1st National Carabao Conference

Key stakeholders of the Carabao Development Program (CDP) are expected to participate in the 1st National Carabao Conference on Dec. 3-4 at the national headquarters and gene pool of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

The participants will include farmers, local government officials and representatives from various government agencies and private organizations that are actively involved in the implementation of the CDP, which is considered as PCC’s flagship program.

The 1st National Carabao Conference will focus on the theme: “Celebrating Partnerships in Championing the Carabao Development Program.”

Among the leading national figures invited to the two-day gathering are Sen. Cynthia A. Villar and Rep. Mark Llandro L. Mendoza, chairpersons of the committees on agriculture and food at the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, and Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala.

The conference features multi-sessions in the form of plenaries, workshops and forums that will serve as venue for meaningful interaction among the participants.

Various experts will present and lead the discussions on the following topics: Value Chain Analysis of Carabao and Carabao-based products in Luzon; Performance of the Carabao Industry; PCC programs in relation to food security; Industry Strategic Plan (ISP) for Dairy Buffalo; Impact Assessment of the PCC’s Carabao Development Program; of the PCC Dairyard Concept GKEF: Building the Filipino Dream through Private and Public Partnership; The Carabao Slaughter Ban: A Revisit, and Carabao Industry Advocacies and Legislative Agenda; and Climate Smart Strategies in addressing the El Niño phenomenon.

The conference participants will also be provided with insights on government-funded activities and PCC partnerships of with the local government units in the conduct of CDP through the following topics: Shared Service Facility Scheme of the Department of Trade and Industry for Dairy; The DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program for Dairy, and Partnership Milestones in Nueva Ecija, Bohol and in some provinces of Region II.

Further, select cooperative chairpersons that have shown considerable success in raising buffaloes and engaging in carabao-based enterprises will share their unique strategies and experiences in dairying.

Other activities lined-up for the conference are a tour of PCC’s major facilities and a product exhibition.

Capping the conference is a planning workshop that will focus on solutions to key issues and concerns in the carabao dairy industry.

The National Carabao Conference is envisioned to be a regular annual activity as part of continuing initiatives to promote and enhance the development of the Philippine carabao industry with a view to making it a significant contributor to overall efforts to alleviate poverty, improve nutrition, enhance equitable income distribution and boost people empowerment.

The CDP is being implemented in the context of PCC’s dual mandate under Republic Act No. 7307 to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of milk and meat as well as draft animal power and hide, and the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 9, series of 2008, which designated PCC as the lead entity in livestock biotechnology research and development in the DA network.


Carabao raising added feature in PhilRice’s ‘Palayamanan Plus’

Raising dairy carabaos is now an added feature of “Palayamanan Plus Nuestra”, a project of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Rizal G. Corales, supervising science research specialist and project leader, said the add-on will further boost the income of participating farmers.

He explained that the project title is a combination of the words “Palayamanan” and “Nuestra”.

“Palayamanan”, a term which came from two words: palayan (rice farm) and yamanan (gold mine), or literally, making the rice farm a gold mine, highlights the concept of intensive and integrated farming in which every inch of space on the farm is utilized for production of various crops and livestock.

“Nuestra”, on the other hand, refers to a model that will serve as service provider for technologies, capacity enhancement activities, custom services, enterprise development, financing and market access to the smallholder farmers.

He added that “Nuestra” also stands for “Nucleus Estate Strategy” that it is now being fully developed in an area within the PhilRice station in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“In Palayamanan, diversification, intensification and integration (DII) strategies will be used,” Corales said.

“It is expected to increase production outputs and therefore the income of the farmers,” he added.

Diversification, he explained, means diversifying farm inputs to diversify production and income. It includes other crops and commodities, such as corn, peanuts and livestock particularly goat, and now carabao, among others, he added.

On the other hand, intensification involves increasing the cropping intensity over space and time, he explained.

“It means maximizing the use of land to plant additional crops, forages or roughages in between harvest season when most of farmers’ land are underutilized,” he stated.

“Integration means all the component crops or commodities that will be established on the farm should complement each other such that it will be both beneficial to the farmer and to the environment,” he stressed.

Corales pointed out that the project would not be possible without collaborating with other government agencies and private entities.

The PCC is one such government agency, he said.

“Last October 2014, we coordinated with the PCC. Through a memorandum of agreement (MOA), signed by PCC acting executive director Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio and then PhilRice executive director Dr. Eufemio Rasco, both parties agreed to help each other in the project. PCC is in-charge of providing the livestock (dairy buffalo) component and relevant support for the envisaged Palayamanan Plus Nuestra project,” Corales said.

He said that under the MOA, the PCC will allocate 5 to 10 head of dairy buffaloes as added component to the project.

“Though our project is still under experimentation, we initially implemented it in Bulacan, Pampanga and Aurora. This year, we are planning to open and implement it in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Isabela,” Corales revealed.

He said they are asking assistance from PCC on where to locate the project that will enlist dairy carabao farmers in Nueva Ecija.

