DAIRY PRODUCTION can rise to as much as eight to 10 liters of milk per cow from the usual two to four liters with greater use of fermented corn feed known as silage, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said.
The output gains were documented in a BAR-funded study conducted by researchers Nilo E. Padilla and Diosdado C. Cañete of Isabela State University (ISU) between 2017 until 2019.
“The demand for corn silage is quite big, not just in Isabela but also in other provinces,” Glacelle Alyne C. Malinao, BAR Coordinator for Livestock, told BusinessWorld in Quezon City on Monday.
Silage is fermented, high-moisture feed derived from various crops stored in silos or airtight plastic containers, among other production methods.
In a statement, BAR said that the project was piloted at Malaya Development Cooperative (MDC) and Quezon Dairy Farmers Cooperative, with farmers planting their own corn until the stalks 70 to 85 days old. The crop is then harvested, packed in 30 to 40 kilogram polyethylene bags, with the air vacuumed out.
The silage can be used for feed after three weeks of storage using this packing method, according to BAR.
Ms. Malinao said the equipment costs around P236,000 per set, though other providers may charge more.
“The silage can be stored for as little as a week, but it can be stored longer to ferment it more,” Ms. Malinao said.
The projected cost of corn silage per kilo is P4.15, according to Ms. Malinao.
Bernalin P. Cadayong, Senior Economic Development Specialist of BAR’s Technology Commercialization Division, said that corn silage can also form the basis of a business for farmers’ cooperatives.
Ms. Cadayong said silage can be resorted to during the dry season where the other feeds are less available.
“If you have stored silage, you have a backup feed for the cattle,” Ms. Cadayong said.
The National Dairy Authority (NDA) has said that it aims to make the Philippines 10% milk sufficient in 2022 with plans to import 1,500 dairy cattle this year, and 2,500 dairy goats per year for the next three years.
The NDA is also working with institutions and governments of other countries with expertise in dairy production to teach farmers new technology and practices. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio