Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles




Francisco A. Moog



2.1 Climate
2.2 Agro-ecological zones
2.3 Soils and topography


4.1 Existing resources
4.2 Opportunities for Improvement of Pasture Resources




Figure 1. Map of Philippines


The Philippines is an island country stretching 1,839 km north-to-south off the southeast coast of Asia. It has a total land area of 300,000 km2 composed of 7,107 islands. It is part of the East Indies, a vast island group lying southeast of mainland Asia, with Taiwan at its northwest coast and Borneo in the South. It isbounded by three large bodies of water: on the west and north by the South China Sea; on the east by the Pacific Ocean; and on the south by the Celebes Sea and the coastal waters of Borneo.

The country is divided into three major island groups: Luzon with an area of 141,000 km2; Visayas, 57,000 km2; and Mindanao, 102,000 km2. For administrative purposes, the Philippines is grouped into regions. At present there are 16 regions that are further subdivided into provinces and municipalities. The smallest administrative unit is the barangay with several barangays constituting each municipality.

Land classification and utilization

The two major classifications of land in the Philippines are the Alienable and Disposable (A & D) and the Forest lands, both of which are considered lands of public domain. A & D lands refer to those which have been declared but not needed for forest purposes. Forest lands are areas in the public domain that have been classified for forest use such as public forest, permanent forest or forest reserves, timberlands, grazing lands, game refuge and bird sanctuaries, and areas which are not yet declared A & D.

Of the country’s total land area, forest land has the highest share with 53% as of 1996. Agricultural land has about 33%, while those used for inland fisheries, settlements and open land account for 2, 0.44 and 0.04%, respectively. Mining and quarrying has the least with only 0.03 percent. At present, grazing on forest lands for livestock production is found on steep 18 to 50% slopes.

Farming sector

Based on the 1991 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF), there were 10 M ha of agricultural land (BAS 1998). About 54 percent of the farmlands were used for growing temporary crops and 42 percent were covered by permanent crops. The 1991 CAF also showed that the country has about 2.4 M rice farms, 1.8 M corn farms, 2.7 M coconut farms and 208,600 sugarcane farms. Hog and chicken were reported on 2.6 M and 3.6 M farms, respectively. Average farm area was 2.16 ha, with close to 37 percent less than a hectare in size.

Farming activities are normally done by the farmer himself with some help from his family. In larger scale enterprises, farmers may hire the services of other persons for preparation of the field, planting and harvesting. Management of farms is in the hands of the family members. Payments to hired labourers are either in cash or in kind and the price depends on the prevailing rate in the locality. The total man-days required to finish the agricultural activity for a certain crop varies with location and type of cropping systems employed. The use of animals and/or tractors/machines facilitates work.

In 1996, crop production was rice at 11.3 M metric tons, corn at 4.0 M metric tons, coconut at 11.9 M metric tons and sugarcane at 23.6 M metric tons. They occupied almost 31, 21, 24 and 3 percent of the aggregated area, respectively. Data shows a total area of 3.95 M ha of rice harvested, with 2.48 M ha, or about 63%, being irrigated. Rice is extensively grown in the moist and dry zones with irrigation in Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Cagayan Valley and Southern Tagalog.

Corn, on the other hand, covered 2.73 M ha with nearly 62%, or 1.7 M ha, devoted to white corn. Major areas planted to corn are the moist areas of Southern, Central and Northern Mindanao. Coconut occupies 3.1 M ha and is grown nationwide, but its production is concentrated in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Central Visayas, and in Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Mindanao. Sugarcane is grown in 373,000 ha with Western Visayas leading other regions in production.

Preliminary figures on Philippine trade indicated that agriculture generated US$2,306.6 M worth of export products (BAS 1998). This amount is equivalent to 11.3 percent of the country’s total export earnings. Coconut continued to be the major dollar earner. On the other hand, agricultural imports accounted for 10 percent of the country’s total imports. The leading import items are wheat and melin, and milk and cream. For the past five years, the country has not been self-sufficient in rice and corn. In 1997, rice and corn imports amounted to 731,000 metric tons and 303,000 metric tons, respectively (BAS 1998).

Ruminant sector

Using 1997 statistics, the agriculture sector contributed 21 percent of the country’s GDP. The crops sub-sector contributed 54 percent of the total agricultural output; livestock 13 percent; poultry 14 percent; and fishery 19 percent. There are 2.97 M carabao (buffalo), 2.27 M cattle and 3.02 M goats (BAS 1998). Between 1993 and 1997, the average increase in cattle inventory was 4.4 percent; carabao, 3.6 percent; and goats, 4.25 percent. In general, ruminant population has been increasing for the last five years, except for carabao which recorded a 0.8 percent reduction in 1994. Grazing of livestock is common in the dry zones of Southern Mindanao. FAO statistics on animal numbers and production are given in Table 1.

In terms of value of production based on current prices, cattle contributed 11.5 billion pesos or 63 percent of the total ruminant production in 1997. Carabao, goats and dairy contributed 3.6 billion and 2.8 billion pesos, respectively, while dairy contributed only 118,000 pesos. Due to shortage of local beef supply, 18.5 percent of the country’s total beef requirement is imported (Table 1).

