The Philippines is an archipelago stretching 1 839 km north-to-south off the southeast coast of Asia (Figure 1). It lies in the western rim of the Pacific Ocean and fronts the southernmost extension of the Eurasian Continent and is located between latitudes 4° and 21° north and longitudes 116° and 127° east. 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 is bounded 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 total land area of the Philippines is 299 404 square kilometres or approximately 30 million hectares. It is composed of 7 107 islands with 11 of them taking up about 95 percent of the total land area and small islands and islets comprising the remaining 5 percent. 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.
Land classification and utilization
The 1987 Philippine Constitution classifies lands of the public domain into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands, and national parks. The two major classifications of land 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. A & D land is limited to lands classified as agricultural lands and may be further classified according to the uses to which they are devoted.
The Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provides further classification to the lands of the public domain and adopts the land classification of the country. Figure 2 presents the land classification in 1997 by percentages.
Land utilization in the Philippines is shown in Table 1. Of the country's total land area, forest land has the highest share with 65% as of 1996 (NLUC 2002). 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.
Table 1. Land utilization in the Philippines
For administrative purposes, the Philippines is grouped into regions. At present there are 16 regions (Figure 3) that are further subdivided into provinces and municipalities. The smallest administrative unit is the barangay with several barangays constituting a municipality. To date there are 79 provinces, 114 cities, 1 496 municipalities and 41 939 barangays. According to the World Factbook the total population in July 2006 was estimated at 89,468,677 with a growth rate of 1.8%.
Based on the 1991 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries, there were about 10 million ha of agricultural land (BAS 2004). About 54 percent of the farmlands were used for growing temporary crops and 42 percent were covered by permanent crops (Table 2). The 1991 CAF also showed that the country has about 2.4 million rice farms, 1.8 million maize farms, 2.7 million coconut farms and 208 600 sugarcane farms. Swine and chickens were reported on 2.6 million and 3.6 million farms, respectively. Average farm size was 2.16 hectares. BAS also reported that the recent (2002) Census of Agriculture recorded a total of 4.5 million farms in 2002 which was 2.36 percent less than 4.61 million farms in 1991. The 4.5 million farms were contained in 9.19 million hectares of agricultural land. Average farm size was 2.04 hectares devoted to crops, fruit trees, livestock, poultry and other agricultural activities. From 1971 to 1991 (Table 2) the area devoted to farming increased but towards 2002 farm lands have decreased. The increase up to 1991 can be attributed to encroachment of crop cultivation in forest, grassland and plantation areas, while the decrease can be attributed to conversion of agricultural lands to settlements, housing and industrial uses in latter years.
Table 2. Farm size and classification, area by land class (million ha.)
Farming activities are normally done by the farmer himself with some help from his family. In larger scale enterprises farmers may hire other persons for field preparation, 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. The most important crops in the Philippines are rice, maize, and coconut in terms of land area occupied and value of production. Sugarcane and banana are also important because they generate foreign exchange as export crops. Table 3 shows the estimated area, production and value of production of the five important crops in 2003 (BAS 2004).
Table 3. Area, production and value of production of five important crops, in 2003
Rice and corn occupy 41 and 24 percent, respectively, of the total agricultural area. Of the 4 million hectares grown to rice, 2.72 million hectares were irrigated. Rice is extensively grown in the moist and dry zones with irrigation in Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Cagayan Valley and Southern Tagalog. Maize (corn), on the other hand, covered 2.41 million ha with nearly 64.7 percent or 1.56 million ha, devoted to white maize. Major areas planted to maize are the moist areas of Southern, Central and Northern Mindanao.
Coconut occupies 3.2 million 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 the major crop grown in Western Visayas, leading other regions in production. Banana plantations are found in Mindanao, mainly in Davao provinces where the crop is grown principally for export. Coconut continued to be the major dollar earner. For the past several years, the country has not been self-sufficient in rice and maize.
Agriculture surpassed its 2003 performance as it grew by 5.06 percent; it grossed P783.9 billion at current market prices in 2004 (BAS 2005). This represented an increase of 18.40 percent in the year's gross value of agricultural output. The crops subsector amounted to P383.2 billion at current prices, up by 15.83 percent from 2003.
