Monday, June 16, 2014

Ubay dairy farm ready
For the El Nino effects

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 14 (PIA) – The country’s weather bureau may have officially declared the onset of the rainy season last week, but the long dry season may have longer lasting effect the rainy season may not quickly recover. 

At the National Dairy Authority (NDA) Multiplier Complex in Calanggaman Ubay, facility chief Jonathan Ampo said water may not be easily available in the rolling hills and sprawling 120 hectare dairy cow pasture farm, putting 100 milking herd and over a hundred calves at risk of dying of thirst and bloating. 

On this, he said they are considering putting up two ram pumps to get water flowing in the facility without sacrificing operational costs, Ampo claimed, to fill up the projected gap in water services for the complex’s over a hundred dairy cows and calves as effects of the El Nino. 

Already operating shallow and deep wells, the NDA has to supplement the water requirements of the dairy cattle farm by gathering truckloads from nearby Capayas Dam, but this takes too much time from farm workers who would have to herd the cattle and corral them into the mechanized milking facility.

Beyond that, the prospect of dried grasses has pushed the NDA authorities to start ensiling fodder for the eventuality of supplemental feeding for the cattle. The facility is now putting up barn silos to keep hay from easily wilting, Ampo told media guests. 

Here at a portion of the 3500 square hectares of land titled to Ubay Stock Farm, the NDA holds its pastures and mechanized cattle milking process using imported cattle from New Zealand, the bearded Ampo told members of the regional media joining the Department of Agriculture media familiarization tour of the region’s best practices and government facilities that seldom hit the media radar. 

Open pasture mostly covered by shallow rooted green grasses and occasional legume patches on rolling hills, the NDA pastures suffer the most heat of the summer sun that water seldom stay on the grasses, leaving most of them baked under the scorching sun. 

Here, the NDA has shallow and deep wells to compensate for the water supply, but according to Ampo, Ubay has a very low water table prompting them to dig deeper and spend more for the extraction of water for human consumption and its animal farm. 

The problem then doubles with the extreme heat the summer has dealt, he shared. 

There is a need to put up silage as the grasses may not be enough to feed the dairy cows, Ampo, who has a complement of 28 workers and 5 technical staff, have to venture out to secure water and additional fodder for their silos. 

We are readying for the effects of the El Nino, and we just can’t let mortality issues bother us, he remarked as he said the facility which used over P20 million government funds would need six more years to be truly profitable. 

At the NDA, they need to get the cattle in perfect fit as healthy cattle can produce about 7 liters of raw milk in tow milking sessions, farm technicians bared. 

At over a hundred cattle here, the facility earns around P113 thousand a month, and set up in 2010, the facility would need about six more years to recover the investments. 

A milking cow an average of 8 years of productive milking before a decline can be noted, according to NDA technicians. (PIABohol/RAC)

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Families, not coops, groups 
Run Maribojoc demo farm 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 14, (PIA) –Keeping true to allegations of going unconventional in his ways, Maribojoc town mayor is at it again, if only to avert potential conflicts among his people. 

In the town’s Demonstration Farm, they do not resort to cooperatives or people’s organizations to man the 5 hectare organic farming facility operations, as the usual minds would do. 

Instead, they go down to the core of the organizations and take the family to oversee the farm operations. 

Learning from his stint as city administrator and engineer in the country’s largest city and having had so much time spent on settling petty disputes, Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr., said organizing people run the risk of them getting misunderstandings, which could be disastrous to the venture. 

“The moment people start to handle finances, you will have a problem,” Evasco, who used to be a priest hinted. 

Having secured by agreements with private land owners on the usufruct of some aggregate 5 hectares of idle rocky land, and having trained for organic farming from a technology in Davao, Maribojoc rolled its sleeves and initiated land productivity recovery with the use of nitrogen fixing plants. 

Soon to be named Binhi sa Panginabuhi-an Demo Farm and Training Center in Bayacabac, Maribojoc, Bohol, the center had Reyland Jabonillo as center manager and went on to Organic Hog Raising, Concoction Making for the supplemental feeds, Housing and Bedding Preparation and Nutrition and Feed Formulation. 

The farm has to innovate and make its own feeds, fertilizers and using indigenous micro-organisms to fatten the soil and restore it to productive levels. 

For over a year, we were into planting forage grass and legumes to cure the soil and shifted to production about a year ago, Evasco, who farm workers characterize as hands on in the farm, conveyed. 

When we had the greens, then we started the production, farm manager Reyland Jabonillo recalled. 

A Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) award for two consecutive years fattened the town agri-fund kitty and allowed it to boost its organic farming capability by getting into vegetable production and vermiculture to supplement the organic fertilizer requirements, to free range chicken poultry, piggery and the most recent dairy cattle milk production. 

The management and operation of the sprawling facility however was a poser, also confesses Jabonillo who fears the farm success could be shot down by infighting among its operators. 

We have seen cooperatives and peoples organizations disintegrate as soon as fiscal accounting comes in, Evasco blurted out. 

We see the family as the most basic form of society and we want to respond to the problem of children shying away from work and responsibility, Evasco intoned. 

By using families to tend the farm, they consider themselves part owners, so we do not see any reason to hire security guards, the mayor said. 

By using the families to manage parts of the farm, we allow children the imbibe the value of work and responsibility, according to the mayor. 

Now, the town demo farm is slowly becoming a center of organic farming learning and families admit that organic farming gets them the highest return of investments so far. 

The free range chicken has 70% return of investments while its hog raising gives P2,000 ROI, considering the use of native and easily available feeds, Jabonillo shared.

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