Created on Monday, 04 May 2015

 Determining the forage varieties best suited to livestock is not at all easy for farmers without due consultation and guidance. 

This was revealed during the recently held Livestock and Forage Management Technology Seminar in the City of Naga, Cebu. 

According to Marianito Doydora, Chief of the Department of Agriculture – Ubay Stock Farm (DA–USF) in Bohol, the reason why livestock are malnourished is due to wrong feeding and choice of forage. 

Doydora said that most farmers feed livestock with cogon grasses and weeds which have little or no nutrient at all. He added that grazing beneath bamboo shrubs exposes herds to dangers of snake bites. 

Toxic common weeds such as hagonoy (chromolaena odorata), kandingkanding (lantana camara), panggoum (yellow bell), and balensuri (giant mimosa) intrude in pasture areas and stunt the growth of forage plants, Doydora said. He observed common practice of farmers is to feed livestock with kodzu legumes. Doydora emphasized that kodzu are cover crops and not feeds. 

He added that valuable grasses and legumes abound in the region, but are not utilized by many farmers for lack of information. 

Good quality grasses are napier, setaria, gamba, guinea, signal, humidicula, paragrass and stargrass, centrosema, stylosanthes, calopogonium, flemingia, mani-mani, and kangkong, Doydora said. 

Trees are also good sources of feeds such as  kakawate (gliciridia sepium), ipil-ipil, sesbania, anonang (cordia dechotoma), alagao (premna odorata), and gumamela.  

Other beneficial plant sources  are pineapple, yellow cassava, leaves of  mahogany, tipolo, kulo, kamansi, jackfruit, talisay, bugnay, kalamunggay, mahogany, and mangrove. 

Doydora cautioned that only the leaves and immature stems of forage plants contain high nutritive values of protein, carbohydrates, minerals, fats and vitamins the large and small ruminants need aside from water.  These are coarse foods yet digestible and palatable that readily provide a balanced diet for animals. 

Consistent intake of these feeds using the standard feeding ration will lead to higher dairy production and income augmentation from marketing of milk and live animals produced, Doydora assured.  

Planting materials (seeds/cuttings), methodologies (planting, fertilizer application, weed control and harvesting) and feed preparation using the formula of the standard feeding ration demonstrated during the seminar are available at Ubay Stock Farm in Bohol. (Lolita Maramara – RAFIS)