The high demand and marketability for goat meat in the Philippines is yet to be met by the supply. For the current statistics showing that commercial goat raisers accounts to 2 percent of total goat population compared to 98 percent from backyard raisers still shows opportunities for enhancement. Goat raising is a sunrise industry with big opportunities for growth and sustainability. 

Most commercial scale goat raisers plant their own forage. These raisers grow their goat’s forage to ensure sustainability and good nutritional value forage for goats. It is known that goats are pickers on types of forage they eat hence requires forage strata to maintain goat’s nutritional needs. Forage can also be legumes to provide rich protein source to goats.

The potential for improving supply by increasing population of goats can be expressed by food source. In order to support a fast growing goat population, raisers realize the availability of grass for their goats. As typical ruminating goats would need plenty forage puts limit to the goat raiser’s allowable population. The limited farm size and availability of forage dictates raisers the number of goats they can raise, thus we are not able to improve our supply for goats. If we will be able to increase forage options, we will be able to support more goats than what we have with our current practices. Confined approach in goat breeding has turned many medium to large scale goat raisers to reap benefits and profit from this type of strategy. Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) can be selected as a primary livestock feed in small to medium scale goat farm.Because farms are limited, typical graze land is 0.5 to 2.0 hectares. Animals can be confined and cut-and-carry of forage mechanism can help goat farmers maximize their lot. Forage can then be planted around the farm and feeding the animals can be done without much environmental difficulty to farmers like during typhoon in the rainy season. Napier grass, also called Elephant Grass is named after Colonel Napier of Bulawayo Zimbabwe who advocated Rhodesia’s Department of Agriculture in research and propagation of information concerning the use of the said grass to ruminants. There are different variants of Napier all around the world but the most notable with respect to livestock is the “Super” Napier variant. Local name in the Philippines is Pakchong and has been recently shown to be adaptive to Philippine climate. This variant from Thailand developed by Dr. Kiyothong took center stage on a technical seminar at the Philippine Carabao Center in Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija. Pakchong 1 (Super Napier) contains 16 to 18 percent more crude protien compared to common grasses and becomes a perennial plant that can be harvested of its leaves every 45 to 55 days.

You can obtain plant samples from the Philippine Carabao Center. You may also find Pakchong cutting sellers from established goat farms. Others even offer cheap prices online and via facebook goat enthusiast groups. By taking advantage of the latest technologies on forage production, we will be able to support higher goat count on our herds, but as well increasing the profitability for our goat business.

By Kyle

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