Rare phenomenon: Twin calves born nine days apart

If twinning in buffaloes is a one-in-a-million chance, twin calves born several days apart from each other, according to animal scientists, could be one-in-a-trillion.

The rare phenomenon happened at the Philippine Carabao Center at Central Luzon State University (PCC-CLSU) farm.

Twin calves were born nine days apart from each other.

The first calf was born on July 25 at six in the morning, reported Dr. Apolinario Salazar, Jr., farm manager of PCC-CLSU.

On the night of the same day, the calf was separated from its mother and was given milk replacer for supplement. The mother, on the other hand, was joined with the other lactating dams in the barn. Lactating and pregnant cows usually have separate barns.

In the wee hours of August 3, around 3:30 a. m., the night shift caretaker, Dominador Gaspar, saw that one of the lactating dams gave birth. Dr. Salazar was informed right away.
When Dr. Salazar went to the farm to confirm the delivery, he was surprised to see that the buffalo that gave birth had the tag number 091494, indicating it was the same animal that gave birth nine days ago.

The phenomenon, which was immediately reported to PCC-CLSU’s center director Dr. Edwin Atabay and PCC executive director Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, drew the same reaction as that of Dr. Salazar’s.

“Pambihira! Ang galing! (It’s rare! That’s great!),” Dr. Cruz declared.

Dr. Salazar, who had been earlier engaged in PCC’s twinning project which employed the use of in-vitro-produced-vitrified embryos, said that this was the first time he saw this kind of occurrence among pregnant buffaloes.

Dr. Atabay, an animal breeding and reproduction expert, added that the twinning might have been caused by the release of two distinct oocytes that were both fertilized at two different mating times.

The dam weighs 500 kg and the calves, both males, are approximately 30 kg.

Dr. Atabay said that the dam was one of the 40 pregnant Brazilian murrah buffaloes that were brought to the farm from the quarantine site. This number was part of the 2,000 head imported from Brazil last year that were infused in small dairy farms in selected areas in Nueva Ecija.

The twin calves were named after their respective birth month, July and August.

The PCC-CLSU team is now doing further investigation as to the exact scientific basis of the phenomenon.

DA reaffirms full support to farmers and fisherfolk

The Department of Agriculture (DA) affirms its full support to farmers and fisherfolk in terms of a program that holistically looks into each segment of the production chain, including research and development as well as postharvest concerns.

This was emphasized by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in his message during the opening ceremony of the 7th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition at the SM Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City.

The event, which ran from August 11 to 14, was part of the 24th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), a DA-attached agency. It showcased technologies developed by DA-attached agencies and regional field units, state colleges and universities, and some stakeholders from the private sector.

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) was one of the exhibitors and presenter in a popular seminar. The agency highlighted in its display one of its champion dairy farmers such as Engr. Jaime Ramos of Talavera town in Nueva Ecija. Dairy products of smallhold dairy farmers in the province were also showcased.

“This is one venue that shows DA’s farm-to-table program that will make sure that we are giving our all-out support to our farmers and fishers from production to marketing of their produce,” Alcala said.

The annual technology forum and products exhibit highlight the role of research in developing technologies and products that are steadily gaining attention in the world market, he added.

On the other hand, Director Nicomedes Eleazar of the DA-BAR said the event is a venue to showcase agricultural products in the regions that have been outputs of diligent research.

“This event shows that research has now reached the mainstream that even shoppers appreciate its outputs,” he said.

Eleazar pointed that the national government recognizes the importance of research and development as shown by a projected increase to about a billion pesos for the R&D budget in 2012. He said this amount will be lodged next year with BAR as part of DA efforts aimed at further strengthening its research-related endeavors.

He added that BAR is now starting to call for papers based on their R&D agenda.