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Porcus Natura

A 700-hectares regenerative farm that integrates oak trees and animals

Porcus Natura is an extensive regenerative farm implementing agrosilvopastoril integration of oak trees with various farm animals. By applying rotational grazing techniques on an area of 700 hectares, pigs, cows, goats and sheep are let free “for them to work  and improve the soils”.

The owner, Francisco Alves, proudly mantains the family tradition by breeding Alentejo pigs. The black Alentejano pig  spends 18 to 24 months feeding on pasture and acorns, which give the meat its incomparable taste due to the high content on oleic acids.

Owner: Francisco Alves

Location: Serra de Monfurado, Évora, Portugal

Produce: Porc products: tenderloin, prey, feather, or, among the cured, ham, palette or loin; Angus and Merina cattle and serpentina goats

How Do They Contribute to a Better Climate?

Rotational grazing with multiple animal species

The integration of multiple species including pigs, sheep and cows, into the regenerative agrosilopastoril system allows the regenerate the soil much easier

Happy life for Pigs

Francisco feels very privileged to breed Alentejo pigs as his family has done for generations, and ensures good living standards for the pigs. A happy life for pigs is his family secret for the exquisite aroma and flavor of his products

Breeding and protecting endemic tree species

Francisco developed a protection system that allows these trees to grow tall. Young trees require special protection during the first 7 to 10 years. As their height does not exceed 1,5 meters, they might be smashed by animals.

about the farm

Francisco, originally from Alentejo, has been working in the region for the last 20 years. In his project, Porc du Natura, his goal is the integration of agrosilvopastoril systems with Portuguese tree species in a dynamic way which allows beneficial synergies in the soil and the system as a whole.

“We work with multi-species, i.e pigs, cows, sheep and goats, because is better for biomass production”. Integrating various species makes most sense. For instance, goats eat what the cows don’t eat. Pigs help till the soil, without impacting soil, while cows are heavy and compact soil. Cows, however, are essential for soil improvement in short time. Sheep are best for fertilising the soil.

Portugal has seen a quick decline in native oat tree species at a rate of 5,000 ha/year. “We are still in time to act upon this and recover this species” states Francisco. For this, we created a tree protection scheme. Given that young trees, from the age of 4 to 6 years, require the right density of grazing, not too much not too little. This means, that if we put a big number of cows per hectare, they can break the young trees. In our system we have 200 years-old trees, but also young ones, 3 to 5 years of age. As young trees grow bigger to around 1-1.5 mts, protection must be ensured during the first 7 to 10 years.

 

What else is going on?

Mantaining regional traditions alive

Porcus Natura works to preserve the breed of black Alentejano pig, descendsants from the Iberian line of the southern wild boar. Unlike cows, pigs are great for tilling the soil without compacting it, thus are essential elements in the system

A unique ecosystem for Alentejo pigs

These cork and holm oaks tree farms are unique to Portugal and Spain and offer excellent conditions for breeding Alentejo pigs. Here, pigs can roam under the trees looking for acorns and pasture

Synergies on the landscape

Each of the animals on the farm fulfills a vital role in the ecosystem: pigs till the soil without impacting soil, cows provide dung for improving in short time, while sheep are best for fertilising the soil
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