Ruminant sector/livestock sector
The livestock subsector grossed P145.6 billion at current prices (US $1 = 54.80 Philippine pesos in May 2005) and posted an impressive 27.01 percent gain in 2004. With both production and prices going up, buffalo (carabao) grossed 15.20 percent more in 2004. In the case of cattle, its gross value of output was higher by 8.80 percent. Cattle production was down but price was higher this year. Gross value of pig production expanded by 31.36 percent due to the big price appreciation in 2004. Goat output was valued 11.78 percent higher this year as gains were recorded in both production and price. This was true for dairy farms which grossed 7.96 percent more in 2004. The livestock sector contributed 13.53 percent to total agricultural production in 2003. In 2004, it contracted by 0.41 percent. Pig output was lower by 0.61 percent as indicated by the drop in the number of stock and number of slaughtered animals in abattoirs in the fourth quarter of 2004. Production of cattle decreased by 0.96 percent. On the other hand, a 4.28 percent gain in buffalo production was registered during the year. There was an increase in the volume of slaughtered animals in abattoirs. Goat output went up by 1.16 percent as inventory and number of slaughtered animals were reportedly higher during the reference period. There was a 2.67 percent gain in dairy production and this was noted in the increased volume of milk generated by cooperatives and commercial dairy farms. In the livestock sector, prices accelerated by 27.53 percent. The biggest gainer was pig that registered a 32.17 percent price increase as market demand increased. Goat price went on increasing and another 10.49 percent was indicated in 2004. The price of cattle went up by 9.85 percent. Dairy prices grew by 5.15 percent. Buffalo price which suffered a drop in 2003 experienced a 10.47 percent increase in 2004.
Philippine statistics for ruminant numbers, beef, veal, buffalo meat and milk production, cattle imports, beef and veal imports and milk equivalent imports for the period 1995-2005 are shown in Table 4, based on FAO statistics, but it should be noted that there is a gross difference between the FAO data for goat numbers and those from the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (in 2004 according to FAO data the Philippine goat population was 6,300,000 while according to the Philippines Bureau of Agricultural Statistics the number was 3,355,574)! Both FAO and Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Statistics goat data are included but it is likely that the FAO data need to be revised downwards because as far back as 1990 the goat population was only 2.2 M according to the Philippines Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. Therefore the figures need to be reconciled. The Philippines statistics indicate that the number of dairy cows increased from 7,800 in 2001 to 8,500 in 2004 while FAOSTAT show an increase from 4,738 to 5,200 over the same period.
Source: FAO STAT 206
Table 5 shows the detailed breakdown of the backyard and commercial buffalo, cattle and goat populations in 2003 and 2004. Backyard cattle farms still make up the largest share of total cattle population averaging 91 percent during the last decade while commercial farms only represent a 9 percent share. The share of backyard farms to total inventory has increased while the share of commercial farms has declined due to a combination of factors such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), land conversion, a deteriorating peace and order situation, marketing problems, low returns on investments for breeding operations, high cost of funds and lack of credit.
Table 5. Backyard and Commercial Ruminant populations in 2003 and 2004
Source: Bureau of Agricultural Statistics < http://www.bas.gov.ph/stat4_lpstat.php >
Growth in cattle production was forecast to remain flat in 2004/05. The decline in imports of feeder cattle during 2003 and 2004 were also likely to keep the growth in total supply of cattle to a minimum. So due to a standstill in imports of cattle and a stagnation in calf production, growth in cattle production has been minimal in 2004/05.
The emergence of cattle feedlot operations that are more profitable than cow-calf operations due to a shorter production cycle is also a threat to the national cattle inventory and may result in a reduction in the breeding base over the long term, as commercial raisers shift to feedlot operations.
Buffalo and goats remain largely in the backyard sector.
Growth in beef consumption is likely to be insignificant in 2004/05 due to the relatively high price of beef compared to other protein sources. Annual per capita consumption of beef remains very low at less than 4 kg. With the growth of the Philippine population estimated at 2.36 percent, annual increases in beef production are barely enough to keep up with the demand.
Owing to its 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.
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 (Figure 4). 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 million 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.
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.
The Philippines is divided into four climatic types, depending on how rainfall is distributed throughout the year (Figure 5).
