Every time we come across a young college graduate who is into agribusiness, we always feel relieved. There should be no reason to panic that someday no one will replace our aging farmers in the fields. Who will produce the rice, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and what have you that we eat?
It is reassuring that there are young college educated people who see the opportunities in making an honest, profitable living in the farm with the use of improved science-based technologies.
One such fellow is King Carlos, 27, a management and entrepreneurship graduate from San Beda College. He manages a herd of 300 milk cows in a 24-hectare farm in Rosario, Batangas.
He confesses that he really enjoys working on the farm where there is little pollution and no monstrous traffic jams. But he is as much motivated by the big potential of dairying as an honest-to-goodness money machine.
Here are some good reasons why. For one, there is a ready market for milk in the country whether it is raw or processed. He is producing right now an average of 2,500 liters per day. Only one milk consolidator in Batangas buys all his raw milk at P30 per liter. If he can produce more, there is no problem selling his production because the truth is that the consolidator still needs an additional 15,000 liters a day, according to King.
There is an even bigger potential in processing the raw milk into products like flavored milk, yoghurt, ice cream and cheese. King says that one liter of raw milk when made into flavored milk can fetch P90 to P100. Deduct the cost of packaging and marketing and you still make a very good margin. King’s elder sister is the chef in the family and is currently making experiments in making soft and hard cheese.
Aside from milk and its byproducts, the dairyman also makes money from the calves produced. A three-month old male calf will usually weigh 150 kilos and will fetch about P18,750 if it is sold. If further raised to 250 kilos after feeding the same for another four months, it could weigh P250 kilos worth P31,250. That’s at the current price of P125 per kilo liveweight.
King said that the farm has about 70 three-month old calves that he is planning to disperse to qualified contract raisers. At least 5 animals will be given to a participant. The more, the better. But the recipient should have the interest, know-how and the facilities to raise the animals. King said they will provide the technical assistance, including medicines and planting materials of forage crops.
How did King get into dairying? It all started in 2013 when King and his father Alex approached the National Dairy Authority which has a dairy promotion program. They were given a set of 25 Holstein-Sahiwal heifers that were pregnant. The father and son tandem studied the project’s profitability and the conclusion was really good.
So they requested for another set of 75 pregnant heifers and lastly, several months later, they received another set of 195 pregnant animals. These animals have already multiplied and they have not started repaying the animals. Under the terms set by NDA, the Carloses will start paying on the fourth year, which is next year. For every cow received, they will return one female calf to NDA in the fourth year. Then another female calf will be turned over to NDA on the eighth year for the full payment of the animals received. It is really a win-win situation.
King has been given full responsibility by his father to run the dairy farm. He starts his day with a cup of coffee at 5 o’clock before he goes around taking a look at the animals and the milking operation. He is practically on the job 12 hours every day but he just loves the long hours.