Mul­ti­plier Buf­falo Dairy Mul­ti­plier Farms is a pro­gram be­ing im­ple­mented by the Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter and el­i­gi­ble en­trepreneurs. If you are el­i­gi­ble, this could be a very good op­por­tu­nity to get in on a prof­itable scheme.

MUL­TI­PLY­ING DAIRY BUF­FALO-BASED OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES

Agriculture - - Contents - BY KHRIZIE EVERT M. PADRE

24 page

THE CON­TIN­U­ING EF­FORTS of the Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter (PCC) to en­cour­age Filipino farm­ers to ven­ture into carabao-rais­ing and carabao-based en­ter­prises has given rise to a new kind of part­ner­ship with pri­vate en­trepreneurs who have the ca­pac­ity and will­ing­ness to help pur­sue the goals of the agency. Th­ese part­ner­ships are man­i­fested in the Dairy Buf­falo Mul­ti­plier Farm (DBMF) pro­ject, which, from in­di­ca­tions, is now well on its way to ex­pan­sion.

In the town of Javier, Leyte, 73 kilo­me­ters south of Ta­cloban City, one can find the coun­try’s first DBMF, which was es­tab­lished by pro­po­nent-co­op­er­a­tor Michael Javier on a fourhectare plot of land in Si­tio Ma­pula, Zone II af­ter en­ter­ing into a DBMF agree­ment with the PCC.

Dr. Ar­nel N. Del Barrio, PCC act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, to­gether with the staff of PCC at Visayas State Univer­sity

(PCC-VSU) in Bay­bay, Leyte, of­fi­cially turned over 50 Ital­ian Mur­rah heifers in a cer­e­mony held in late 2014, mark­ing the of­fi­cial launch of the coun­try’s first DBMF pro­ject.

Del Barrio ex­plained that the mul­ti­plier farm is an­other strat­egy aimed at in­creas­ing the pop­u­la­tion of dairy buf­fa­los and its breeder base, im­prove an­i­mal pro­duc­tiv­ity in or­der to help en­sure the avail­abil­ity of milk, and serve as a demon­stra­tion

farm for farmer-part­ners and stake­hold­ers for bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion of buf­falo-based en­ter­prises through dairy­ing.

He added that the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture sup­ports the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the DBMF op­er­a­tion scheme as it be­lieves that this pro­ject can con­trib­ute sub­stan­tially to the sus­tain­able growth of the Philip­pine dairy in­dus­try and cre­ate more liveli­hood op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Op­er­at­ing a DBMF ba­si­cally in­volves breed­ing, milk pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing, and es­tab­lish­ing a sus­tain­able dairy en­ter­prise. The cov­er­ing con­tract is awarded to qual­i­fied farmer-trustees, and this gives them ac­cess to good qual­ity an­i­mals and tech­ni­cal sup­port for carabao pro­duc­tion, breed­ing, and mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Un­der the ap­pli­ca­ble scheme, the PCC en­trusts a num­ber of im­ported or is­land-born pure­bred heifer an­i­mals to the DBMF part­ner, de­pend­ing on his or her ca­pa­bil­ity to care for th­ese. The an­i­mals are to be paid for within an eight-year pe­riod.

The first pay­ment, in the form of heifers, com­mences within or at the end of the fourth year of the con­tract, and the last pay­ment is within or at the end of the eighth year of the con­tract. The heifer should be at least 14 months of age, weigh­ing not less than 220 kilo­grams, and pos­sess­ing the av­er­age body size for its age.

A fourth-class mu­nic­i­pal­ity with 28 barangays, most of the house­holds in Javier town are en­gaged in corn, abaca, and co­conut plant­ing. Mayor Leonardo Javier Jr. said that the DBMF pro­ject in his town will trans­late into eco­nomic ben­e­fits for his con­stituents. What does this mul­ti­plier farm mean to the town? “It means we will have milk, so we will have [a source of] in­come. We will have or­ganic fer­til­iz­ers from the an­i­mal ma­nure. We will ben­e­fit a lot,” he said in his mes­sage dur­ing the turnover cer­e­mony.

DAIRY FARM MAN­AGE­MENT It was not smooth sail­ing at the start.

The Javier DBMF per­son­nel had to work dou­ble time to set up the re­quired hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties for the an­i­mals. For two weeks, the con­struc­tion work for the fa­cil­i­ties were in full swing. In­ten­sive hands-on train­ing ses­sions were also held so that the per­son­nel could fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with the ac­tual man­age­ment of the dairy an­i­mals.