Table 1: Philippines statistics for ruminant numbers, beef, veal, buffalo meat and milk production, cattle imports and beef and veal imports for the period 1992-2001 (FAO Database 2002)
Cattle nos. (,000,000)
Buffalo nos. (,000,000)
Goat nos. (,000,000)
Beef & veal prod. (,000 mt)
Buffalo meat prod. (,000 mt)
Milk prod. (,000 mt)
Cattle imports (,000)
Beef & veal imports (,000 mt)
Source: FAO statistics 2002 n.r. = no records


2.1 Climate

The Philippines has a tropical climate dominated by rainy and dry seasons. The mean annual average temperature is about 27° C. The hottest months are April, May and June with average temperatures ranging from 27.8 to 28.4° C. The coldest months are December, January and February with average temperature ranging from 26.1° C to as low as 25.5° C.

Based on seasonal rainfall distribution, the four general types of climate in the Philippines are:

Type 1 – Two pronounced seasons, wet and dry, with maximum rain period from June to September and a dry season which lasts from 3 to 6 months.

Type II – No dry season, with a very pronounced maximum rain period that occurs in December and January.

Type III – Not very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season lasting from 1 to 3 months.

Type IV – Rainfall more or less distributed throughout the year.

2.2 Agro-ecological zones

Based on rainfall, temperature, and other parameters such as elevation and land form, three agro-ecological zones are identified (BSWM 1993abc). These are broad zones, which are relatively uniform with respect to crop production potential, and also provide the generalized physical conditions and ecological information needed for the determination of crop suitability. The zones are:

Wet zone – Regions with rainfall usually greater than 2,500 mm annually with slight moisture deficit during the dry season and a crop growing period of 270 to 320 days. Average temperature is cool ranging from 19.0 to 22.90C. These conditions dominate in the hilly/mountainous to highland regions. The wet zone area covers 47.6% (6.7 M ha) of Luzon’s total area, 44% (2.5 M ha) in Visayas and 31.5% (3.2 M ha) in Mindanao. In areas where slope and other soil properties are favourable, this zone is favourable for the production of some traditional and exotic crops such as tea, grapes, pears, strawberries and other plants which require semi-temperate conditions.

Moist zone – Regions with rainfall ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 mm annually with moderate moisture deficit during the dry season and a crop growing period of 210 to 270 days. It covers most of the present agricultural and expansion area in the lowland, upland and hilly regions. Moist zone areas cover 5.7 M ha in Luzon, mostly in the Cordillera Autonomous region and Ilocos region. In the Visayas, it occupies 2.8 M ha, 72% of which is found in the Eastern region. In Mindanao, it covers 6.5 M ha.

Dry zone – Low rainfall regions with precipitation of less than 1,500 mm annually and with considerable moisture deficit during the dry season. The crop growing period is less than 6 months in some lowland and upland areas. Most of the dry zone area is found in Luzon with 1.8 M ha, mostly in its Central region. Dry zone is also found in Central Visayas with 0.4 M ha and in Mindanao with about 0.5 M ha covering portions of Davao del Sur, General Santos City, Cotabato City and Koronadal.

2.3 Soils and topography

Major topographic features

Owing to it's archipelagic nature, topographic variations characterize the Philippines. A study of the geological history of the archipelago shows that the islands are actually the peaks of mountains uplifted from the sea floor by horizontal pressure exerted by the Indo-Australian plate on the eastern borders of the Philippine Plate during the Miocene Period. The islands are, in effect, "half-drowned mountains" which form part of a long and wide Cordillera extending from Indonesia to Japan. Other peaks are volcanic in origin.

Luzon, the biggest island group, is the most mountainous with extensive valleys and plains running through its interiors. The southern portion of the island has a dominantly volcanic topography with ridges and valleys of gentle slopes and good drainage.

The group of islands located in the Central Philippines, commonly known as the Visayan Islands, is fully exposed to the typhoons from the Pacific and torrential rains which have produced severe dissection of its topography.

Mindanao has diverse structural elements and different forms of physiographic development including fault block mountains, volcanic peaks, uplifted plateaus, low flat basins, a notable fault zone which cuts through Luzon and Visayas, fissures, flow masses, and incised valleys and canyons.

Major soil types

Based on interpretation of the Soil Map of the Philippines (Mariano and Valmidiano (1972), as cited by Badayos (1994)), the country’s soils may be grouped into six soil orders, namely: Ultisols, Alfisols, Inceptisols, Vertisols, Entisols and Oxisols. Except for the Aridisols and Spodosols, the other soil orders, Histosols and Mollisols, are also observed but to a limited extent. In terms of distribution, the Ultisols cover about 8.6 M ha or approximately 41.5% of the total land area. The unsurveyed mountain soils cover about 28.6% and the Inceptisols, Alfisols, Vertisols, Entisols and Oxisols, cover 13.7%, 9.9%, 3.6%, 2.5% and 0.3%, respectively.


Scale of enterprise

Cattle production is classified into 3 categories:- backyard or smallholder farms, the ranches or commercial farms, and the commercial feedlots. About 90 percent of the cattle population is raised in small farms. Most small farm households usually keep 1 or 2 head of cattle mainly for draught, and these are sold when there is need for cash. In Batangas province, specialized cattle fattening occurs as a source of additional income. The provinces with most smallholder cattle are Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte and Batangas in Luzon; Cebu and Negros Oriental in Visayas; and Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao.

