HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying

We remember the late Valeriano “Rene” Almeda (who passed away only recently) for his practical strategies in making dairy goat farming  profitable under the tropical conditions in the Philippines. The Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna that he founded in 2005 together with his two sons, Art and Toti, is considered today as the most successful dairy goat farm in the country.

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
This Saanen mother goat has a triplet. This is the result of superior genetics and proper nutrition. When sired by a Nubian buck, the crossbred kids could fetch a high price. At the Alaminos Goat Farm many of their does produce triplets.
HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
Normally, goats give birth to only one or two kids at a time. By improving the genetics and nutrition, the doe could most likely produce three or more kids just like what Alaminos Goat Farm has been experiencing.

SUPERIOR GENETICS – To Rene, superior genetics is very important. The name of the game, he said, is Hybrid Vigor which is achieved by mating two purebred animals of different breeds to produce crosses that usually perform much better than their parents in terms of growth rate, milk production, liveability, resistance to diseases, mothering ability and other desirable traits. Several years before he died (January 11, 2019), Rene had proven his strategy right.

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
These are Nubian crosses with hybrid vigor. They produce an average of two liters of milk every day. At farmgate, the two liters are worth P280. Their cost of feed per milker is less than P20 per day.

Early on, after establishing AGF he imported a hundred purebred Saanen goats from Australia. Saanen, by the way, is considered the No. 1 dairy goat breed. He also imported a pedigreed Anglo Nubian buck from the United States to produce the crosses with hybrid vigor. The Anglo Nubian is considered a dual breed. It is good for producing meat as well as milk. It is generally bigger than the Saanen.

EXPENSIVE NUBIAN BUCK – Rene did not mind paying a high price for a superior breeder that he liked. For instance, he paid $4,000 for a purebred Anglo Nubian buck plus another thousand dollars for airfreight several years back. His strategy has been paying off handsomely for Alaminos Goat Farm. According to Art Almeda, the crosses of Saanen and Nubian have been delivering a lot of milk for the last ten years. The crosses have been producing an average of 2 liters of milk every day. During peak periods, some are even producing 3 to 4 liters a day. At farmgate, the fresh milk is sold at P140 per liter.

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
Goat dairying does not only make money from the sale of milk. The farm also derives substantial income from the sale of breeding animals. Five-month-old crosses fetch P25,000 each. Purebred five-year-olds sell for P40,000 apiece.

Currently, 70 crosses and 40 purebreds are on the milkline, producing 180 to 200 liters of milk a day. A big percentage is sold as bottled fresh milk whereas a smaller volume is made into cheese (kesong puti) and ice cream. As of now, there is no problem selling the dairy products. In fact, they have discovered a new market that promises to become a big one. 

GOAT’S  MILK FOR PUPPIES -Art relates that more and more dog breeders are buying goat’s milk for feeding their puppies. He said that goat’s milk is cheaper than the powdered milk intended for feeding puppies. And then there is another one.  A racehorse owner has been buying 35 liters of goat’s milk every three days. This is used to feed a baby horse whose mother had died after giving birth.

The superior genetics at AGF has not been only producing high milk yield. They are also producing a lot of kids. For instance, from November 2018 to February 2019, AGF has recorded 32 sets of triplets. This is something Art Almeda is very proud of because normally, goats produce only or two kids each time they give birth.

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
An Anglo Nubian with three beautiful kids. When they reach five months old, each one could be worth P25,000.

CROSSES SELL HIGH – The Alaminos Goat Farm does not only make money from milk but also from the animals produced. The five-month-old crosses, whether male or female, fetch P25,000 to P30,000. On the other hand, the purebreds sell for as much as P40,000 for a five-month-old.

Good nutrition is another contributor to the success of AGF. The dairy animals are fed 60% green forage and 40% pelleted concentrates. Bulk of the green forage is Indigofera zollingeriana which has a high protein content. The Indigofera is also made into leaf meal and used as 30% of the pelleted concentrates. Each milking animal is given 1.2 kilos of pellets and 1.8 kilos of green forage every day. This ration less than P20 so it is really affordable.

HYBRID VIGOR: The Name Of The Game In Goat Dairying
Rene Almeda with a group of AANI farm tour participants a few years back.

Currently, Alaminos Goat Farm is home to 600 goats that include 100 Saanen, 150 Nubians, 200 Dairy Crosses and 50 Oberhaslis and counting. The brothers are very confident they will be able to continue the good job that they and their dad started in 2005.

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