|The Oberhasli buck
A new genetic improvement program for goats, sheep and beef cattle is responsible for introducing new breeds in the Philippines. The program is called AGRIPBES for short, or Accelerating the Genetic Resource Improvement Program for Beef Cattle and Small Ruminants.
The program is being funded by the USPL-480 with Dr. Baltazar P. Mateo as project manager.
One goat breed that has been introduced in the country is a breed called Oberhasli. It is a dairy animal originally from Switzerland but which is now being commercially produced in the United States. The breed which has chamois bay color is being introduced in the Philippines for the first time. Because of its color, it is believed that it is better adapted to the hot and humid conditions in the tropics than the white Saanen dairy goat.
One of the recipients of Oberhasli is the Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) operated by Rene Almeda and his two sons Art and Totie. AGF was loaned 18 doelings and one buck. Under the terms of the loan, the Almedas will pay the government three female offspring for every doeling and four males for the one buck in three years.
Rene reports that the Oberhasli animals have adapted very well to the Alaminos Salad Garden (ASG) feeding program. They are enjoying every minute of their stay, nibbling the pelleted goat’s feed with shredded Indigofera to their heats’ content. They love to eat the fresh forage grass from the ASG, too.
The Alaminos Salad Garden, by the way, consists of 30 long plots planted to different forage species, including napier, Indigofera, centrosema, madre de agua and others. Every day, the leaves of one plot are harvested and fed to the confined animals. After harvesting the 30th plot, the first plot would be ready for harvesting again.
Indigofera, a leguminous introduced tree, is particularly important in the feeding of the Alaminos goats. The fresh leaves are fed to the goats. At the same time, the leaves are also dried and shredded and then pelletized.
Rene says that the chamois bay color of the goats, ranging from light to deep red bay, has something to do with the pigmentation in the skin which makes the animals more ideal for the tropical Philippine environment compared to the light colored dairy breed (Saanen).
With his initial observation, Rene is confident that Oberhasli will continue to do well under the tropical Alaminos condition. He expects them to do well in the milking line when they give birth this coming January. He says that the environment plays a big part in goat dairying.
Rene adds that he has already started to make initial inquiries from a top Oberhasli breeder in the United States to acquire topnotch Oberhasli bucks next year for breeding. He said that infusing top genetics to the present Oberhasli herd provided by the government program is their priority.
Rene said they will test the Oberhasli in Alaminos for milk yields when they are in lactation next year. Selection for future milkers would be based on average daily milk yield.
Oberhasli goats are medium size and are said to eat less feeds. It is claimed to produce milk with sweeter taste and with higher butterfat content. Rene said that this makes it a very attractive proposition to invest some more in the Oberhasli for better tasting pasteurized goat’s milk that they are producing now with their Saanen milkers.
In the meantime, Alaminos Goat Farm recently acquired a top-of-the line buck of the Alpine breed. Rene says that this buck male breeder has a “very explosive bloodline.” This means that it is the product of prize-winning male and female parents and grandparents.
Called AGF King James 040, it is extensively used in the production of triple-cross milkers. Such crosses have the hybrid vigor which results in high yields, fast growth and other desirable traits. Rene said that producing triple commercial crosses adapted to the tropical environment in the Philippines will be a big advantage in milking goats.
King James is a purebred Alpine buck which comes from the Red Hill Farm in the US. Its mother was the 2009 American National Champion with a lifetime average of 11.07 lbs milk per day. In its 2,180 days of producing milk, it produced a total of 24,140 lbs. of milk.
The father of King James, called Coltrane, is equally outstanding. Its progenies (daughters and granddaughters) continue to excel on the National stage with multiple daughters placing in the Top Five, including 6 First and Second place finishes.
King James is now extensively being used in breeding the Alaminos Anglo-Saanen cross females to produce triple cross hybrid milkers. Rene is very hopeful that King James will play an important role in improving goat dairying in the Philippines.
Meanwhile the Alaminos Goat Farm will showcase its outstanding purebred as well as crosses at the Agrilink trade show which will be held at the World Trade Center on October 4-6. We will see you there.