Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Poster 3.1: Use of silage in a year-round feeding system: the case in Sarangani Agricultural Company, Inc., in the southern Philippines - J.M. Montemayor, R.A. Enad and F.U. Galarrita III

J.M. Montemayor, R.A. Enad and F.U. Galarrita III

Sarangani Agricultural Company, Inc.
The Philippines


Sarangani Agricultural Co., Inc. (SACI) is a diversified, all-Filipino company offering a diverse range of agricultural products, with head office in Maribulan, Alabel, Sarangani Province, Philippines. Over the years, it has distinguished itself as the premier cattle producer in the country, maintaining a herd of 5 000 pure-bred and graded American Brahman cattle, with upgraded horses raised in General Santos City, Malungon and Alabel, all located in Southern Mindanao. From Sarangani Brahman, SACI has expanded into the production of banana, pummelo and bangus, tilapia, prawn and specialty fishes. It has initiated vegetable production and tree planting for industrial uses.

Along with the breeding of quality Brahman cattle, SACI has continuously developed feeding technologies using farm by-products, such as banana rejects, pineapple pulp, corn (maize) stover and cobs, rice straw, ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala) and silage among others. This paper gives special reference to our experience with corn silage on Alabel farm.


Two systems of feeding - grazing and confinement, or feedlot - are used on the farm. The breeding herd, which at present is composed of 230 cows and 24 bulls, along with 140 calves and 96 yearlings, are grazed on 186 ha of Para grass (Brachiaria mutica) + Leucaena, and 223 ha of native pastures. Other groups of animals (marketable bulls, marketable heifers, culled cows from ranch operations, fattening bulls and fattening steers) are kept in the feedlot.


Maize is planted on 25 ha throughout the year, where four crops are harvested with irrigation. Following harvesting, land is prepared after 15 days and planted a week later. Each crop is harvested at 75 days after planting, using tractor-mounted harvester-chopper machines, dumped and piled in stacks in an area near the feedlot. The area for the stack pile is lined with plastic sheets before dumping the chopped maize plants. The stack from each day's harvest is immediately covered with special, strong plastic sheets after compacting by several passes of a tractor over the pile.

Recovery of ensiled materials ranges from 80 to 92%, reflecting age of plants at the time of harvest. Maize harvested at 80 days from planting has higher recovery compared to that harvested at 70 days, but ensiled younger maize is more palatable and has less wastage during feeding.


Ensiled maize is generally kept from 90 to 100 days during the rainy season (July to October), but shorter in the dry season, sometimes for only 18 days when severe drought occurs, as during the el niño months in 1997/1998. At one point there was a shortage of maize silage for 14 days, so we harvested 38 ha of Para grass as green-chop on the farm (at the expense of our breeder herd) and purchased 65 t of green-chop maize to support the animals in the feedlot.


Maize silage is the principal feed given to cattle kept in the SACI feedlot. Below are the general feeding schemes used for the different groups of animals.

Table 1. Feeding schemes


Feed per head per day

Corn Silage (kg)

Concentrate (kg)

Molasses with 10% urea (kg)

Marketable bulls




Marketable heifers




Fattening bulls (rejects)




Fattening steers




Culled cows




Corn silage is important in maintaining well-conditioned and uniform breeder heifers and bulls that we offer for sale to customers. It is also an important tool for conditioning culled thin cows (with average liveweight of 280 kg) from the ranch. If these cows are sold immediately to butchers, the price would be only pesos 30/kg liveweight (Exchange rate at time of writing: US$ 1 = peso 39.8), but if passed through the feedlot on maize silage-based rations, these cows gain 1.6 kg/head/day over 2 months, and are sold at pesos 36/kg.

For fattening steers and bulls, feeding of concentrates is done by mixing them with the silage to obtain uniformity. Earlier observation showed that if they are simply top-dressed over the silage, the more aggressive animals get more access to the concentrate and perform better. Our concentrate mixture is composed of rice bran, palm kernel cake and ipil-ipil, plus mineral supplements.

Maize silage is crucial to the Alabel cattle operation, allowing SACI to maintain a population of 410 head of two-year-old bulls and heifers, culled cows, fattening bulls and steers at any given time in the feedlot, in conjunction with the breeding herd raised on pasture.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page