Farmers gain extra knowledge in PCC Farmers Field Day

Dairy farmers from various cooperatives in Nueva Ecija gained extra knowledge and skills on proper buffalo production and management during a Farmers’ Field Day conducted by the PCC on July 25.

The activity was meant to promote interaction among the agency’s front liners, researchers and PCC-assisted dairy farmers to discuss issues about dairying and to have a clear understanding on how to improve the farmers’ productivity, Conrado P. Penuliar, a staff member of the PCC human resource management section, said.

The field day was held at the PCC Gene Pool in the Science of Muñoz with 47 farmers and 31 staff of PCC as participants. The event them was “Kaalaman sa Dairying, ating Pagyamanin (Enriching Knowledge in Dairying)”.

The farmers came from the Bagong Pag-asa Kooperatiba ng Bantug, Talavera, Makabagong Pag-asa ng MPC, Sipbupco MPC, Pulong Buli PMPC, Green Leaves Credit Cooperative, Eastern PMPC, PAO Producers Coop, Bagong Pag-asa ng Magsasaka sa Cabiao, Kapitbahayan ng Mabini, and the Mamandil Coop.

Dr. Daniel Aquino, PCC national nutrition coordinator, and Dr. Roger Cuyno, a former professor of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), served as resource speaker and support speaker, respectively.

Aquino’s presentation cum demonstration focused on two vital aspects in dairy buffalo production: Artificial Calf Rearing (ACR) and Total Mixed Ration (TMR).

ACR involves the formulation and feeding of a milk replacer to a calf from one week of age to weaning 90 days. The calf is trained first to suck or lick the middle finger to simulate its mother’s teats until it is ready for bottle-feeding and eventually pail feeding.

TMR, on the other hand, is the blending of all the buffaloes’ feed ingredients, which are properly apportioned into a complete ration that can provide adequate nourishment to the dairy buffaloes. It consists of forages, concentrates, mineral mix, vitamins and feed additives, which can significantly improve the production performance of buffaloes.

“As long as you give the complete nutrients needed by the dairy buffaloes, they can give you more than your expected milk yield every day,” Aquino stated.

After the demonstration, an open forum followed with Mario Delizo, project development officer assigned to PCC’s National Impact Zone, as facilitator. It provided the farmer-participants an opportunity to raise their concerns and to clarify matters relative to the technologies discussed and demonstrated.

New facilities to boost dairy buffalo semen production

The newly inaugurated bull farm and semen processing laboratory of the Philippine Carabao Center at University of the Philippines, Los Banos (PCC at UPLB) are expected to hasten dairy herd build-up in the country.

The new facilities, which feature state-of-the-art equipment, have been put up by PCC in support of its Carabao Upgrading Program (CUP) and at the same time to serve as a venue for research and technology development whose outputs are intended to benefit smallholder dairy farmers and their families.

Hosted by the Animal Dairy Sciences Cluster of the UPLB College of Agriculture, the bull barn and semen processing laboratory of PCC at UPLB were inaugurated on July 16. UPLB Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz and PCC Executive Director Libertado C. Cruz led the inauguration rites. Also present were Regional Executive Directors Vilma M. Dimaculangan, Cipriano G. Santiago and Abelardo R. Bragas of DA-RFU IV-A, DA-RFU IV-B and DA-RFU V, respectively, as well as PCC regional center directors, local government officials, municipal agriculturists and farmer-members of dairy cooperatives in the CALABARZON region.

“The bull barn and semen processing laboratory will further ensure a sustainable source of quality semen for developing new dairy breed of carabaos,” Arnel Del Barrio, PCC at UPLB center director, said.

“We used to have a small laboratory room for semen processing where we can only process semen from eight superior donor bulls. Through the Department of Agriculture, we were given the chance to upgrade our laboratory. The new facility can now accommodate up to 30 bulls. A superior bull can produce 4,000 to 5,000 doses of frozen semen in a year,” he added.

Chancellor Cruz said in his message that the two structures are part of a much bigger picture in improving the lives of Filipinos as well as guaranteeing that improved breed of carabaos will continuously increase in the country.

“We look at these as not only a boost to what PCC is doing given its mandate but as our asset for research and for education of our own students. This is to us a welcome development. With the addition of the state-of-the-art equipment, the laboratory will be able to evaluate and process a higher volume of freshly collected semen to address the increasing demand for carabao upgrading in the Philippines,” said Chancellor Cruz.

On the other hand, Dr. Cruz, PCC head, acknowledged the support of the host institution and its strong partnership with PCC.

“The newly constructed facilities will provide good quality genetics that will allow PCC to cover three to four folds more than the usual number of farmers we service in a year,” he added.