The western part of Luzon, Palawan, and the Visayas islands have Type I climate, with marked dry and wet seasons. Rainfall in these areas occurs mostly during the southwest monsoon season. Most of the eastern parts of the archipelago have Type II climate, having no pronounced dry season with rainfall maximum from November to January. Rainfall in these areas is due to both large-scale precipitation during the southwest monsoon season and orographic precipitation during the Pacific trade winds and northeast monsoon season. Types III and IV cover most of Mindanao and the central part of the Philippines along a north-south axis and are somewhere between Types I and II. This climate type is defined by precipitation due to the intertropical convergence zone.
Being within the northwest Pacific basin the Philippines is frequently visited by typhoons or cyclones. The country experiences 19 or more typhoons a year on average. Tropical cyclones, and the resulting floods and storm surges are the most destructive of all weather-related disasters. They can occur any time of the year, although the most come during the southwest monsoon season, from June to October. The strongest typhoon in the Philippines occurred in 1970 when wind speeds of around 275 km per hour were recorded near the centre of tropical cyclone "Sening" when it passed over Virac, Catanduanes. Typhoons "Unding", "Violeta" and "Winnie" which came in December 2004 were three of the most destructive typhoons that brought floods, devastated properties and claimed hundreds of lives.
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 22.90°C. These conditions dominate in the hilly/mountainous to highland regions. The wet zone area covers 47.6% (6.7 million ha) of Luzon's total area, 44% (2.5 million ha) in Visayas and 31.5% (3.2 million 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 million ha in Luzon, mostly in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Ilocos Region. In the Visayas, it occupies 2.8 million ha, 72% of which is found in the eastern region. In Mindanao, it covers 6.5 million 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 million ha, mostly in its central region. A dry zone is also found in Central Visayas with 0.4 million ha and in Mindanao with about 0.5 million ha covering portions of Davao del Sur, General Santos City, Cotabato City and Koronadal.
Scale of enterprise
Cattle production is classified into three categories: backyard or smallholder farms, the ranches or commercial farms, and the commercial feedlots. About 90 percent of the cattle are raised on smallholder farms. Most small farms 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 112,000 ha (FMB 2005) 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.
Commercial feedlot operations are concentrated in the Davao-General Santos area in Mindanao and while a few operates in 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 and a number of them has stopped operations.
Raising of buffalo 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 buffalo according to the area they cultivate. Semi-commercial ranch production of buffalo with 25 to 100 head 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 forage 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 labour, because their main source of feed is weeds and crop residues associated with their crops. Some farmers plant small areas to forages, either as monoculture or intercrops, to provide higher quality feed and to assure availability of feed during periods of scarcity. Rice or maize bran are fed when home-grown grains are milled, but only rarely.
In rice growing areas, weeds constitute about 50% of the feed that is 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 maize 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 buffaloes 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, maize stover, and rice straw is supplemented with fresh Leucaena leucocephala ( 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 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, Gliricidia and other fodder trees which are bundled and hung under the house or in trees. Some goats graze shrubs and other vegetation.
Depending on their location, commercial feedlots utilize sugarcane tops, bananas rejected for export, pineapple pulp or brewers' spent grain. Green maize fodder is produced and supplied by a large number of farmers to feedlot operators in Davao and in the General Santos area. Maize fodder production has taken over a significant portion of the maize grain production area. Some farmers prefer growing maize for fodder because they can have 3 to 4 crops a year and they do not experience crop failure, particularly if droughts occur.
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:-
The feed resource base for ruminant production in the Philippines is essentially made up of grasslands, weeds, residues from croplands, land under plantation (primarily coconuts), and industrial by-products.
The Philippines has 1.5 million 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). 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. Table 6 shows the area and number of pasture lease agreements under the FLGLA from 1970 to 2005. Between 1975 and 1980 there were about 1.0 million hectares under grazing lease agreements. The area even reached to 1.29 million hectares in 1971/72. Since the early eighties, the number and area currently under lease has been drastically reduced. Reasons for the reduction are: unstable law and order, cattle rustling and squatting resulting in abandonment of the lease areas; cancellation of lease due to non-compliance of leaseholders with the rules and regulation of the lease agreement; and conversion of some lease areas to intensified reforestation and other land uses.
Table 6. Forest land grazing lease agreements and permits, 1970-2005
Source: Forest Management Bureau, DENR
Philippine grasslands are dominated by "cogon grass", the local name for Imperata cylindrica (Figure 6) which constitutes about 50% of total grazing area (Orlido-Aguilar 1995). Other major grass community types observed are Themeda, Capillipedium and Chryosopogon.
