She was 30 kilometers away, unaware of the explosion of accolades by at least 500 farmers and other stakeholders gathered at the Philippine Carabao Center National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on November 27.
But thru photos and written description about her, the audience got to regard her, who answers by the name “Leonora”, very highly.
She is a dairy buffalo of Brazilian breed, with milk yields of up to 18 liters a day or a total of 3,364.5 liters in a ten-month lactation period, and provided an income of Php149,670 to her owner Rogelio Marquez, 44, of San Andres 1, Quezon, Nueva Ecija.
“Leonora”, the name (meaning Light in many languages) Marquez gave her in appreciation of her “beauty” and “domesticity”, gave birth to a female calf on November 30, 2016 in her fourth calving. Even in her dry months of lactation, her milk yield never went below 10 liters daily.
The ex-farm price of carabao’s milk in Marquez’ area is Php45 per liter. Elsewhere, though, it goes up to Php60 to Php80 per liter in raw form.
Aside from her milk yield, “Leonora” was judged for her body conformation (symmetry, size and shape) which is ideal for a milking carabao.
Marquez received from DA assistant secretary Enrico Garzon Jr. and Dr. Arnel del Barrio, executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), the “Gintong Kalabaw Cup” and a cash award.
He is set, with his cash award, to improve further his carabao management practices, to retain in temporary keeping the trophy.
Del Barrio said the giving of award for the outstanding carabao, alongside other awards for carabao dairying, was to highlight the achievements in carabao development in the 3rd National Carabao Conference of PCC (Nov. 27-28). The conference provided avenues for exchange of ideas, information, practices and technologies in further improving the carabao development program, particularly the carabao-based industry, in the country.
The “Outstanding Dairy Buffalo Farmer” awardees were Henry Orbino of Calinog, Iloilo (smallhold category), Victoriano Dumale of Licaong, Science City of Muñoz (family module category), and Samuel Mercader of San Jose City (semi-commercial category).
Meanwhile, Emily Velasco of Villa Joson, San Jose City was awarded the “Modelong Juana sa Kalabawan” (model woman in carabao dairying) while Patrick Pascual of Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija was awarded the “Modelong Kabataan sa Kalabawan” honors. Finally, for the third consecutive time, the Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative of San Jose City was bestowed the “best dairy cooperative” title.
The Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative has 432 dairy carabaos in the hands of 60 members and had combined milk harvest of 145,099.65 liters from 91 lactating carabaos in one year (Php7,254,982.50 at Php50 per liter). It also runs its own milk processing plant and marketing outlet.
Dumale and his family earned Php70,000 a month from their five dairy carabaos while Orbino grossed Php354,314.80 from the milk yield of his two carabaos. Mercader, who started raising a dairy carabao in 2000, has 32 carabaos of which 14 are mature females, one a senior bull, four are heifer, and nine are calves. He earned more than enough to finance the education of four daughters, two of whom had graduated from their respective collegiate courses, acquired agricultural lands, house and lot, vehicles, farm equipment, and appliances.