When Basilio Estanislao retired as president of the Land Bank of the Philippines in 1986, many thought that he would just take it easy. But this was not to be so. He had his thriving ornamental plant nursery in Calamba, Laguna where he produced high quality landscaping materials. And as if that were not enough, he also started a backyard piggery in November 1990.
NO ORDINARY PIGGERY – His backyard piggery is no ordinary piggery. It is actually the idea of Frank Ortiz who has long been a consultant for large hog farms. Frank believes that the backyard piggery could be high-tech and highly profitable, too.
PROFITABLE – And highly profitable it has been for Mr. Estanislao. One module consisting of 10 fatteners has been giving him P5,000 in net profit within a fattening period of 90 days. That’s what is left after deducting all the expenses on the cost of piglets, feed, medicine, labor, depreciation and even the cost of money.
IN MODULES – The high-tech piggery comes in modules. One module occupies only 7.5 square meters (2.5 x 3 meters). It is roofed with nipa or some other roofing materials. It has iron bar grills as sidings and the floor made of strong steel slats is elevated about a meter high. The slats are spaced about half an inch apart so the manure will readily pass through. This makes the pigpen well ventilated and sanitary.
FEED MAKES DIFFERENCE – What makes a lot of difference between the high-tech and the ordinary backyard piggery is the feed. Frank Ortiz has formulated a high-energy feed that enables the animal to gain one kilo of meat per 2.8 kilos of feed. Ordinarily, it requires 4.11 kilos of commercial feed to make a kilo of gain in weight.
COSTS MORE BUT PROFITABLE – The high energy feed costs P9 per kilo while the ordinary commercial feed costs P6 per kilo, but then the high-energy feed is still more profitable to use.
4 BATCHES A YEAR – Estanislao starts to fatten piglets that are 25 kilos costing P1,800 each. In 90 days, these animals usually attain a weight of 90 kilos each. Thus, in one year, he can fatten four batches of slaughter pigs in one pen. This means P20,000 net a year from one module.
6 MODULES NOW – Estanislao started with just one module but when he saw the potential of the business, he kept on adding new modules. When we saw him in early 1992, he already had six modules. And he plans to add some more.
NO BAD SMELL – What’s remarkable about the high-tech piggery is that it does not have the usual offensive smell in ordinary piggeries. That’s because the feed contains an additive that removes the usual manure odor.
AUTOMATIC FEEDER – If the pigs are not eating, they just lie down in apparent contentment. Each pigpen is provided with an automatic feeder where a sack of feed is placed in the morning. Anytime the pig feels like eating, it just goes to the feeder. There’s only one feeder but the animals take turns without any quarrelling.
WATERER – The pigpen is also provided with one automatic waterer. A water container is placed up in one corner and the water just flows to the automatic waterer when a pig drinks. The animals learn to manipulate the nipple of the automatic waterer readily.
LEAN PORK – Because of the balanced nutrition, the pigs are very healthy. The pork produced is lean. The backfat is only half an inch thick whereas the usual commercial pig has backfat that is one inch thick. It also has a wide loin eye.
TOURIST ATTRACTION – Estanislao’s piggery has become some sort of a tourist destination for interested hog raisers. When we visited the place, members of a cooperative from Batangas were looking at the project in the hope of duplicating it in their locality.