Getting to know the Oberhasli goat and why they are perfect for milk production in the Philippines. 

by Zac B. Sarian

A recently introduced dairy goat in the country is proving to be an exceptional dairy breed for the tropical conditions of the Philippines. This is the goat called Oberhasli, which has a dark red coat.

At the Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna, the top milker named Colby 464 had an average yield of 4.5 liters of milk daily for the whole month of March 2014. From April up to this writing, it has been averaging 3.48 kilos daily. Colby is now in its second lactation.

Rene Almeda, who operates Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) together with his sons Art and Toti, believes that Oberhasli is perfect for milk production under the hot climate of the Philippines.

Its first daughter named OberLar 172 is also doing very well. It is now in its first lactation and has been giving an average of 2.3 liters of milk daily. This is considered exceptional for a first-timer.

Rene Almeda, who operates Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) together with his sons Art and Toti, believes that Oberhasli is perfect for milk production under the hot climate of the Philippines. He has observed that right after he obtained the first Oberhasli goats, they quickly adapted to the local weather.

They also adapted easily to the feeding system at AGF, which is grazing them as well as feeding them with cut grass from their so-called Alaminos Salad Garden for goats. Under this system, the goats are fed with freshly cut grass from a field planted to selected forage crops like Indigofera, signal grass, mulberry, centrosema, and others. The latest addition is the highly-touted Pakchong 1 napier developed in Thailand.

The Almedas are the recipients of what is called loan-in-kind, which is also paid in kind. In July 2012, the Bureau of Animal Industry delivered to Alaminos Goat Farm 18 Oberhasli doelings and one buck under the AGRIPBeS program. The acronym stands for “Accelerating the Genetic Resource Improvement Program for Beef Cattle and Small Ruminants.”

AGRIPBeS was initiated by the BAI, funded through proceeds from the USPL 480 program of the US-AID. Out of the 18 does that the Almedas received, they selected the top performers to form part of the foundation stock for their own Oberhasli Dairy Breed Improvement program. On their own, they also imported an expensive progeny of a champion buck from the United States to beef up their Oberhasli herd.

In a planned breeding program, the top performing Colby 464 and its daughter, OberLar 172, will be bred to their prized import known by its long name OberBoerd

Lead The Way. This is the designated herd sire for the top performing Oberhaslis at the AGF, according to Rene.

Rene is very confident that by 2015, Alaminos Goat Farm will have established a strong foundation of well-bred, high-milking Oberhaslis.

He added that another offspring of Colby 464 in its second lactation at AGF is a beautiful doeling which has been christened LAR 180. This will be part of the farm’s breeding program. It is a full sister of OberLar 172 which is doing very well in its first lactation.

GOOD NUTRITION– Rene Almeda believes that the key to successful dairy goat production is proper nutrition aside from superior genetics. Other goat raisers are taking a good look at the progress of the Alaminos Salad Garden feeding program with Indigofera as the main tree legume.

He says that starting the newly weaned kids with fresh cuttings of Indigofera gives the weanlings an early start. AGF has also come up with pelleted goat’s rations with 30% shredded Indigofera. This results in healthy young kids with smooth and shiny hair in their coats.

Rene further notes that when the kids are fed Indigofera-based pellets, they don’t get diarrhea. And there has been no mortality among the kids fed with their pellet formulation, which contains 30 percent shredded Indigofera .

Pelleted rations have significant advantages. For one, the nutrients are uniformly available in the feed. If the feed is not pelleted, the goat may choose what it wants to eat among the feed materials supplied. In the case of pellets, the right proportions are intact. Rene explains that if a kid eats an overdose of concentrates, it could result in diarrhea which can be fatal.

Rene adds that raising kids using the ASG feeding program makes everything look very easy. The goats have adapted very well to the fresh Indigofera cuttings given as forage, cut-and-carry style. The pelleted goat’s feed has a protein content of 18 percent.

Aside from the improved performance of the kids on pelleted feeds, there are also big savings on the cost of feeds. Rene estimates that by adding 30 percent shredded Indigofera to the pellets, the cost of feed is reduced by at least 20 percent.

At the Alaminos Goat Farm over the last two years, mortality was at an all-time low for the newly weaned kids. Diarrhea, which was a common problem for newly weaned kids that are introduced to concentrates for the first time, is now a thing of the past. The addition of shredded Indigofera to the pellets solved it completely.

COMES PAKCHONG 1– The very hot and long dry spell from March to May earlier this year alarmed the Almedas. The forage grass growth slowed down tremendously, putting pressure on the supply for feeding the dairy goats.

Then they learned about the Pakchong 1, the Super Napier, which we wrote about after visiting the project of Dr. Krailas Kyiothong at the Nakhonratchasima Animal Nutrition Research and Development Center in Thailand. They bought planting materials at a high cost last April.

The AGF father-and-sons team decided to irrigate portions of the Alaminos Salad Garden during the dry season and added the highyielding Pakchong hybrid napier to it. Data collected indicates an increase in the supply of forage grass by four times using Pakchong versus the Florida napier that was previously grown.

The biggest happening this year at AGF is the fact that a bigger number of milkers are born locally and raised under tropical conditions. They are much cheaper than the very expensive goats imported from the United States.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s September 2014 issue.