About 10 percent of the national cattle herd is in the commercial ranches. Except for the farms covered by the Forest Land Grazing Lease Agreement (FLGLA) which occupies 227,000 ha (Farm Management Bureau 1996), the total land area devoted to ranching is not accurately determined. There are ranches that operate their own titled land, and those that lease properties from private individuals. The provinces with the highest commercial cattle population are Masbate and Nueva Ecija in Luzon, and Bukidnon and South Cotabato in Mindanao. With an aggregate population of 104,000 head, the four provinces account for about 50 percent of the total cattle population on commercial farms.

Commercial feedlot operation is concentrated in the Davao-General Santos area in Mindanao and in some provinces of Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon. The commercial feedlots rely on the importation of feeder cattle from Australia. Imports increased from 2,000 head in 1987 to 176,000 head in 1996. Lately, due to economic depression in the Southeast Asian region, there had been a drastic reduction in cattle imports.

Raising of carabao is predominantly a backyard activity with 99.8 percent of the total population in the hands of smallholders, mainly the rice farmers. Each farm raises 1-3 heads of carabao according to the area they cultivate. Semi-commercial ranch production of carabao with 25 to 100 heads is found in the marginal lands of Central and Northern Luzon where food crop production is not possible.

Dairying in the Philippines has yet to make its presence felt. Local milk production constitutes only one percent of the total industry, and the bulk of the country’s milk requirement is imported. Local milk production comes from a herd of less than 20,000 dairy cows distributed among a few commercial operations and a large number of small farms.

Feeding systems and integration of livestock into farming systems

With the majority of livestock raised on small farms, the feeding of animals in mixed crop/livestock farming systems revolves around the use of crop residues, weeds, tree leaves and planted fodder crops.

Gathering of forages is a year-round activity of the farm family. The kind of crops grown, the intensity of cropping and the extent of land utilization, coupled with environmental and management factors, determine the availability of the feed for livestock production. Productivity and performance of livestock varies in different locations, and among farms, depending upon the availability of forages and the farmers’ ingenuity to manipulate feeding on a year round basis. Farmers feed their animals with minimum or no cost except labor, because their main source of feed is the weeds and crop residues associated with their crops. Some farmers plant small areas to forage crops, either as monoculture or intercrops, to provide higher quality feed and to assure availability of feed during periods of scarcity. Rice or corn bran are fed when home-grown grains are milled, but only rarely.

In rice growing areas, weeds constitute about 50% of the feeds that are offered along with rice straw and other crop residues. In rainfed areas, paddy fields become communal grazing areas after rice harvest during the dry season. Grazing is limited to only a few days in irrigated fields which are double cropped. Stall feeding and tethering of animals in uncropped and idle lands is practiced during the growing period of the rice crop. Rice straw is the principal feed after rice harvest; other crop residues such as corn stover and legume hays are also fed whenever available.

In sugarcane producing areas, weeds are the principal feed during the growing stage of sugarcane. Sugarcane tops constitute 75 to 100 percent of the feeds after the harvest and cane milling season which coincides with the dry season.

In small coconut plantations, cattle and carabaos are tethered to graze on native vegetation. Some farmers have established small patches of napier for cut-and-carry feeding. A number of commercial cattle and coconut enterprises grow guinea, para, star, signal and humidicola grasses for grazing.

In the province of Batangas, where fattening of one or a few head of cattle is a common practice, roughage in the form of fresh grasses, cane tops, corn stover, and rice straw is supplemented with fresh Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena, known locally as Ipil-ipil) leaves. Some farmers feed a concentrate mixture at 0.5% of the animal’s body weight through forced-feeding. Chopped leucaena (Ipil-ipil) leaves, or cassava leaves when available, are mixed with the concentrate. Home-mixed concentrate commonly consists of copra meal, rice bran, salt, ground oyster shell and molasses.

Goats are commonly tethered and given supplements of leucaena (Ipil-ipil), Gliricidia and other fodder trees which are bundled and hung under the house or in trees. Some goats free graze existing shrubs and other vegetation.

Depending on their location, commercial feedlots utilize sugarcane tops, bananas rejected for export, pineapple pulp or brewers’ spent grain. Green corn fodder is produced and supplied by a large number of farmers to feedlot operators in Davao and in the Santos area. Corn fodder production has taken over a significant portion of the corn grain production area. Some farmers prefer growing corn for fodder because they can have 3 to 4 crops a year and they do not experience crop failure, particularly if droughts occur.

Production constraints

Problems associated with the growth and expansion of the ruminant livestock industry are primarily due to the insufficient number of breeding animals brought about by high slaughter rate and low reproductive efficiency. A number of other factors contribute, namely:-

(a) Indiscriminate slaughtering of breeders. The increasing demand for beef and beef products in the market has led to an indiscriminate slaughter of breeding animals, young female cattle and carabaos, and even pregnant animals. The practice has led to the depletion of the breeder base and has considerably reduced the reproductive capability of the industry.

(b) Calf production is not attractive. Calf production is generally an unattractive option for farmers because carabao and cattle have long gestation periods, thus it takes time to earn from their investment. The high mortality of young animals and low farm gate prices discourage farmers from calf production.

(c) Animals are raised mainly for draught. With the majority of carabaos and backyard cattle raised for draught, mating is often deliberately delayed or totally avoided because of the belief that once the cow is bred, it is no longer fit for work. The normal practice is to wait for 6-9 months after calving before re-breeding.

