Not a few people are complaining about the high prices of beef in the market. Of course, the reason is that there is not enough production of cattle in the farms. Backyard farmers are taking care of just one or two head for fattening. And one major reason is that they don’t have enough feeds to give to their animals, especially during the dry summer months.
Mechanized harvesting and shredding of silage materials will make production fast and efficient. Note: This is not the machinery donated by DA.
One possible solution to the lack of feed is to encourage agribusiness investors who would go into mechanized production of silage so that the product could be produced in big volumes at an affordable price. Teaching the ordinary farmers to make silage for their own use most probably will not be sustainable. One reason is that they don’t have enough raw materials like grasses, corn stover and other crops that are available year-round.
Even dried corn stover can be shredded for making silage.
Moreover, smallhold farmers will only have manual labor to do the planting, harvesting, shredding and other chores needed in silage production. Chopping the corn stover, the dried ones as well as the green corn stalks, would be very slow, laborious and expensive. That’s because manual labor is getting more costly, and there are not enough laborers available in the farms.
GOVERNMENT IS MOVING – Of course, we were delighted to learn that the Department of Agriculture is recognizing the problem and is doing something about it. We have been told that the DA has recently delivered P8.4-million worth of farm machinery and equipment purposely to assist a group in Central Luzon, Tarlac and Pangasinan, to undertake mechanized silage making.
The group consists of three parties. These include the members of a cooperative who are mostly OFWs who will do the planting of corn in their farms. The other party is the Wright Agri of Isabela headed by Eugene Gabriel. Gabriel’s group consists of experts in farm mechanization. Wright Agri will do land preparation for the farmers, plant the seeds by machine, do the harvesting and shredding of the raw materials. Wright Agri will also haul the harvested raw materials to the processing plant in Tarlac which is under the care of Dr. Ronaldo Sumaoang. Right Agri is also responsible for marketing in collaboration with Dr. Sumaoang.
Sheep love to eat silage made by Dr. Sumaoang.
Dr. Sumaoang is a microbiologist who studied fermentation technology in Germany and has been using his expertise producing silage for his own sheep. He is also manufacturing fermented food products for a big chain of supermarkets and is also in the manufacture of organic fertilizer.
Dr. Sumaoang will do the formulation of the right mix of fermentation materials to maximize the efficacy of the silage produced. Two types of silage will be produced. One is called the ordinary kind because only the shredded raw materials and the fermenting agents will be applied. On the other hand, they will also manufacture a formulation called Silage Premium. This is produced with the addition of extra sources of protein like soya and copra meal.
In recent trials, the Silage Premium has been proven to boost the growth of the animals and has also enhanced milk production in dairy cows. The digestibility of Silage Premium is enhanced by the inclusion of enzymes and beneficial microorganisms so that the nutrients in the feed is readily absorbed by the animals, leading to faster growth and higher productivity.
In the project in Pangasinan, corn is the target as raw material. Both the fried cron stover from which mature ears were harvested can be used for silage making. Of course, immature corn (75 days old with developed but immature ears) is the other target raw material. The corn farmers will make money selling their green corn plants to Wright Agri and Dr. Sumaoang.
Silage can be fed to cattle (beef and dairy) sheep and goats. A black pig farmer is also using silage to feed his animals. With affordable silage available throughout the year, backyard farmers will be able to take care of more cattle and other ruminants, thus helping boost the country’s animal population.
By the way, Right Agri has been producing silage for several years now, using corn stalks in Isabela. Because Isabela is far from the customers in Central and Southern Luzon, they decided to partner with Dr. Sumaoang so the processing plant will be in Tarlac which is now operational.