Dairy farming is a profitable industry. In Brgy. Tacunan, majority of the household population are into dairy cow raising. But with the increasing cost of commercial feeds, many dairy farmers have shied away from engaging further in this business. In dairy farming, feeding system is crucial. The kind of feeds given to the cattle highly determines the amount and quality of milk that they produce. Commercial feeds are still the best choice, but they are expensive.
Given this problem, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) funded a Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project on “Dairy Cow Feeds Processing” in Brgy. Tacunan, Tugbok District, Davao City.
The project is being implemented in coordination with the DA-Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-SMIARC) and the local government unit of Tugbok District.
One of the beneficiaries of the CPAR project is the Tacunan Dairy Farmers Cooperative (TADAFCO), a cooperative whose farmer-members are mainly into milk production from dairy animals which were dispersed through a loan granted by the National Dairy Authority (NDA). With an original 22 dairy farmer-members, it operated in 2003 with 11 dairy cows distributed to four farmer-cooperators. This started as initial investment of the cooperative.
Specifically, the CPAR project aims to address the problem on expensive commercial feeds by providing the TADAFCO farmer-members quality but affordable feeds for their lactating cows. By formulating their own feeds, the cooperative can also sell them to non-members in relatively cheaper price hence, providing additional source of income for the farmer-members.
“As part of the project intervention, TADAFCO farmer-members underwent a 40-hour training and seminar on feed mixing and formulation conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA),” said Myrna S. Cantilla, SMIARC senior agriculturist and CPAR project leader.
Cantilla explained that in feed formulation, crude protein (CP) is an essential consideration. Crude protein estimates the total protein content of feeds and usually, the higher the CP content in commercial feeds, the more expensive it is. The lactating mash that TADAFCO formulated is essential to produce large volume of quality milk with 20 percent CP.
Mr. Javier Oliveros, a TADAFCO farmer-member, said that “In the feeds that we produce, the CP is higher but still cheaper. This is indeed good news for small dairy farmers like us. For members, we sell the feeds P13.20/kg while for non-members we sell it for P16.50/kg so that for every kilo that we sell, our Coop earns additional P3.30/kg net profit.”
TADAFCO Chairman Patricio S. Ultiano, the CPAR project on dairy cow feeds processing is a big help for the small dairy farmers in Tacunan. “There was a big increase in our milk production and we earnestly hope that with the good results of this project we will be able to encourage more farmers to go into dairy farming and contribute more to the national production of milk in the country,” he said.
“Prior to this CPAR project, our average daily milk production is 104 liters which amounts to P14,560. After we started formulating our own feeds, our average daily milk production is 117 liters of P16, 380. On a daily production basis, we get a net profit of P1,820 or P7,280 monthly,” Ultiano added.
Cantilla, said that although the CPAR project is still in its early stage of implementation, good results are already being reaped by the beneficiaries. “We are hoping that more dairy farmers will be able to adopt the technology introduced in this project so that more of them will be benefited not just the Tacunan dairy farmers.”
This article was based on the study titled, “CPAR: Dairy Cow Feeds Processing in Brgy. Tacunan and Ula, Tugbok District, Davao City” by Myrna S. Cantila of the Department of Agriculture-Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-SMIARC), Bago Oshiro, Mintal, Davao City.