Philippine Local Forages as Sustainable Feed Alternative for Dairy Cattle




We successfully reintroduced the six select forages in selected areas in Batangas and Siquijor through the research and extension/training components of the project in collaboration with our project partners, BatStateU, De La Salle Lipa, PABRD, Benacorn Corp. PVO Siquijor and SAMABACO.   The collaboration with Batangas State University Lobo Campus allowed us to conduct forage performance evaluation, establish a duplicate forage genebank and conduct a trainor’s training on forage production and conservation, activities which will surely have an impact in the revival of interest on local pasture resources.  BatStateU can replicate the training in their area by using the training module and manual we developed for their use in educating the small farmers on the importance of quality forages as cheap source of feed. 

The forage introduction in Siquijor in collaboration with the Provincial Veterinary Office of Siquijor also provided strong support system to the cattle genomic project which tapped the local cattle population of the island as potential source of a local dairy breed in the country.  

A tissue culture laboratory facility at DTRI-UPLB was established for the micropropagation of hybrid Napier grass. The successful propagation of Napier grass from leaf tissues via tissue culture was a pioneering work in the Philippines. This accomplishment will have important applications with regards to rapid multiplication of planting materials from the limited samples of elite forages. The availability of enough quantity of planting materials is vital in support of the pasture development initiatives of both public and private sectors to sustain the growing ruminant industry.

The forage performance evaluation conducted in three locations affirmed the significant effect of environment i.e. soil and climate on the herbage yield of the six select forages.   The genetic potential of forages to produce high biomass was hindered by the unfavorable environment e.g. infertile soil, lack of water in the location where these were introduced. Long established concept of genetic x environment interaction on crop performance would necessitate the application of location –specific cultural management interventions to optimize the performance the select forages.  In the present study, the same cultural management practices such as fertilizer application was applied in all three locations to show the genotypic differences among the six forage species as expressed phenotypically through parameters like plant height, herbage yield and nutrient composition.

The TMR feeding study provided results that lean towards the claimed advantage of feeding this complete dairy ration to milking cows. More milk of better quality i.e. high protein, minerals and total solids  was produced by cows fed the more nutritious TMR (HD-TMR) compared with the high forage TMR (LD-TMR), however at the expense of lowered fat content. Higher number of experimental animals and replication of the feeding trial in backyard-, semi- and commercial- dairy farms would be necessary to obtain more valid results that would merit its commercial viability to dairy farmer-adopters.

The unexpected deterioration of RNA samples sent to the US for RNA sequencing was unexpected. The physiological effects that will be inferred through bioinformatics from the sequencing data of RNA extracted from milk of experimental animals was not determined in the present study. Nevertheless, milk yield and quality data obtained leaned towards the beneficial effects of feeding high quality ration such as the TMR at the animal production level.  We will consider pursuing this laboratory procedure in our future researches.

Nevertheless, the project generated science-based data and information from the numerous R & D activities conducted during its 15 months duration that could encourage our dairy farmers to reconsider the sustainable use of the local forage resources that we currently have and explore the utilization of indigenous plants as feed source to sustain animal production.


September 1, 2016 to January 31, 2018. Source of Fund: USAID STRIDE & RTI

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