(d) Limited detection of heat. Farmers have difficulties detecting female breeders that are on-heat and this makes breeding animals in the backyard a problem. Although some farmers can detect signs of oestrus, a number of potential female breeders are not mated because they are not constantly observed.

(e) Female breeders have limited access to bulls. Most of the cattle and carabaos are tethered and generally kept in feeding areas. This management system limits free access of on-heat female carabaos to bulls.

(f) Bulls with good potential are being castrated. Bulls with superior size are generally selected for draught purposes. At 3-4 years of age, they are castrated to be docile. This practice has left the natural breeding opportunities to smaller and inferior bulls.

(g) Lack of good quality feed. Most farmers don’t grow forage nor utilize the available fodder trees to supplement the poor quality roughage that is often available but in insufficient quantity. Moreover, shortages in feed are experienced due to fluctuations in feed supply, inefficient utilization of farm by-products, and improper handling and processing of forage crops during peak supply periods or during harvesting of field crops.

Socio-economic constraints (a) High price of locally produced beef. The average local price of beef has been increasing by 9.8 percent per year due to the widening gap between the domestic production and demand. Due to the lower price of imported beef compared to locally produced product, beef imports have been increasing.

(b) Absence of security of tenure. Control over land for a sufficient period of time is necessary to recover large investments in ranching. While the pasture lease system under FLGLA is effective for 25 years there is little assurance of its renewal or extension.

(c) Poor "law and order" situation. In some areas, insurgencies have caused a drastic decline in the number of commercial stock. With threats of insurgency, many ranchers have closed, sold or transferred their stock to other areas.

(d) Presence of squatters. The presence of squatters on ranches affects the grazing operation and inhibits owners from improving their areas.

(e) Granting of pasture leases to non-bonafide ranchers. Ranching is generally regarded as a secondary enterprise by some people who run other businesses. In earlier years, some ranchers became involved with FLGLA for land speculation rather than for genuine livestock enterprise, thus, there was little improvement in the ranch. Government efforts have now improved the selection criteria for granting leases to ensure they are only granted to bonafide applicants.

(f) Inadequate support services. Government supported and maintained animal breeding centres are inadequate to supply breeding animals either for natural mating or artificial insemination. There is a lack of breeding bulls and frozen semen and there are insufficient funds to provide efficient services to the farmers.

(g) Lack of appreciation on the value of improved pasture. Very few ranch operators are using improved pastures. Most ranchers depend on native pastures and rely only on their "farm hands" for the day-to-day management of their farm. Several ranchers have started introducing improved pasture species onto their properties. However, the species were planted in only small patches that are generally left unattended or unprotected from grazing animals. Expansion of improved pasture is very limited.


4.1 Existing resources

The feed resource base for ruminant production in the Philippines is essentially made up of the grasslands, the weeds, residues from croplands, the areas under plantation (primarily coconuts), and the industrial by-products.

Grassland areas

The Philippines has 1.5 M ha of grassland which constitute part of the public domain. Grazing is open to qualified groups and is administered by the Government through the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) via Pasture Lease Agreements (PLA) and Forest Land Grazing Lease Agreements (FLGLA). In 1996, there were 699 private individuals and corporations occupying 222,000 ha and 5,000 ha under FLGLA and PLA, respectively (Forest Management Bureau 1996). Extensive areas of grasslands are found in the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Bukidnon in Mindanao; in the island provinces of Masbate and Occidental Mindoro; and in Cagayan and Isabela in Luzon.

Philippine grasslands are dominated by "cogon grass", the local name for Imperata cylindrica that constitutes about 50% of total grazing area (Orlido-Aguilar 1995). Other major grass community types observed are Themeda, Capillipedium and Chryosopogon.

Coconut plantations

In addition to the grassland areas, there are 3.1 M ha planted to coconut that can be utilized for livestock production. The natural vegetation under coconuts has a range of species that varies according to location and level of management of plantation. The major components of the vegetation are grasses principally composed of Imperata cylindrica, Axonopus compressus, Paspalum conjugatum and Cyrtococcum spp. (Moog et al. 1993, Moog and Faylon 1991) The most common legumes are Centrosema pubescens,Calopogonium mucunoides and Pueraria javanica.

In 1983, it was estimated that about 400,000 ha of coconut land were stocked with cattle, buffalo or goats. Though growing of crops under coconuts is also practiced in some areas, most of the coconut plantations remain as monoculture. There is considerable potential in coconut plantations for the expansion of the livestock industry. With improvement of pastures even more animals could be raised under coconuts.

Cultivated croplands

Several plant species serve as forages on small farms, the majority of which are considered weeds, and this includes grasses that grow in cultivated rice and corn fields, e.g. Echinocloa colona, Rottboellia, Ischaemum rogosum and Dactyloctenium aegyptium (Moog and Acasio 1991). Other grass species used as feeds are Imperata cylindrica, Paspalum conjugatum and Cyrtococcum spp. which grow naturally in orchards and in wastelands or idle lots where most of the broadleaf species, such as Synedrella nodiflora,Pseudo-elephantopus spicatus and Asystasia gangetica, are also found. Other broadleaf species grow in cultivated fields.

In addition to the weeds associated with cultivated crops, the bulk of the feed resources for ruminant production is contributed by residues or farm by-products from crop production. These include rice straw, corn stover, mungbean hay, camote vines, cassava leaves, peanut hay, sugarcane tops and pineapple pulp. Except for the latter, most of these resources are left and burned in the field after harvest. This is particularly true in the case of rice straw and sugarcane tops, thus, a lot of crop residues are underutilized if not totally wasted.

