The ‘Wagyu Of Pork’- What Are Berkshire Pigs?

by Olivia McCrimmon December 05, 2022 2 min read

The ‘Wagyu Of Pork’- What Are Berkshire Pigs?

Berkshire pigs are one of the oldest breeds in England. Thought to have originated in Reading, the county seat of Berkshire, this heritage breed is also referred to as ‘the Wagyu of pork’ for the quality of its meat. 

Pink-hued and heavily marbled, Berkshire pork is prized for juiciness, tenderness, and flavour, a rich, savoury taste with a noticeably sweet finish.

The pigs themselves are characterised by black hair tipped with white on the snout, tail and trotters, usually with a white ‘blaze’ on the face as well. Because of their dark colouring, Berkshire pigs don’t get sunburnt, which makes this English breed surprisingly suitable for raising in the Australian sun.

And that’s just what farmers Jason & Belinda of McIvor Farm do in Tooborac, Victoria. Their herd of award-winning Berkshire pigs are classified ‘beyond free-range’. 

This is different from your standard ‘free-range’. Normal ‘free-range’ only benefits the animals, not the environment. You can let pigs roam in a big paddock, but if they stay there for too long the ground will compact and manure will build up, which isn’t good for the land. 

McIvor Farm practices ‘regenerative farming’ techniques, which ‘replicates nature’ and takes a holistic approach to promoting the welfare of both the land and the animals. 

Their beyond free-range herds are rotated around expansive paddocks on an 18-month cycle to allow the land to heal and regenerate between grazing periods, after the pigs have rooted around in and aerated the soil, but before they compact the earth and leave too much manure.

Thanks to Belinda’s 10+ years in the animal feed industry and studies in animal nutrition, McIvor Farm’s herd enjoy a balanced diet of fresh grass, turnips, radishes, and a 100% Australian Grain & Protein mix with vitamins, minerals, vegetable proteins and herbs for gut health. 

Overall, their unparalleled animal husbandry shows through in the numerous awards that their pigs have won!

Because of its high fat content, Berkshire pork is ideal for high-temperature cooking and long, slow cooking, as well as the best crackle you’ve ever made. Here are our tips for maximising your Berkshire pork crackle: