DTRI director and researcher serve as trainors in the Regional Training on Forage Production at Cagayan State University Lal-lo Campus

Posted by Joey Domingo

Cagayan State University (CSU) conducted the “Regional Training and Capability-Building on Forage Establishment, Utilization and Management for Resilient Livestock Production” last August 16-18, 2017 at Lal-lo Campus.

Invited as resource speakers and trainors were Dr. Amado A. Angeles, DTRI Director and ruminant nutrition expert, and Mr. Menandro M. Loresco, University Researcher with specialization on forage production and conservation.   

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Urduja A. Tejada, CSU president expressed her full support to the project which aims to ensure feed/food security in Region 2 despite the impending threat of climate change.  Dr. Simeon R. Rabanal Jr., campus executive officer and Dr. Florante Victor M. Balatico, university director for development and extension affirmed the importance of the training to build their capability on forage production in support of CSU’s future projects and also to assist the growing livestock industry in the region.  The training addressed the feed problems confronting farmers raising ruminants such as goats, sheep, cattle and carabaos.  

Dr. Angeles discussed the principles and practices in feed formulation and feeding management for ruminants. He also presented the more advanced feed technology, the total mixed ration (TMR), which provides complete nutrition in every bite. He emphasized the importance of providing consistent quality feed to achieve the desired level of production whether it is through the conventional method of feeding roughages, concentrates and supplements separately or the modern feeding systems such as the TMR.

Mr. Loresco discussed pasture establishment, forage production and feed preservation for small and commercial livestock operations. He underscored that introduced forages should be given proper care to have a good ‘head start’ to overcome the weeds and sustain productivity in the long term. “Forages are not weeds; weeds grow anywhere and would usually compete with the main crops for limited resources such as water, minerals, light and space”.  He also gave a simple analogy that would aptly apply in ruminant feeding: that grasses are similar to the rice that human eat, a good source of energy, while legumes such as Ipil-ipil and Centrosema are viands that provide protein, vitamins and minerals. A balanced proportion of these two plus concentrate supplementation would be sufficient to satisfy the animal’s nutrient requirement. 

The practicum on pasture establishment and silage making was conducted during the two afternoon sessions.  In the afternoon of the first day,  the participants had hands-on experience on the proper technique of planting Napier grass during the rainy season; other techniques and some modifications were also explained depending on the conditions i.e. dry season, few planting materials and limited labor.  The practicum on silage making using Napier grass was enjoyable as it became a competition among the farmers from the different participating municipalities. It was a relief that an efficient forage chopper was available to do away with the manual chopping, which would be tedious and would make the activity impossible to finish within the time available. The participants learned the importance of chopping Napier to the correct size, adding molasses at the recommended proportion (i.e. 2 to 4% by weight), compacting the materials until no or minimal space was left for air, properly sealing with at least two layers of plastic sheets and binding with rubber band to ensure the drum silos were airtight to facilitate fermentation and produce good quality silage after at least one month of storage.

The regional training was participated by almost 80 farmers from Region 2. Present also were some faculty and staff from CSU Piat campus, Nueva Vizcaya State University and Quirino State University, and some employees of the municipal agriculture offices in the area.  A retired CSU professor who is now a seasoned agri- entrepreneur, Dr. Mandac shared the formula of his success to the training participants. 

The concept of ‘learning by doing’ was instilled in the minds of the farmers who were more than eager to learn and adopt the technologies that can provide solutions to their perennial problem of feed shortage.

Dr. Angeles considered the training as a timely activity with the current challenges on ruminant production e.g. low milk and meat production. “There is a pressure in the academe to take a pro-active role to increase farm productivity”. He added that directly engaging farmers is a straightforward approach to knowing their needs and thereby propose solutions to improve their farm practices and subsequently their standard of living. (Text by Menandro M. Loresco and photo courtesy of Amado A. Angeles)