Based on 1987 crop production and harvest data, it was estimated that about 16 M tons of crop residues from the major food crops, such as rice, corn, peanuts, sweet potato, cassava, sugarcane and pineapple, could support 4 M animal units (Moog 1990). Recent estimates based on 1996 crop production data indicate that 24.9 M tons of crop residues are available that could suppport 6.7 M animal units.

Crop production is encroaching forest lands, grasslands and plantation areas, suggesting that more areas are being diverted to production of food crops. Thus more crop residues are being produced and with population pressure, smallholder livestock production will continue to dominate commercial livestock production. The development and expansion of the ruminant production will be more dependent on improved and efficient utilization of crop residues and farm by-products.

4.2 Opportunities for Improvement of Pasture Resources

Improvement of native grasslands

Several studies have shown that introduction of pasture legumes through over-seeding is the most practical and fastest way to improve the productivity of native grasslands. This is done ether by burning or heavy grazing of native vegetation, or strip-plowing the inaccessible areas with native implements, or by disk-ploughing the more accessible areas, before over-sowing the legume seeds. In the case of tree legumes (Leucaena leucocephala), more successful establishment is obtained by transplanting seedlings in strip rows. Among the legume species that have been successfully tried and utilized are centro (Centrosema pubescens), Cook stylo (Stylosanthes guyanensis cv. Cook) and Ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala).

Over-sowing of legumes into native pasture increases both the quantity and quality of herbage available, resulting in better animal performance and higher productivity per unit area of land. Table 2 presents a summary of results obtained from various grazing trials that were conducted on Masbate, Bukidnon and Bohol. In Masbate, Imperata pasture over-sown with stylo carried 1.0 a.u./ha with a liveweight gain (LWG) of about 120 kg/ha/yr. On the other hand, pure Imperata pasture stocked at 0.5 a.u./ha and 1 a.u./ha produced only about 22 and 27 kg/ha/yr, respectively. Animals on pure Imperata pasture lose weight during the dry season while those on Imperata + centro and on Imperata + stylo pastures continuously gained weight (Siota et al. 1977).

In Bukidnon, with rainfall more evenly distributed throughout the year, higher liveweight gain of cattle on Imperata pastures was obtained. However, with a stocking rate of l a.u./ha, weeds dominated the pasture after one year of grazing.

Table 2. Liveweight gains on native and native/legume pastures in the Philippines

Site /Animal
Stocking rate
Imperata + stylo
Imperata + centro
Imperata + centro
Imperata - Themeda

Imperata - Themeda
+ stylo

Imperata + centro

Castillo et al. (1981) reported that liveweight gains of carabao grazed on Imperata/leucaena were 3-times greater than from pure Imperata pasture. Leucaena comprised over 50 percent of the herbage on offer throughout the grazing period. In the same location, Castillo et al. (1987) reported that loss of weight during the dry season was observed in carabao grazing on Imperata-Themeda pastures, but not on Imperata-Themeda + stylo pasture. In Imperata + centro pasture, the highest LWG/ha of 290 kg was obtained at 2 a.u./ha (Castillo et al. 1990).

Cultivation of sown grass and grass/legume pastures

In commercial ranches, there are areas that are arable and may be irrigated. These areas can be cultivated and planted to high yielding grasses or grass/legume mixtures. Fertilized and irrigated grass pastures produce high herbage yields, particularly under a cut-and-carry system. However, with the high cost of nitrogen fertilizers, mixed grass/legume pastures are more desirable. Sown pastures if well managed remain productive for several years and can be considered permanent.

Sown grass and grass/legume pastures have higher carrying capacity and produce more meat than native pastures (Table 3). In Bukidnon, para grass pastures fertilized with l00 kg N/ha/yr and stocked at 2 a.u./ha produced 314 kg LWG, while para grass + centro, at the same stocking rate, produced 305 kg/ha. In South Cotabato, fertilized Napier/centro pastures produced 128 to 148 tons of fresh herbage per hectare per year and safely carried 3 a.u./ha with a liveweight production/ha of 474 kg. In Bohol, the highest LWG of 252 kg/ha was obtained from guinea grass/Cook stylo at 2.5 a.u./ha (Valenzuela et al. 1982).

In Masbate, signal grass/Cook stylo pastures grazed at 2, 2.5 and 3 a.u./ha were little different in terms of average daily gain (ADG) but had marked differences in total LWG/ha. After three years of grazing, herbage including the guinea grass and the stylo components of pasture on offer, declined while weeds increased with increasing stocking rates.

Table 3. Cattle liveweight gains on improved grass and grass/legume pastures

Site / Fertilizer rate
(kg N-P-K/ha/yr)
Para grass
Para grass 
+ centro
(South Cotabato)
+ Centro
Guinea grass
+ Cook stylo
Signal grass
+ Cook stylo

There are indications that ranchers are interested in pasture improvement. Recently, a group of ranchers in Mindanao have been active and aggressive in pasture development. One of them, Mr. Dante Zarraga of Magic Farms, established excellent signal grass pasture. He initially imported 500 kg of signal grass seed in 1997 for expansion of pasture on his property but sold it all to his colleagues. He then ordered an additional 2 tons. A follow-up survey of several ranchers who obtained seeds from Mr. Zarraga, showed satisfaction among them as they were able to carry more animals per unit of land. This kind of enthusiasm shows that there is further scope for improved pasture.

