DA DONATES R8.4- M MACHINERY FOR SILAGE MAKING
NOT A FEW PEOPLE are complaining about the high prices of beef in the market. Of course, the reason is that there is not enough production of cattle in the farms. Backyard farmers are taking care of just one or two head for fattening. And one major reason is that they don’t have enough feeds to give to their animals, especially during the dry summer months.
One possible solution to the lack of feed is to encourage agribusiness investors to go into mechanized production of silage so that the product could be produced in big volumes at an affordable price. Teaching the ordinary farmers to make silage for their own use will most probably be not sustainable. One reason is that, they don’t have enough raw materials like grasses, corn stover, and other crops that are available year-round.
Moreover, smallhold farmers will only have manual labor to do the planting, harvesting, shredding, and other chores needed in silage production. Chopping the corn stover—the dried ones as well as the green corn stalks—would be very slow, laborious, and expensive. That’s because, manual labor is getting more costly, and there are not enough laborers available in the farms.
GOVERNMENT IS MOVING – Of course, we were delighted to learn that the Department of Agriculture has recognized the problem and is doing something about it. We learned that the DA has recently delivered R8.4- million worth of farm machinery and equipment purposely to assist a group in Central Luzon – Tarlac and Pangasinan – to undertake mechanized silage making.
The group consists of three parties. These include the members of a cooperative in Pangasinan who are mostly OFWs who will plant corn in their farms. The other party is the Right Agri of Isabela headed by Eugene Gabriel. Gabriel’s group consists of experts in farm mechanization. Right Agri will do the land preparation for the farmers, plant the seeds by machine, do the harvesting, and shredding of the raw materials. Right Agri will also haul the harvested raw materials to the processing plant in Tarlac which is under the care of Dr. Ronaldo Sumaoang. Right Agri is also responsible for marketing in collaboration with Dr. Sumaoang.
The farmers are assured of a reasonable income because Right Agri will buy all their production of green corn (75 days old) at R1 per kilo. One hectare could yield from 70 to 80 tons per hectare, which
means a gross of R70,000 to R80,000. From this, the cost of land preparation, seeds and fertilizer will be deducted. It is estimated that this will not exceed R20,000. So there’s a reasonable margin for the farmers.
Dr. Sumaoang is a microbiologist who studied fermentation technology in Germany and has been using his expertise in producing silage for his own sheep. He is also manufacturing fermented food products for a big chain of supermarket and is also a manufacturer of organic fertilizer.
Dr. Sumaoang does the formulation of the right mix of fermentation materials to maximize the efficacy of the silage produced. Two types of silage are produced. One is called the ordinary kind because only the shredded raw materials and the fermenting agents are applied. On the other hand, they also manufacture a formulation called Silage Premium. This is produced with the addition of extra sources of protein like soya and copra meal.
In recent trials, the Silage Premium has been proven to boost the growth of the animals and has also enhanced milk production in dairy cows. The digestibility of Silage Premium is enhanced by the inclusion of enzymes and beneficial microorganisms so that the nutrients in the feed is readily absorbed by the animals, leading to faster growth and higher productivity.
In the project in Pangasinan, corn is the target as raw material. Both the dried corn stover from which mature ears were harvested can be used for silage making. Of course, immature corn (75 days old with developed but immature ears) is the other target raw material. The corn farmers make money selling their green corn plants to Right Agri and Dr. Sumaoang.
Silage can be fed to cattle (beef and dairy) sheep and goats. A black pig farmer is also using silage to feed his animals. With affordable silage available throughout the year, backyard farmers will be able to take care of more cattle and other ruminants, thus helping boost the country’s animal population.
By the way, Right Agri has been producing silage for several years now, using corn stalks in Isabela. Because Isabela is far from the customers in Central and Southern Luzon, they decided to partner with Dr. Sumaoang so the processing plant could be in Tarlac which has started to operate recently.— ZAC B. SARIAN
This machine harvests and shreds the grass at the same time.
More calves can be taken care of by farmers with feed available year -round.
Dr. Rene Sumaoang and his sheep that are fed with silage.
Cows like this can benefit from silage.
Goats also love silage.
Buffalo feeding on silage.
Dairy cows feeding on corn silage.
Dry corn stover can also be made into silage.
Eugene Gabriel checking corn silage.