The 50 Ital­ian Mur­rah heifers ar­rived at the farm on Oc­to­ber 31, 2014. The an­i­mals were fed with fresh napier four times a day. The work­ers also en­gaged in silage-mak­ing to en­sure the avail­abil­ity of a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of feed for the an­i­mals.

Ac­cord­ing to Dario Divino, Javier DBMF su­per­vi­sor, the chal­lenge they con­fronted was how to keep the an­i­mals healthy and dis­ease-free. “We mon­i­tored the an­i­mals 24 hours a day. We di­vided [our 12 staff mem­bers] into two groups: [the] day shift is in charge of feed­ing and health mon­i­tor­ing of the an­i­mals while the night shift con­ducts heat de­tec­tion,” said Divino.

On the part of PCC at VSU, its cen­ter di­rec­tor, Dr. Julius Abela, in­sists upon close health mon­i­tor­ing and that tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to the farm is al­ways at hand. The cen­ter’s staff also as­sisted in the plant­ing and grow­ing of napier grass in the for­age ar­eas.

The farm uses ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion for breed­ing man­age­ment. Out of the 30 an­i­mals ar­ti­fi­cially in­sem­i­nated, a dam gave birth to a fe­male calf in Au­gust 2015. Ad­di­tional births are ex­pected in the fu­ture.

The farm also prac­tices the use of coco peat as an­i­mal bed­ding; it also helps lessen foul smells on the dairy farm while help­ing keep the pens clean and dry. The coco peat pri­mar­ily con­sists of coir fiber pith or coir dust, which is ob­tained by pro­cess­ing co­conut husk and re­mov­ing the long fibers. It can hold large quan­ti­ties of wa­ter, just like a sponge. “Twice a day, af­ter clean­ing the area, we scat­ter the coco peats on the pens,” Divino said.

“The an­i­mal wastes that we col­lect ev­ery day are trans­formed into or­ganic fer­til­izer, which we ap­ply to our for­age area,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Divino, the DBMF man­age­ment is un­der­tak­ing the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions for the con­struc­tion of the farm’s milk­ing par­lor and pro­cess­ing plant to pre­pare for the much-an­tic­i­pated fu­ture milk­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of the farm. The Javier DBMF man­age­ment will also adopt the PCC “paiwi sys­tem” for an­i­mal re-dis­per­sal in the com­mu­nity. “The farm’s role is to mul­ti­ply the an­i­mal stocks and even­tu­ally dis­trib­ute the calves pro­duced to qual­i­fied farm­ers in our ar­eas as shared an­i­mals. We will help the farm­ers…be­come our busi­ness part­ners. Milk col­lected from the an­i­mals that we en­trusted to them will be col­lected or de­liv­ered to us,” Divino said.

The farm, which aims to raise its herd up to 100 head over the next few years, in­tends to mar­ket the pro­cessed prod­ucts through the pop­u­lar An­dok’s chain of stores, a fam­ily busi­ness owned by the Javiers.

OTHER ADOPTERS Two other DBMF pro­po­nent-oper­a­tors have been added to the list of qual­i­fied ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the pro­gram. Both in Tar­lac, the new DBFMs are op­er­ated by Al­fredo Be­len Farm and RG Agustin Dairy Farm.

Al­fredo Be­len, owner of the Be­len Farm in Ma­gao, Con­cep­cion, Tar­lac, was en­trusted with 40 head of Ital­ian Mur­rah heifers in De­cem­ber 2014. To date, 11 calves have been pro­duced and six of the breed­able buf­faloes were con­firmed to be preg­nant.

The turnover of the mul­ti­plier dairy mod­ule to RG Agustin Mul­ti­plier Farm in Tam­bugan, Camil­ing, Tar­lac was done dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the PCC’s Live­stock In­no­va­tions and Biotech­nol­ogy (LIB) com­plex in March 2015. The 25-head Ital­ian Mur­rah heifers were awarded to Rom­mel Agustin, owner of RG Agustin Dairy Farm. As of Septem­ber 2015, one fe­male calf had been pro­duced.

In the days ahead, with the three DBFMs serv­ing as fore­run­ners, PCC hopes to see more dairy buf­falo mul­ti­plier farms in other parts of the coun­try.

Dr. Julius Abela (in the dark blue polo shirt), Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter di­rec­tor at Visayas State Univer­sity (PCC-VSU) in Bay­bay City, Leyte, in­spects the herd of Ital­ian mur­rah heifers en­trusted to the pro­po­nent-co­op­er­a­tor of the coun­try’s first Dairy Buf­falo Mul­ti­plier Farm (DBMF), which is based in Javier, Leyte.

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