Improved pasture under coconuts

There have been some apprehensions in integrating pasture under coconut because of anticipated adverse effects on the productivity of coconut trees. However, in Davao del Sur, it was observed that growing pastures does not reduce coconut yield. Coconut yields in grazed improved pastures areas were found to be higher than in ungrazed and grazed native pasture areas.

Native pastures under coconuts grazed by buffalo at 1 head/ha produced 53 kg/ha/yr while pastures containing centro produced 93 and 151 kg/ha at stocking rates of 1 and 2 head/ha, respectively.

Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and para grass (Brachiaria mutica) are the most common species grown under coconuts. Para grass can be found extensively in most areas in Mindanao but is widely grown in Davao Province. Signal grass (Brachiaria decumbens) and humidicola (B. humidicola) also grow well under coconuts. Recent studies by BAI, through the FAO Regional Working Group on Grazing and Feed Resources of Southeast Asia, showed that cattle grazed on signal grass and humidicola pastures in Albay, produced liveweight gains of 300 to 400 kg/ha/yr at stocking rates of 2 to 3 animals/ha. This indicated the increased benefits that can be obtained from high yielding pasture species.

Table 4 shows the significant contribution of improved pasture and livestock integrated with coconut in increasing total farm income (Moog et al. 1998). Results were obtained from 6 farmers who individually raised 2 head of growing cattle on 0.25 to 1 ha of established pastures of napier, signal and humidicola grasses in a cut-and-carry system. With two head of cattle, the additional income was more significant on smaller farms. However, with larger land holdings, there is potential to expand, carry more animals and obtain more income.

Table 4. Net income of farmers from cattle and coconuts in village Baligang, Camalig, Albay.
Net Income (Peso)
of Cattle (%)
Integration of forages in croplands and smallholder farms

Seasonal scarcity of feeds, especially during the dry season, limit livestock production. Therefore there is a need for alternative sources of feeds for ruminants to assure their daily subsistence. Fodder trees that include leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala), gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium), rain tree(Albizia saman) and other species are grown naturally on most farms, though not intentionally and exclusively as sources of fodder (Moog 1992). They are also grown to establish ownership boundaries, as live fence and posts, for poles and for vegetables. They can be further tapped and systematically integrated with existing crops as an additional source of feed for ruminants.

Likewise, a number of forage species are being used as alleycrops or intercrops for cash crops. The foliage is usually fed to animals while some are turned into the soil to serve as mulch or fertilizer. They also serve for soil conservation purposes. These species include Leucaena, Gliricidia, Desmodium rensonii and Flemingia.

Leucaena has been the most popular of the fodder tree species. However, in spite of its abundance, it is currently not used extensively as fodder except in Batangas province where backyard cattle fattening is a popular practice. Leucaena is commonly utilized in cut-and-carry systems but seldom for grazing. Estimates indicate that cattle fed with higher levels (15 to 20 kg) of leucaena leaves plus fresh grasses had an average daily gain of 800 to 900 g. Cattle fed with 50% rice straw, 40% leucaena and 10% concentrate attained an average daily weight gain of 720 g while those that were given equal amounts of leucaena and rice straws had daily gains of only 520 g (Marbella et al. 1979). Under grazing, cattle on guinea grass/leucaena pastures had an average daily gain of 600 g with the pasture carrying 5 head/ha in the rainy season (June to October) and 2 head/ha in the dry season (November to May).

Since 1985, leucaena has been infested by psyllids (Heterosylla cubana) and most leucaena plantations have been devastated. The psyllid infestation has affected small farms with intensive beef production where leucaena was the most valuable component of the animal feeding system. The infestation affected the feed milling industry that produced leucaena leaf meal for export and for use as a source of xantophyll and carotine in mixed feeds. It also affected small farmers and their families, particularly in Cebu, who harvest and sell the leaves to the feed merchants and the feed mills.

Recent evaluation of several Leucaena species and hybrids, for psyllid resistance showed that the cross between L. leucocephala and L. pallida (known as KX2 F1 hybrid) had moderate to high psyllid resistance. It was also observed to be palatable to livestock and produced more yield of edible dry matter (about 4-times more) than the naturalized leucaena. The Leucaena KX2 F1 hybrid is now recommended for use in both smallholder and commercial livestock farms. However, seeds of the hybrid are not commercially available. Vegetative propagation is being investigated so that multiplication can occur through rooted cuttings and grafts. Some degree of success has been obtained and there has been a limited initial distribution of rooted cuttings.

Gliricidia is more versatile than leucaena. It can be used as shade for black pepper, coffee, and cacao. However, it is not highly acceptable to cattle but is relished by sheep and goats. Feed intake and liveweight gain of sheep is increased with increasing levels of Gliricidia. Sheep fed with 80% Gliricidia, 10% rice straw, and 10% setaria (Setaria sphacelata), attained the highest adjusted liveweight gain equivalent to 49.7 g as compared to 20.5 g by sheep which received low levels of Gliricidia, combined with concentrate (Medrano, 1991). The lowest liveweight gain was observed in sheep fed with 20% concentrate, 70% rice straw, and 10% setaria. It was also found that the ration containing 80% Gliricidia had the highest efficiency in terms of LWG per unit of feed.

