The couple, Benedicto “Benny” dela Torre, 55, and Evelyn, 38, of barangay Pulong Buhangin, Santa Maria, Bulacan, has peculiar practices in conveying their sincere and profound love for their buffaloes.
This unique show of special concern for their dairy buffaloes, to their estimation, undoubtedly resulted in favorable returns to their lives.
As one proof, when one of their buffaloes got sick, Benny immediately headed to the church and prayed profoundly for the welfare of his buffalo.
He believed that his prayers and the appropriate medicine he gave to his ill-stricken buffalo made his animal recover from its ailment soon enough.
The breeds of their buffaloes are Bulgarian, Italian, Indian Murrah and crossbred. Although their buffaloes are usually confined, with cut-and-carry feeding system, Benny also tethers them to graze in a pasture area and for them to experience the natural environment.
In the corral, he installed a pipeline for the ready supply of drinking water for the animals and for bathing needs. If the animals are tethered, they also provide clean water to each one of them.
According to Benny, there was a time when he ran out of water rations for his animal. He instantly went to the nearest store to buy a gallon of mineral water for his grazing buffaloes.
Based on the narration of the couple, from 5:00 in the morning up to 8:00 in the evening, their attention is focused on rearing their buffaloes. They regularly provide them with vitamins and proper check-up.
“When they are tethered, we roam around the pasture area to check on them one by one. We also visit them at night, as this is the time we usually notice if the animal is not well. If we notice so, we immediately call a veterinarian to diagnose the ailment and apply the necessary treatment. Although I have basic knowledge on first-aid treatment for buffaloes, I want to make sure that a veterinarian should attend to any of our sick animals,” Benny said.
For Evelyn, she considers their buffaloes as true members of their family. She said, it is necessary to have a genuine compassion for animals and that these animals demand time and attention from the caretakers as well.
Their special love and care for their buffaloes are not in vain. The buffaloes give them in return much milk whose proceeds are used to support the educational needs of their children. The couple also has invested in other businesses such as rice farming and delivery of construction materials. They have also acquired four motorcycles, one owner-type jeep, another house, small pieces of land, and one truck.
They have 30 dairy buffaloes.
Mobile milking parlor
Another unique practice of the couple is that they use their old jeep as a milking parlor for their buffaloes.
According to Benny, with his “mobile milking parlor” he is more confident about the sanitation of their undertaking as he can situate the vehicle in a place with clean, odorless, and refreshing site for milking.
“I took notice of other farmers who milk their buffaloes in the same place where the animals are confined. If we apply that practice, we cannot be sure of the sanitation due to the buffalo’s manure and urine which, even if we clean it, the bad odor is already stuck in there. Hence, I keep my lactating animals away from the corral when milking them and that’s why I thought of using a mobile milking parlor,” Benny explained.
Benny admitted that at first, he had a hard time coaxing their buffaloes to ride on the jeepney. Thus, he patiently trained each one of them in going up and coming down from the vehicle. He observed that the animals were hesitant to climb up the jeepney as they could sense something may happen to them.
As the animals get used to it, it became a habitual practice for them to ride on the mobile milking parlor. Every time they climb over, there are already feeds and drinking water prepared for them onboard as their rewards.
“I bathe them on the jeepney then gently rub their head to relax them,” Benny said.
After milking, the animals are ushered back to the corral.
Currently, they have four lactating buffaloes. They only collect four liters of milk daily from each buffalo because they let the calves consume the remaining milk from the udder.
Empathy for others
Benny and Evelyn both came from a buffalo farming family. Thus, they consider this venture as something good since they experienced it from their respective families.
The two underwent difficulties in their lives before. But when the opportunity came, they grabbed it and considered it as a big blessing.
The couple bought a crossbred which they named “Kulasa”. In due time, they were able to increase the number of their herd, with the help of their friend, former barangay captain Simplicio “Plecy” Hermogenes.
They became members of the Sta. Maria Dairy Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative where they sell their harvested milk to. In addition, they get assistance from the National Dairy Authority (NDA).
Wanting to share their fortune to other farmers in the neighborhood, they instituted their own “paiwi” system. So far, eight farmers are benefiting from their entrusted animals.
“We still want to increase the number of our buffaloes. We want to help other farmers through our ‘paiwi’ system. However, we noticed that artificial insemination is not working well in our place, that’s why we hope to avail of the bull loan program,” Benny said.
“Before, no one wanted to entrust their buffalo to me because I was poor. So, what we are doing now is the other way around. We help others because we don’t want them to experience the difficulties we went through before,” he added.
Evelyn shared their principle in life that serves as their mantra to always remain humble and compassionate for the needy.
“Every time I recall how we struggled before, when we used to sleep on mats of carton and starve for food, I cannot help but thank the Lord for the blessings we enjoy now. Buffalo dairying has improved our lives and we want it to share to others by helping them become dairy farmers, too,” Evelyn averred.
Benny and Evelyn have some unusual practices and principle in dairy buffalo production. As they continuously apply them, they expect that more blessings will come to their lives.