According to Corales, Director Del Barrio suggested to them to implement the project close to PCC’s established dairy buffalo farmers since most of those individuals are already capable of managing buffaloes and are already knowledgeable and skillful in carrying out the job.

He said that the PCC head has given assurance of full assistance and collaboration to contribute to help make the project a success.

He explained that carabao-raising can contribute income through the animal’s milk, meat and manure.

As an example, he said: “If a particular farmer would be given five dairy carabaos and three of them will lactate at the same time, he will be harvesting at least 15 liters of milk every day in a 305 days lactation period. This means that the farmer will be earning at least P225,000 as additional income from his farm”.

“The selling of male calves and the vermicast (a product that can be made from carabao manure) that will be produced are additional sources of income from carabao-raising,” he added.

Corales said that the “Palayaman plus Nuestra” project could become a national program because of the possible impact that it can create in the future. He added that aside from the main objective of increasing the farmers’ income, the project can also help spin-off agribusiness in a particular community, increase production inputs, create positive impact on the environment, and give farmers sufficient and nutritious food.

“At the moment, aside from the PCC, we’re also collaborating with other agencies and private entities such as the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), National Dairy Authority (NDA), among others. We believe that these collaborations are our key in attaining success for this project,” Corales said.

Carabao dairy farmers converge to discuss 2M liters milk target for 2016

Carabao farmer-members of dairy cooperatives being assisted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in Nueva Ecija province recently met in a general assembly to discuss their respective contribution in attaining the target of two million liters of milk for 2016.

A total of 53 participants joined the November 4 assembly held at the PCC national headquarters and gene pool in the Science City of Muñoz. Of this number, 38 are chairmen and representatives of various dairy co-ops in Nueva Ecija, which is the PCC’s national impact zone. The rest are PCC staff members.

The activity was organized by PCC’s Dairy Herd Improvement Program-Enterprise Development/National Impact Zone team (DHIP-ED/NIZ).

Pinakita namin sa kanila ‘yong performance bawa’t kooperatiba noong 2014 at 2015. Mula doon, malalaman natin kung ilan ba dapat ang maging targets nila para makacontribute sa target na dalawang milyong litro ng gatas para sa 2016 base sa kung ilan yung animals nila. Ilan ang dapat mabuntis at magatasan para makacontribute sa 2M target (We presented the 2014 and 2015 performance analysis of each cooperative. From there, we’ll be able to determine their respective targets to contribute in the two-million liters of milk target for 2016 based on their animal holdings. How many animals should be lactating and be impregnated to contribute to the 2M target),” Wilma Del Rosario, PCC senior science research specialist, explained. 

She added that the assembly also served as a planning session for the dairy co-ops to address gaps and problems they have in their groups and animals to ensure improved milk production. 

Dr. Peregrino G. Duran, DHIP-ED/NIZ coordinator, provided updates on the overall analysis of NIZ operation, such as animal inventory and herd performance. He also urged dairy co-ops to actively work together in attaining the two-million liter milk target. 

DHIP-ED/NIZ extension veterinarian Dr. Cecilio Castañeda, livestock specialist Genaro Candelaria and science research specialist II Dr. Lester S. Verona discussed matters related to animal health, breeding and calf production, respectively. 

Mario Delizo, project development officer II, provided a synthesis of the topics covered and gave additional pointers on how the two-million liter target can be met.

Meanwhile, Dr. Felomino V. Mamuad, PCC deputy executive director, emphasized the importance of twice milking daily to attain the targeted milk production.

Ang dalawang milyon na litro ng gatas ay hindi natin maaabot kung hindi kayo gagatas ng dalawang beses. Magtulungan  tayo para makamit natin ‘yang target na ‘yan. Pangarap ko pa nga para sa inyo ay magkaroon kayo ng anak na mapag-aaral ninyo ng entrepreneurship para matuto sa pamamahala at pagpapatakbo ng kooperatiba. Turuan ninyo ang inyong mga anak, sila rin balang araw ang magtutuloy ng nasimulan niyo (We cannot attain the target of two million liters of milk if you will not practice the twice milking. Let us all work together to reach that target. I even dream for all of you to have at least one of your children be able to study entrepreneurship so that they will learn how to manage and run a cooperative. Teach your children. They will someday continue what you have started),” he said.

The assembly participants came from Aglipay Dairy Producers Cooperative, Agpapa Irrigators Association, Angat Buhay Producer Cooperative, Bibiclat Dairy Producers Cooperative, Cabisuculan Dairy Cooperative, Casile Dairy Producers Cooperative, Catalanacan Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAMPC), Dimasalang Sur Credit Cooperative, Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC), Guiset Organic Farmers Credit Cooperative, Kabulihan Farmers Producers Cooperative, Kadre Development Cooperative, Kapitbahayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Makabagong Kooperatiba ng Bantug PMPC, Nag-iisang Masikap MPC, New Mamandil Cooperative, PAO Producers Cooperative, Pulong Buli PMPCI,  Rizal west CASCI, Samahan Sto. Monica para sa Likas kayang pag-unlad, San Rafael Dairy Producers Cooperative, Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Producers Cooperative, Sn. Vicente Dairy Producers Cooperative, United Farmers Producers Cooperative, Licaong Dairy Producer Cooperative, NEFEDCCO, Caudillo Gulay at Prutas Producers Cooperative, Punla MPC, and Bagong Pag-asa sa Bagong Talavera.

