but as food supplies stabilised, output would increase.

Topics:  livestock mary valley pigs