In addition to the grassland areas, there are 3.2 million ha planted to coconut which 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 commonest legumes are Centrosema pubescens, Calopogonium mucunoides and Pueraria javanica.
Most smallholder farms traditionally graze their animal by tethering; animals are roped and transferred to places where sufficient native vegetation is available. In areas where animals have limited access to grazing, farmers integrate forage crops and utilize crop residues from nearby farm lots.
In 1983, it was estimated that about 400 000 ha of coconut land were stocked with cattle, buffalo or goats. Recently, the government is promoting dairying under coconuts. In 2002 the National Dairy Authority (NDA) was assisting 30 cooperatives whose members are predominantly coconut farmers (Table 7). With the NDA's assistance to farmers in coconut areas, there will be more rapid integration of cattle and pasture under coconuts.
Table 7. Cooperatives and coconut farmers assisted by the National Dairy Authority.
Although growing of crops under coconuts is practiced in some areas, most of the coconut plantations remain as a 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 and crop residues
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 maize fields, e.g. Echinochloa colona, Rottboellia, Ischaemum rugosum 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, maize stover, mungbean hay, sweet potato 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 under-utilised if not totally wasted.
Based on 1987 crop production and harvest data, it was estimated that about 16 million tons of crop residues from the major food crops, such as rice, maize, peanuts, sweet potato, cassava, sugarcane and pineapple, could support 4 million animal units (Moog 1990). Recent estimates based on 1996 crop production data indicate that 24.9 million tons of crop residues are available that could support 6.7 million animal units. In 2004, it was estimated that 14.5 million tons and 5 million tons of rice straw and maize stover were available, respectively. Their total amount is enough to support the dry matter requirement of 2 million cattle.
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.
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 either by burning or heavy grazing of native vegetation, or strip-ploughing 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 guianensis cv. Cook) and Leucaena.
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 8 shows the summary of results obtained from various grazing trials that were conducted in 3 sites in the Philippines. Imperata plus Centro or Stylo pastures carrying 1 au/ha produced more liveweight gains compared to Imperata pasture stocked at 0.5 au/ha. Higher liveweight gain is obtained from Imperata + Leucaena pasture. In all sites it was observed that animals on pure Imperata pasture lose weight during the dry season while those on Imperata + centro or stylo or Leucaena pastures continuously gained weight (Siota et al., 1977). Prolonged grazing of Imperata pastures at stocking rate of 1 au/ha resulted in encroachment of weeds into the pasture.
Castillo et al. (1981) reported that liveweight gains of carabao grazed on Imperata/Leucaena pasture were 3-times greater than from pure Imperata pasture in Bohol. Leucaena comprised over 50 percent of the herbage on offer throughtout the grazing period. In the same location, loss of weight during the dry season was observed in carabao grazing on Imperata-Themeda pastures, but not on Imperata-Themeda + Stylo pasture (Castillo et al. 1987). In Imperata + Centro pasture, liveweight gain/ha of 290 kg was obtained at 2 a.u./ha (Castillo et al. 1990)
Table 8. Liveweight gains on native and native/legume pastures in the Philippines
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 9). 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).
Table 9. Cattle liveweight gains on improved grass and grass/legume pastures.
Napier remains as the most popular grass species gown particularly for cut and carry feeding because it is easily propagated by stem cuttings. Guinea grass could have been popular if not for the difficulty of gathering and establishing it by rootstock. Para grass is easily propagated by stem cuttings and is grown extensively in poorly drained areas.
Montemayor et al. (2003) compared the performance of cattle on Para grass pasture under strip grazing and feedlot management. They found that strip grazing is more economical because of the higher cost involved in feedlots in spite of the better animal performance and shorter period of raising cattle in the latter (Table 10).
Table 10. Performance of cattle on Para grass pasture under strip grazing and feedlot management.
In recent years, Signal grass along with B. humidicola has became popular, with seeds being imported from Australia. Signal grass is not only grown for pastures but is also being used as soil stabilizer to prevent erosion on steep slopes of roadsides and dams. For this purpose, 6 tons of Signal grass seeds were brought in for soil stabilization of the San Roque Multipurpose Dam Project ; 5 tons for Sual Power Generating Plant Project, both in Pangasinan in 2001 and 2002, respectively; 5 tons by Bulacan Garden for hydroseeding projects; and, 2 ton to control soil erosion on slopes of a golf course in Antipolo, Rizal. In 2003, the National Dairy Authority imported 800 kg which was distributed to its farmer clients. In May 2005, 1.8 tons were imported by the Lanao Foundation, Inc. for planting in Lanao del Norte to support the dairy development project in the province. Figure 7 shows a good stand of Signal grass in Bukidnon province that carries 3 head of cattle per hectare.
