The demand for silage by local livestock raisers is more staggering than you and I think. One fellow who is importing 6,000 head of cattle from Australia for fattening needs 200 tons every month. And that is only one customer. There are many more raisers not only of cattle fatteners but also dairy cattle, buffaloes, goats, sheep and even pigs that require a steady supply of cheap feeds.
Can anyone supply the demand of one customer for 200 tons a month? That’s easy if the operation is mechanized. According to Eugene Gabriel who is with Right Agri, they can eventually supply the demand of other raisers. That’s because they have now the machinery to prepare the land fast for growing corn. They have the corn seeding machine, the harvesting and shredding machines. And the latest equipment they have acquired is an automatic silage bagging machine from Turkey that can vacuum pack 8 tons of silage materials in one hour.
The silage mainly of 75-days corn is very good for fattening cattle. At that stage, the corn plants are succulent and there’s no need to apply molasses to enhance fermentation.
But there are other TMR or total mix ration that need to be enhanced for special animals like milk cows, sheep and goats. With the collaboration of Dr. Rene Sumaoang, a microbiologist, the silage can be enhanced with the mechanical addition of enzymes and minerals.
Mechanized corn silage production can result in cheaper feed, according to Eugene Gabriel. They are currently supplying some goat and cattle raisers at P4.50 per kilo.
Eugene’s group that is based in Isabela is now collaborating with partners in Central Luzon so that they can produce the silage for customers in Central and Southern Luzon such as Laguna, Quezon and Batangas.
With affordable silage that is available throughout the year, more farmers, including the smallholders, will be encouraged to go into cattle fattening, dairying, goat and sheep raising, and even organic pig production using silage as the bulk of feeds. This will have a great impact in increasing meat production in the Philippines.
We observed in Thailand that in the Pakchong district, there is a big community of backyard dairy farmers taking care of 5 to 20 head per family. They can sustain their backyard dairy farming because there are 20 commercial growers of Pakchong 1 napier that is available throughout the year at an affordable price.By the way, Gabriel has made arrangements with the Turkey silage bagging machine manufacturer to supply knock-down bagging machines that will be assembled by the Central Isabela Agricultural Machinery Company, Inc. (CIAMCI). If you want to get in touch with Gabriel, contact him at 0922-800-2474 or 0908-980-2474.
One possibility that Gabriel has in mind is to encourage a cluster of goat raisers in Isabela who can access silage for feeding their animals year-round.A good number of farmers can specialize in fattening goats for slaughter. They can buy as many goats as possible for fattening from other raisers who breed their animals.If they can produce a large number of slaughter animals, these can be used for canning in the high-end slaughterhouse managed by Dr. Jonathan Nayga at the Isabela State University.
Whatever canned chevon (kaldereta, adobo and kilawin) that is produced by Dr. Nayga has been contracted by Agricom Foods. The fact is that Agricom has been selling whatever little production is available. The problem is that there is not enough supply of slaughter goats for canning. Gabriel said there is a big market for canned chevon among restaurants and private homes.
Gabriel is thinking of contract growing goats for slaughter. The farmer who does not have money to buy feeds can be supplied with silage by an affiliate company of Agricom. When the fattened goat is sold to Agricom Foods, the cost of the silage will be deducted.