Tag Archives: joel-salatin

3 days at Polyface Farm

1306 Polyface - 01

It’s the pace of everything, that gets you most of all – everyone is busy – doing a task that needs to be done, right now, then walking purposefully to the next task, which also needs to be done.

Joel Salatin often describes the interaction between his rotational beef grazing and egg mobile systems as ‘ballet of the pasture’ – a slow dance of animals circling, shifting and moving in precise relation to each other, to create a symphony of regenerated land and outputs of ‘beyond organic’ protein.

What Nick witnessed in the time he was at Polyface this last week, however, was more a ballet of the entire farming system. But to a faster beat.  Continue reading

Joel Salatin NSW Masterclasses: the details

milkwoodpolyface YCF

We can’t wait to host Joel Salatin for 3 one-day masterclasses in February. This will be the first time that Joel will present the in-depth specifics of the various integrated animal systems of Polyface Farm to a NSW audience.

Leading on from our previous 2 years of working with Joel, we very much wanted to get specific with him for these masterclasses. The Polyface Farm animal systems are fantastic to look at from the outside, but what about all the little important details? How do you design for producing 200 clean eggs a day in the eggmobile laying boxes, so you don’t have to wash them all?  How to make your small farm systems cost-efficient enough to ensure you’re still farming in 2 years time, edging forwards with fertility and security?

So this time around, Joel is all about the detail. The three masterclasses are split into: You Can Farm (an overview of designing for successful small farm enterprise setup, including marketing and buying club systems), Pastured Poultry (egg laying systems, broiler systems, turkey systems, on-farm processing, direct marketing) and Pastured Beef + Pork (mob stocked beef systems, pigerator and pastured pork systems, direct marketing) Continue reading

Enter the egg mobile (start with what you’ve got)

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We’ve been researching egg mobile models for a good while now, in order to figure out how best to get our small (but growing) flock of layers rotating through our paddocks, enjoying fresh pasture and laying eggs aplenty. In the end, as with most things, it came down to working with what we’ve got.

Enter the Chalet. Or the Sherman, depending on who you talk to (in reference to the sherman tank, as this thing is robustly constructed). Nick’s dad Karl kindly built us this construction a few years back, with the intention to put broiler hens in it. Now Floyd has converted it to an egg mobile of sorts, it’s proving an awesome pastured poultry unit. Continue reading

Training the piglets to respect 2-strand electric fence

Figuring out the puzzle of successful pastured pigs has been interesting, but luckily we’ve got excellent mentors like Joel Salatin to help us along the way.

One technique Joel explained to us during his visit last year is how he trains his piglets to ‘respect the fence’ at an early age so you’re not chasing after runaway piggies. This year we got a chance to try it out and it’s proved a really useful technique – simple, and effective… Continue reading

Moving the Pigs at Polyface Farm

So what does moving a mob of pastured pigs look like, and how does it work? Our friend Derek has just finished up interning at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, and he sent us some photos of a recent ‘pig move’.

As you can see, this method of pastured/forested pig production is many worlds away from the process of raising industrial pork. It’s a great life for the pig, and their rootling nature means that, when well managed, they can regenerate ground as they go… Continue reading

Fancy 2 free tickets to Michael Pollan’s talk in Sydney?

The thing I like best about Michael Pollan is that he articulates many important points that need to be made in such an approachable way that, well, everyone gets it. That’s rare in a writer, and in a speaker. And he’s been doing it for quite some time now. About time he came to Sydney, really. Continue reading

Farmstead Meatsmith: Meat Cookery (an e-book)

Calling all meat eaters who are curious and committed to learning how to cook all parts of an animal in the name of ethics (produce no waste), flavor and, most importantly, adventure: Farmstead Meatsmith are writing a book on how the heck to cook all the tricky bits.

“If the pastured meat on your plate is dry and chewy, it is because it was cooked improperly, wasting the milky grass fat marbling it took the steer two years to develop. The worst of it is that poorly cooked pastured beef will taste no better, if not worse than the factory beef, and there can be no greater insult to the cow’s sacrifice and the farmer’s labor.

If we are going to ensure that pasturing livestock responsibly can endure, we have got to stop burning steaks.” Continue reading

Egg Mobiles I Have Loved…

An Egg Mobile is a movable chicken house designed to house laying hens at night, who by day cluck around on open pasture. Joel Salatin made them famous at Polyface Farms, but who invented the concept I do not know.

Egg mobiles are different from chicken tractors in that they are designed as part of a free-range chicken system where the hens can venture well beyond their house to the limits of whatever fences them in (commonly electric netting in a farm setting). They are a darn fine idea. Continue reading

Folks, This Aint Normal: Joel Salatin: Book Review

So here we have it. Folks, this ain’t normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World. At last, after 7 self-published books on everything from ground-breaking poultry systems to inter-generational farming strategies, Joel Salatin has finally written a book aimed fair and square at the mainstream.

A self-professed Christian Libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, Joel Salatin is one of a kind. His family enterprise, PolyFace Farms in the Shenandoah Valley of Virgina, USA, is a unique example of profitable family ‘beyond organic’ farming. But that’s not what this book is about. Continue reading

Why Joel Salatin is so excited by Pasture Cropping

Why was Joel Salatin so excited when we took him to visit Col Seis’s pasture cropping farm last year? I think it had to do with Joel wanting to close the loop on his regenerative farming enterprise by plugging one of the biggest holes Polyface Farm has: grain inputs for animals.

The idea of truly regenerative grain cropping within a mixed-farming system is really exciting. So we’re working with Col Seis to deliver a course on it:

>> Pasture Cropping Workshop: 15th October, Winona, Gulgong NSW.

It’s a chance to learn how to design and integrate regenerative cropping into a small farming enterprise that can produce grain for animals and/or people, while using the same paddocks for grazing, and building topsoil to boot. Continue reading


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