Cattle Raising in Philippines
Popular foods in the Philippines are made from beef such as kaldereta , nilagang bulalo , corned beef, mechado , and other delicious dishes. Yet the fact remains that cattle production in the Philippines is essentially small-scale. If adequate inputs and proper source of draft power, organic fertilizer, and milk are given, small-scale cattle raising can become a very profitable livelihood activity among farm households.
Through cattle-raising, agricultural by-products and wastes can be utilized by converting these into animal feeds. Likewise, marginal and idle lands can be made productive as forage production areas.
Choice of cattle breed depends on the intended purpose (for meat, milk, or draft). Several breeds were introduced to improve the quality of existing stock. The following are some of the breeds that are proven adaptable:
1. For meat cattle breed
- Ongole/Nellore. Usually colored white but its hump and neck are dark gray. Mature male weighs 730-834 kg while the female weighs 420-625 kg.
- Santa Gertrudis. Color is red to cherry red. Has loose hide with skin folds on the neck and sheath or navel flap. Hair is short and straight in warm climates. Usually horned. Male weighs 750-1000 kg and female weighs 563-670 kg.
- Bali or Banteng. Color is brown which changes to
black for adult males. Body is neat, compact and deep with
well-developed forequarters. The medium-sized horn curve up and
slightly backward. Mature weight for males is 350-375 kg while females
average about 210 kg. The udder is small with no distinct dewlap.
2. For dairy cattle breed
- Brahman. Color varies from gray to white, brown, red, and black with occasional spots. It has a prominent hump over the shoulders with loose, pendulous skin under the throat. It has a long face with drooping ears. The mature male weighs 726-998 kg while the female weighs 454-635 kg. It is highly tolerant to heat and resistant to insects and diseases.
- Holstein Friesian. Its color combination of black and white may vary from a spotted white to almost all black. Quiet and docile. Mature male weighs 818 kg and female weighs 568 kg. Average milk production is 22 kg/day.
- Brown Swiss. Color ranges from fawn to almost black with light-colored muzzle and a stripe along the back. Quiet and docile. Matured male weighs 909 kg while female weighs 591 kg. Average milk production is 17 kg/day.
3. Dual Purpose Cattle Breed (Meat/Milk)
- Sahiwal. Reddish brown with or without white markings. The massive hump in males frequently fall to one side. The body is heavily symmetrical with a short and lean neck while the dewlap is large and heavy. Matured male weighs 540 kg and female weighs 370 kg. Average milk production is 8 kg/day.
- Tharparkar. May be white or gray with a light gray along the backbone. The color deepens when pregnant. Mature male usually weighs 540 kg while female weighs 385 kg. Average milk production is 6 kg/day.
- Red Sindhi. May be red, dark-red, or light yellow with occasional white spots on the forehead. Matured male weighs 415 kg while female weighs 310 kg. Average milk production is 6 kg/day.
Breed Selection Guide:
For cows and heifers
1. Milking ability and femininity
- Has mild maternal face with bright and alert eyes, good disposition, and quiet temperament
- Has an udder of good size and shape which is carried well forward and up behind
- Has an udder that is soft, flexible, and spongy to touch
- Has wild hind quarters wit prominent and well-developed vulva
Cows and heifers are most productive from 4-8 years of age. Productivity, however, varies between breeds and type of management adapted. Generally, they remain productive for 13 years if they are allowed to start calving at the age of 3. use heifer for breeding at 18-20 months or when the animal weighs 220-250 kg.
3. Breeding ability
Cows that calve regularly are desirable. Lactating cows lose flesh readily when nursing their calves but regains quickly after the lactation period.
4. Types and conformation
An ideal cow is triangular in from while a beef cow should be rectangular.
- For bulls
1. Physical features
A wide barrel indicates a well-developed digestive system and healthy vital organs. Likewise, a full heart girth, well-rounded muzzle, large nostrils and muscular cheeks and jaws, well-rounded thighs, and full loin reflect good body constitution.
2. Sex characteristics
Look for the well-developed , uniform and fully descended testicles with penis parallel to the body. A deep, wide chest, and a broad head indicate virility and good reproductive ability.
Use bull for breeding when they are 18 months of age or 250-280 kg in weight.
Using a 2-yr old steer or older is advantageous because it fattens easily over a shorter period of time.
An active yet quiet and easy-to-handle steer usually grows fast and fattens easily.
3. Constitution and vigor
A large heartgirth, well-sprung ribs, and a wide, deep, and full chest show constitution and vigor.
Young bulls gain weight faster than steer while requiring 22% less feed to produce a kilogram weight. Bulls also produce leaner carcass which is nearly the same as that of steer. Steers gain approximately 10% more weight while requiring only 10-15% less feed than heifer.
Healthy animal is active, with a moist muzzle, bright eyes, and a smooth hair coat. Animals with physical defects should not be used.
Proper housing is an important factor to be considered for a successful backyard cattle-raising activity. The shed protects the animal from adverse environmental conditions and at the same time provides convenience in management operations.
A cattle shed should be established in a well-drained area. It must be well-ventilated, free from sharp edges, and provided with feeding and drinking troughs and manure pit or box.
Feeding may be done by tethering, loose grazing or cut and carry. Cut and carry can be integrated into the two systems when the animals are confined at night.
- Tethering. Animal is tied to a 10-12m long rope and allowed to graze from 6-8 hours a day in two separate sites. Before and after grazing, the animal should be given water to drink.
- Loose grazing. Animal is let loose in an open grassland, fallow field, or under plantation for 5-6 hours daily. This will give the animals access to a wider range of pasture. However, a herder is necessary to prevent possible destruction of crops and loss of the animal.
- Cut and carry. The forage is cut and fed to the animal in confinement. This system is practiced during months when fields are occupied and in areas where pastureland is scarce.