Carabao feedlot fattening is a profitable business venture for farmers, study says

There’s more to carabaos than just as sources of milk and draft power. They offer big potential too for the meat industry as an increase in the slaughter rate of carabaos for meat or “carabeef” is an indicator of its growing market demand.

A study conducted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños LB) shows that carabao feedlot fattening can be a very profitable venture that involves an intensive carabao-raising practice, which is one of the fastest ways to increase carabeef production.

The practice is more beneficial in areas where there are abundant farm by-products, such as corn stovers, fresh corn stalks, sugarcane tops, cover crops, pineapple pulp, rice straws as well as banana leaves and trunks.

The system requires feedlot facilities and simple animal management.

Crossbreds for meat production

The PCC initiated the crossbreeding program of the native carabaos within the framework of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, which is aimed at improving the genetic potential of the native buffalo for production of milk and meat.

Crossbreeding involves impregnating female native carabaos with thawed frozen semen collected from superior sires through artificial insemination. The first offspring of crossbreeding is a crossbred with 50% purebred blood and 50% native blood. The purebred bloodline of the crossbred increases as it undergoes backcrossing.

The crossbred has the potential for better milk production. It also has larger body size and, therefore, when slaughtered, provides more meat than that of the native type.

According to researchers, male crossbred carabaos have more potential in the meat processing enterprise owing to its higher dressing percentage.

Studies have shown that carabao’s meat, particularly from the crossbreds raised and properly fed the same way as that for cattle, is comparable to beef in terms of its physio-chemical, nutritional and palatability characteristics.

In a comparative study conducted by the PCC at UPLB on the meat characteristics of cattle and carabao, it was noted that “crossbred carabao can grow as fast as cattle and can be raised economically under an intensive production system at 90 days fattening period.”

“With feedlot fattening, two to three production cycles a year are possible”, said Dr. Rosalina L. Lapitan, then Supervising Science Research Specialist at PCC-UPLB.

The center started its institutional feedlot fattening in 2007. The male crossbred buffaloes and animals that are no longer productive were used for fattening.

“The animals were fed with high energy feeds consisting of legumes, grasses and concentrates. We saw to it that the animals reached an average daily gain of 0.5 kilogram to ensure the desired market weight of 400 kilograms at 18 to 20 months of age,” Lapitan said.

“Since the production cycle is relatively shorter, a quick return of investment can be attained,” she added.

Lapitan said the animal management in feedlot fattening system is quite simple.

“If you are into backyard fattening, the animal management involves only feeding the fattener with farm by-products or concentrates available within the community,” she pointed out.

The PCC at UPLB used the carabeef produced to make gourmet sausages labeled as “Carabest Premium Carabeef Sausages”. Among these are cervelat, salametti, Italian sausage, beerwurst, bratwurst, schublig, kielbasa, mortadella, kabanosy, summer sausage, batutay and Hungarian sausage.
The latter is the best-selling item.

The PCC commissioned the Animal Products Development Center (APDC) of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Marulas, Valenzuela City to process these products.

Commercial feedlot operation

The PCC at UPLB is currently pursuing a one-year joint project titled “Fattening and Finishing of Riverine Buffaloes under a commercial feedlot operation” with Martin Gomez, a private farm owner from Canlubang, Laguna, as a cooperator.

The joint undertaking seeks to demonstrate the viability of feedlot fattening of purebred riverine buffaloes. Specifically, the project implementers aims to compare the growth performance of cattle and riverine buffaloes under commercial feedlot operation; to determine the slaughter, carcass and lean-fat bone yield of cattle and buffaloes; to evaluate the sensory traits, chemical composition and processing characteristics of meat from cattle and buffaloes under intensive system of operation, and determine the economic viability of raising male riverine buffaloes for feedlot fattening.

Under the agreement, PCC provides the test buffaloes for fattening, conducts the laboratory tests to determine the meat quality and sensory evaluation from the meat produced by the test buffaloes, and provides assistance in data-gathering. The test buffaloes are male riverine buffaloes identified as not suitable for breeding purposes.

Gomez, on the other hand, provides transport or trucking service for the hauling of animals from PCC site to the feedlot, establishes the feedlot facilities, and provides feed resources and animal management.

The net proceeds from the project, which will come from the sale per kilogram of the body weight less the cost of feeds and other inputs, will be shared between the two parties. These inputs include the purchase cost of the buffaloes for fattening per kilogram of the body weight based on the prevailing market price. The data gathered and results of the laboratory testing will be made available to both parties.