Sesbania grandiflora is commonly found in rice growing areas of Central Luzon and along roadsides and gardens. It is more popular for its edible inflorescence than as fodder. Rain tree (Samanea saman) is commonly grown for its shade and is used as a source of fuelwood. Its utilization as feed is confined in certain areas, particularly in Batangas. Both its leaves and pods are given to cattle during the dry season. Moringa oleifera is more popularly grown for its nutritious edible leaves. It is cooked into soup and is recommended for nursing mothers. One advantage of this legume is that it is easily propagated from stem cuttings (as well as from seeds) with a very high survival rate. A mature tree can be pruned every 30-45 days and the leaves can be fed to sheep and goats.

A form of alley farming based on the use of tree and shrub legumes called Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) was developed by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC), an NGO based in Davao del Sur in southern Mindanao (Laquihon and Pagbilao 1994). SALT is a soil conservation farming scheme where food and perennial crops are grown in alleys 4-5 m wide between contoured rows of leguminous trees and shrubs. The latter are thickly planted in double rows to form hedgerows. When the hedge reaches 1.5 – 2.0 m in height, it is cut back to 40 cm and the cuttings are placed in the alleys between the hedgerows to serve as mulch and organic fertilizer or green manure. Rows of perennial crops such as coffee, cacao, citrus and banana are planted in every third alley created by contoured hedgerows. The alleys not occupied by permanent crops are planted alternately to cereals (e.g. corn, upland rice or sorghum) or other crops (e.g. sweet potato, melon or pineapple) and legumes (e.g. mungbean, string bean, soybean or peanut). This cyclical cropping provides the farmer with several harvests throughout the year. The tree species used in the hedgerows include Leucaena leucocephala, L. diversifolia, Calliandra calothyrsus, Gliricidia sepium, Flemingia macrophylla and Desmodium rensonii. Farmers are encouraged to use a combination of these species or other fast-growing, fast-coppicing and high-biomass leguminous trees or shrubs found to be suitable on their respective farms. The MBRLC has continuing programs testing the performance of other species of shrubs and tree legumes for hedgerow and forage use. 


The following are the current active researchers on forage and pastures with their respective areas of interest and institution.

Asis, Perla - Farmers Participatory Research

City Veterinary Office, Cagayan De Oro City

Calub, Blesilda - Forages in Farming Systems

Farming System and Soil Resources Institute, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna

Cabaccan, Rodrigo – Pasture Seed Production

Department of Agriculture, Region II – Maddela, Quirino

Cabaccan, Charles - Pasture Seed Production and Grassland Improvement

Department of Agriculture, Region II, Maddela, Quirino

Darang , Sergio - Pasture Seed Production

Department of Agriculture, Region II – Gamu, Isabela

Gabunada, Jr, Francisco – Primary Species Evaluation and Farmers Participatory Research

CIAT-AIDAB Forages for Smallholder Project, International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Laguna

Garcia, Nomer - Regional Performance Trial (Grazing Systems)

Philippine Carabao Center, Central Luzon State University, Munoz, Nueva Ecija

Lanting, Elaine - Regional Performance Trial (Coordinator)

Animal Nutrition and Livestock Research Division, PCARRD, Los Banos, Laguna

Mantiquilla, Junaldo - Species Evaluation Under Coconut

Philippine Coconut Authority, Davao City

Nacalaban, Willie - Farmers Participatory Research

Municipal Agriculture Office, Malitbog, Bukidnon

Pardinez, Vicente – Pasture Seed Production

Department of Agriculture, Region II, Gamu, Isabela

Sair, Roseminda - Regional Performance Trial (cut-and-carry system for smallholder production)

Mariano Marcos State University, Batac, Ilocos Norte

Subsuban, Cornelio - Forages in Plantation Crops

Philippine Carabao Center, University of Southern Mindanao, Kabacan, North Cotabato

Sureta, Leonardo - Regional Performance Trials Coconut Plantation

Camarines Sur State Agricultural College, Pili, Camarines Sur

Vina, Abella de la - Primary Species Evaluation

Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna

Bureau of Animal Industry

Research Division, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

Moog, Francisco A. - Farming Systems, Grassland Improvement and Technology Promotion

Acasio, Remedios N. - Forages in Farming Systems and Leucaena

Valenzuela, Felix G. - Animal Utilization

Marbella, Annabelle F. - Seed Production and Animal Utilization

Marbella, Joven L. - Seed Production and Extension

Victorio, Emily E. - Farming Systems and Leucaena

Other Bureau of Animal Husbandry Castillo, Alexander C. - Grassland Improvement and Leucaena

Deocareza, Anita G. - Animal Utilization and Leucaena

Milagros Stock Farm, Milagros, Masbate

Diesta, Helen - Pasture-Livestock Integration Under Coconuts

Sorsogon Dairy Farm, Sorsogon, Sorsogon

Lariosa, Larry L. - Grassland Improvement and Animal Utilization

Buswanga Breeding and Experiment Station, Bureau of Animal Industry, Busuanga, Palawan

San Buenaventura, Jaime - Seed Production and Leucaena

Palayan Livestock Production Center, Bureau of Animal Industry, Palayan City


Badayos, R.B. 1994. Soil related constraints to agriculture in the Philippines. Seminar Proceedings on Soil Science and Agricultural Technology in the Philippines. pp 27-58.

