|Art Almeda feeding an Anglo Nubian milker with pelleted
Indigofera. This increases milk yield and saves on feed cost.
In livestock production, whether it be pigs, cattle or goats, the dream of practically every raiser is to save on feeds. After all, about 70 percent of the cost of production is attributed to feeds.
Now, our good friend Rene Almeda of Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna, is excited about the new development in feeding their goats, particularly the dairy goats of Saanen and their crosses with Anglo Nubian. He reports that since they have been feeding their dairy goats with pelleted concentrate feeds that contain 30 percent shredded Indigofera leaves, their goats have been giving them more milk every day and the cost of feeds consumed is also significantly reduced.
Rene and his two sons, Art and Toti, operate one of the most sophisticated goat farms in the country today. They have about a thousand animals of both dairy and meat types. Their dairy goats, purebred Saanen and their crosses with Anglo Nubian, number more than 200 while the meat type animals (Boers and crosses) are more than 600.
In their desire to reduce feeding cost but at the same time maintaining balanced nutrition for their animals, the Almedas established a few years back what they call the Alaminos Salad Garden which is not salad for humans but for their goats. Their aim is to assure enough supply of nutritious green forage for their animals every day.
How? The salad garden consists of 30 long plots of forage grasses and leafy shrubs from which they cut the greens that are fed to their goats. One plot is harvested every day so that after 30 days, the first plot would be ready for harvesting again. Their favorite green feed is Indigofera, a legume that contains a high 26 percent crude protein.
Now the grasses and legumes are not only fed to the animals as fresh green forage. The leaves are shredded and then pelletized together with other ingredients such as palm oil cake, fine rice bran, molasses, soya and a little salt and calcium.
The Almedas are fortunate because there is an ongoing research collaboration between the Bureau of Agricultural Research and Alaminos Goat Farm regarding the feeding of the dairy animals with pelletized malunggay leaves to find out if malunggay will induce the dairy goats to produce more milk.
So as to validate his suspicion that Indigofera could be excellent for feeding milking goats, he engaged the help of Remedios Acasio of the Bureau of Animal Industry so that they conduct a parallel research on feeding the animals with pelletized shredded Indigofera leaves.
The results excites Rene no end. He reports that since they have been feeding their goats with pelletized Indigofera, the animals’ milk production significantly increased. Before they started feeding with pellets, their goats only gave them 120 liters a day. Now they are giving 150 to 160 liters daily.
Rene is all the more excited because they also reduce the cost of feeds by using pellets. Rene explains that usually one dairy goat is given 2.5 kilos of concentrate every day. When the pellets don’t contain Indigofera, the 2.5 kilos consumed daily cost P37.50. But if 30 percent shredded Indigofera leaves is added, the cost of feed consumed by each milking goat is P28.12 only. That’s a saving of about 25 percent on concentrate feed.