He also cited PCC at UPLB as one of the best regional centers of PCC, adding that its center director and staff represent the best of PCC.

Dr. Cruz further said that the facilities will further boost the front-line services of the government and further enhance the opportunities to uplift the lives of the Filipino farmers.

PCC technical staff members undergo genomics and bioinformatics training in Italy

Technical staff members of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) acquired additional knowledge on the molecular and statistical methods and approaches applied to animal selection and breeding thru the training-course they attended for over a month.

The training was conducted at the Parco Tecnologico Padano in Italy from June 1 to July 7, 2013.

Titled “Livestock Genomics and Bioinformatics”, the training was aimed at providing knowledge on the different bioinformatics tools and genomic platforms which are considered of great help for genetic selection.

Moreover, it provided the technical staff members knowledge and skills on how to generate useful biological data in a relatively short period of time using the bioinformatics tools.

The Science Research Assistants of PCC who participated in the training-course were Dr. Lawrence P. Belotindos, Trinidad C. Fernando, and Laila M. Labonite who are from the National Headquarters and Genepool. One Supervising Science Research Specialist of PCC at University of the Philippines-Los Baños (PCC at UPLB), Dr. Jesus Rommel V. Herrera, also attended the training.

Genomics is defined as the study of genes and its functions. It aims to understand the structure of the genome as well as mapping genes and sequencing DNA.

Genomics also examines the molecular mechanisms and interaction of genetic and environmental factors of disease.

Further, the birth of the term “genomics” was suggested by T.H. Roderick of the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, due to the newly developing discipline of mapping and sequencing.

The new discipline was born from a marriage of molecular and cell biology with classical genetics and is nurtured by computational science.

Bioinformatics, on the other hand, is the collection, classification, storage, and analysis of biochemical and biological data using computers particularly as applied to molecular genetics and genomics. The trainees were also introduced to the use of Linux as the operating system of the server.

Thru the use of Lubuntu Linux operating system, the trainees were able to make directories and write and edit files which are beneficial especially in the genotype data for it has a large amount of text.

According to Laila M. Labonite, one of the research assistants of PCC who joined the training, bioinformatics tools taught include R statistics for statistical computations and graphical representations, MySQL as a database for records which both use Linux commands to operate and G matrix which is used to compute the matrix of marker genotypes per individual for genomic relationship.

“In parentage testing, I gained additional knowledge on how to analyze the generated data. They discussed thoroughly how data are being generated. As a result, I feel more confident now with the data I generate,” Ms. Fernando, one of the trainees, said.

Among the other lectures included were molecular biology of production traits and genetic markers, the theory and practice of breeding and genomic selection.

“Generally, in bioinformatics, we also performed statistical analysis, although they only showed us how to do it, we grasped some ideas on what specific software to use in generating biological data. The design and program of our training were indeed appropriate to us because it started from the basics,” Ms. Fernando, added.

In addition to the course training, the trainees were given “offsite” activities such as high-throughput genotyping services, introduction to genetic diversity, conservation of genetic diversity, and high-throughput genotyping and parentage testing for buffalo.

“With our offsite visit to KOS Genetics and Laboratorio Genetica é Servici (LGS), the actual use of SNP chip was demonstrated. Using the SNP chip, these companies were able to sequence the whole genome of the samples of outsourcing institutions or farms for their services. The SNP chips available can be used mainly for parentage testing and genome wide association studies. However, the use of SNP chip entails thousands of samples to be used for study. With this, they recommended that outsourcing will be better since we have limited samples, thus, possible collaboration with Parco Tecnologico Padano for association studies and LGS for parentage testing,” Dr. Rommel Herrera, one of the participants in the training, said.

Front-line staff hone field extension skills

Front line staff members of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), are now expected to improve their field extension services as they completed their week-long activity on “Training for Trainers” held at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool, Science City of Muñoz last July 8-12.

According to Gilbert Caracuel, training course facilitator, the course content was designed based on the needs of the participants to enhance their knowledge, skills, and methods in organizing and relating with the PCC’s main clients—the farmers.

The course content was summarized into three modules. The first tackled the perspective and context of training while the second module depicted the training cycle model. The third module dealt with the how-to’s of preparing and packaging of training proposal for target clients.

“The training was originally intended for the 10 members of the Daily Herd Improvement Program (DHIP) of PCC but was extended to include 24 staff members of the PCC at Central Luzon State University (PCC at CLSU), PCC at Mariano Marcos State University (PCC at MMSU), and the National Headquarters and Gene Pool,” Conrad Penuliar, training coordinator said.