BAS. 1998. Selected statistics on agriculture. Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Quezon City, Philippines. 29 pp

BSWM. 1993a. Crop development and soil conservation framework for Luzon Island. Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 298 pp.

BSWM. 1993b. Crop development and soil conservation framework for Visayas Island. Bureau of Soil and Water MNanagement, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 283 pp.

BSWM. 1993c. Crop development and soil conservation framework for Mindanao Island. Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 190 pp.

Castillo, A.C., E.C. Macalandang, F.A. Moog and C.B. Salces. 1987. Pasture and carabao (B. bubalis) production from native and native/stylo pastures at two stocking rates in Bohol province. Paper presented at the 25th PSAS Annual Convention, PCARRD, Los Banos, Laguna.

Castillo, A.C., R.G. Tibayan and H.P. Tombocon. 1981. Carabeef production on native and native/ipil-ipil pastures at different stocking rates. Phil. J. Animal Industry. 36(1-4): 24-33.

Castillo, A.C., R.N. Acasio, E.C. Malandang, C.B. Salces, S.A. Elumba and M. Doydora. 1990. Performance of five pasture legumes oversown into native Imperata cylindrica pasture for beef production: 2. Liveweight gain on Cogon/Centro pasture. Paper presented at 27th PSAS Annual Convention, 30-31 Oct. 1990. PICC, Manila.

Forest Management Bureau. 1996. Philippine Forestry Statistics. FMB, DENR.

Laquihon, W.A. and M.V. Pagbilao. 1994. Sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) in the Philippines. In: Gutteridge, R.C. and H. Max Shelton, eds., CAB International, UK. pp. 336-373.

Marbella, J.L., C.I. Pineda, R.N. Bulay, A.C. Castillo, and F.A. Moog, 1979. Utilization of rice straw and Ipil-ipil in cattle fattening at Magalang, Pampanga. Philippines Journal of Animal Industry 34: 81-87.

Medrano, W.C. 1991. Utilization of Madre de Cacao (Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Steud.) as feed for sheep. M.S. thesis, UPLB.

Moog, F.A. 1990. Available crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. In: Fausto-Lanting E.L. and F.DL. Mojica, eds. State of the art and abstract bibliography: Processing and utilization of crop residues, fibrous agro-industrial by-products, and food waste materials for livestock and poultry feeding. PCARRD, Los Banos, Laguna. pp. 1-2.

Moog, F.A. 1992. Role of fodder trees in Philippine smallholder farms. In: Speedy, A. and P.L. Pugliese, eds. Legume trees and other fodder trees as protein sources for livestock. Proceedings of the FAO Expert Consultation held at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14-18 October 1991. FAO-APHP 102. pp. 211-218.

Moog, F.A. and F.S. Faylon. 1991. Integrated forage-livestock systems under coconuts in the Philippines. In: Shelton, H.M. and W.W. Stur, eds. Forages for plantation crops. Proceedings of a workshop, Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia, 27-29 June 1990. ACIAR Proceedings No. 32. pp. 144-146.

Moog, F.A. and R.N. Acasio. 1991. Role of native forages associated with upland crops. In: de la Vina, A.C. ed. Utilization of native forages for animal production. Proceedings of second meeting of Regional Working Group on Grazing and Feed Resources of South-east Asia. 26 Feb-March 5, 1991, UP Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. pp. 190-197.

Moog, F.A., H.H. Diesta and A.G. Deocareza. 1998. Cattle distribution with improved pastures under coconuts. Paper presented in the 6th Meeting of the RWG on Grazing and Feed Resource for Southeast Asia. October 5-9, 1998. Legaspi City, Philippines.

Moog, F.A., L.T. Trung, N.B. Velasco, L.P. Palo and A. Colico. 1993. Forage and small ruminant production in coconut cultivation. In: S. Sivaraj, P. Agamuthu and T.K. Mukherjee, Eds., Proceedings of the Workshop on Development of Sustainable Integrated Small Ruminant – Tree Cropping Production Systems held on 30th November – 4th December 1992 at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. pp. 76-83.

Orlido-Aguilar, N.M. 1995. Grasslands in perspective: Global and local trends. In: Umali, C.G., M.V.A. Bravo and A.B. Exconde, eds. Strengthening Research and Development for Sustainable Management of Grasslands. Proceedings of the First National Grassland Congress of the Philippines. ERDB, College, Laguna, Philippines, September 26-28, 1995. pp. 25-31.

Siota, C.M., A.P. Castillo, F.A. Moog and E.Q. Javier, 1977. Beef production on native stylo and native centro pastures. Phil. J. Animal Industry. 32(1-4): 25-34.

Valenzuela, F.G., F.A. Moog, R.G. Tibayan and H.P. Tombocon. 1982. Productivity of guinea grass/cook stylo mixed pastures at different stocking rates. Phil. J. Ani. Ind. 37(1-4).


This forage resource profile was prepared in 1998/99 by:

Francisco "Frank" A. Moog, 
Chief, Research Division, 
Bureau of Animal Industry, 
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. 
e-mail: <>

He is currently the International Coordinator of the FAO Regional Working Group on Grazing and Feed Resources for Southeast Asia.

Periodic updating of the profile will be done by Francisco Moog, Alex Castillo and Felix Valenzuela.
Editing was done by Max Shelton in 1999 and livestock numbers and production statistics were updated in November 2002 by S.G. Reynolds.