Improved pasture under coconuts
There has been some apprehension in integrating pasture under coconut because of the 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 pasture areas were found to be higher than in grazed and ungrazed 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.
A number of farmers plant improved pastures like Napier, Guinea, Signal and Humidicola to maintain sufficient supply of feeds through the year. Established pastures are utilized either under cut-and-carry system or grazing. Some dairy farmers use electric fences.
Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and Para grass (Brachiaria mutica) are the commonest grasses 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 (Figure 8). This indicated the increased benefits that can be obtained from high yielding pasture species.
Signal grass is becoming popular for integration under coconuts because it doesn't make harvesting and picking of coconuts difficult compared to Napier and other erect tall growing species. Signal grass is aggressive and competes well against weeds.
Some farmers prefer a certain grass species. In Sto. Tomas, Batangas Don Bautista is grazing 11 cows on a 9-ha Cynodon pasture under coconuts. He prefers Cynodon "because it keeps the cows and their udders clean and thus, he doesn't have to wash them before milking" (Moog 2003).
The area that Mr. Bautista is using belongs to a friend and he is using it for free. His friend benefits from his and the cows' presence because pilferage and stealing of nuts is prevented. His friend used to get only 4 000 nuts per 2-month harvest, now he gets 12 000 nuts for the same harvest interval. This is be one reason (particularly for absentee coconut farmers) why integration of cattle should be encouraged.
Improved pasture and livestock integrated with coconut results in increased total farm income (Moog et al. 1998). Table 11 shows that depending on farm size, raising 2 head of cattle will contribute 4 to 28 percent additional income per farm, which is more significant on smaller farms. However, with larger land holdings, there is potential to expand, carry more animals and obtain more income.
Table 11. Net income of farmers from cattle and coconuts in village Baligang, Camalig, Albay.
Integration of forages in croplands and smallholder farms
Seasonal scarcity of feeds, especially during the dry season, limits 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 (Samanea saman) and others grow 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 alley crops 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 include Leucaena, Gliricidia, Desmodium rensonii and Flemingia.
Leucaena has been the most popular of the fodder trees. 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 feeding. Leucaena is planted in contour rows with areas between the rows remaining on fallow during the dry season and planted to maize at the onset of the rainy season. 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. A recent interview of farmers in an upland village of Malimatoc I, Mabini, Batangas, indicated that fattening cattle on Leucaena based ration assures them an incremental income 1 000 pesos per month. In the same village, a farmer raising 5 does and a buck said he has sold 10 weanling goats at 2 000 pesos each in April 2005 and another set of 11 will be sold before the end of the year. That means he will earn 42 000 pesos for this year. Figure 9 shows a farmer feeding goats with Leucaena.
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 straw 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). In the Ilocos region, farmers plant maize following harvest of rice, vegetables and other crops grown in the rainy season. Maize is planted in a staggered period of 2 week intervals in different plots (Figure 10). Maize is harvested at 65 to 80 days after planting coinciding with the dry season when feed is scarce in the region, and used as cut and carry feed.
Since 1985, leucaena has been infested by psyllids (Heteropsylla 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 carotene 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 found that the cross between L. leucocephala and L. pallida (known as KX2 F1 hybrid) was psyllid-resistant. 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 daily 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 firewood. Its use 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 tree is that it is easily propagated from cuttings (as well as from seeds) with a very high survival rate. A mature tree can be lopped 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. maize, 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 plants or other fast-growing, fast-coppicing and high-biomass leguminous trees or shrubs found to be suitable on their 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.
Bureau of Animal Industry
Research Division, Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Other Bureau of Animal Husbandry
This forage resource profile was first prepared in 1998/99 and revised in 2005 by:
Francisco "Frank" A. Moog,
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 undertaken by the author.
[The original profile was prepared by Francisco Moog in 1999 when editing was done by Max Shelton; a revised profile was prepared by Francisco Moog in May/June 2005 and the profile was edited by J.M Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in June/July and slightly modified by S.G. Reynolds in October 2006].