The theme of the training was “Trainers as Non-formal Educators.” Two professors from CLSU, Dr. Soledad M. Roguel and Dr. Jocelyn R. Dollente, and a former professor of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Dr. Rogelio V. Cuyno served as support speakers and main speaker, respectively.

Dr. Roguel discussed “Andragogy: How Adults Learn and Implication for Trainers” while Dr. Dollente talked about “Teaching Skills of Trainers”.

Assignments were also given to the participants to worked on System Mapping, Training Need Analysis (TNA), Sample Curriculum Design and Training Proposal. They presented their outputs and were critiqued by Dr. Cuyno.

Another training titled “Training for Extensionists” is also scheduled to take place on July 22-26 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool. This training, however, will be for extensionists of the PCC only, specifically those from the DHIP/ED at the National Impact Zone (NIZ).

Couple-scientists conferred Scientist I rank

Two scientists from the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) were conferred Career Scientist I under the Scientific Career System by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

The two PCC scientists were Dr. Danilda H. Duran and Dr. Peregrino G. Duran, both agricultural scientists. They are husband and wife.

They had their oath-taking ceremony on July 19 at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Quezon City along with 18 other scientists from other agencies. Civil Service Commissioner Francisco T. Duque III administered their oath.

Since 1994, Dr. D. Duran has been engaged in the livestock biotechnology research and development program of PCC working under the Reproductive Biotechnology Unit.

In 2002, along with fellow PCC scientists, Dr. D. Duran�s research on In Vitro Fertilization led to the birth of �Glory,� the first embryo-transfer calf produced from IVF-derived and cryopreserved embryo from India. She has continually conducted studies along this field of discipline which made her eligible to the rank.

Meanwhile, Dr. P. Duran first joined the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center (PCRDC) in 1982 and later the PCC. He has engaged himself in the breeding of buffaloes and is currently the team leader of the PCC�s Dairy Herd Improvement and Enterprise Development Program.

The NAST is a premier recognition and advisory body which recognizes outstanding achievements in science and technology. Its members are grouped into several divisions which include agricultural sciences; biological sciences; chemical, mathematical, and physical sciences; engineering sciences and technology; health sciences; and social sciences.

Scientist I is given to public service personnel directly engaged in research and development activities who have garnered at least 50 points in scientific productivity as determined by the Scientific Career Council.

Scientist I holder can later on be promoted to other scientists� level up to rank five.

Central milk plant staff train on production efficiency, good manufacturing practices

A two-day seminar on the Production Process Efficiency and Good Manufacturing Practices was held on June 28-29 at the Philippine Carabao Center�s (PCC) Central Milk Processing Plant. It was aimed at setting up a system for the operation of the dairy plant and for the improvement of its production efficiency and processes.

Leonardo G. Gorospe, a freelance technical and training consultant of manufacturing operation, served as the resource speaker during the seminar. The seminar was participated in by 17 production plant staff members of PCC. It was facilitated and coordinated by Jean G. Gasme�a, Chief Accountant and Patrizia Camille O. Saturno, Dairy Plant Manager.

According to Gorospe, the production equipment of PCC should undergo quality testing, which include receiving vat and weighing scale, plate cooler, raw milk cooling tank, pre-mixing tank, mixing tank, continuous pasteurizer, homogenizer, storage tank, volumetric bottle filling machine, and form-fill seal machine, in order to ensure the efficiency of production.

�To develop our production and financial system, let us be open to those areas that need improvement,� Ms. Gasme�a, one of the facilitators and coordinators of the training, said.

The first day of the seminar involved two hours of personalized or on-sight coaching of the speaker by inspecting the current condition of the process flow and the different areas of the plant to assess what aspect needs improvement. He also lectured on the process flow system, general management production, inventory management, basic hygiene and food hygiene.

The production staff was also asked to fill-out a daily Production Report form to indicate information about the raw materials� beginning inventory, requisition, production usage, lab sample, total usage, wastage damage, and others. More lectures were delivered on the second day to reinforce the lessons learned from the first day.

�Dahil sa isinagawang seminar, yung mga staff ng planta mas na-inform at naging knowledgeable kung ano ang cause and effect kapag ginawa nila yung mga do�s and don�ts sa planta. Nakatulong sa�min yung seminar para mamaximize yung mga tao at yung machine kasi doon tayo nag-iinvest (Thru the seminar conducted, the plant�s staff was informed and became more knowledgeable on the cause and effect if they commit do�s and don�ts in the plant. The seminar helped us maximize the manpower and machine in which we invest a lot),� Saturno, plant manager, said.