Simple agro-livestock technology (SALT-2)
SALT-2 is a half-hectare model of goat-based agroforestry with a land use of 40 percent for agriculture, 40 percent for livestock and 20 percent for forestry. The experience of Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, has shown that this technology can minimize erosion, improve soil fertility and generate a relatively better income for an upland family.
This information material will guide on how to establish SALT-2.
Upland residents in the Philippines are considered "the poorest of the poor" with an annual per-capita income of P 2,168, way below the average poverty cut-off for families belonging to the bottom 30 percent incomebracket. In addition, the diets of these uplanders are found to be inadequate in quality and quantity. Based on the studies done in Palawan, second and third degrees of malnutrition ranging from 40.746.9 percent are prevalent among the upland population.
To alleviate malnutrition in the uplands and increase the farm family income, the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) developed an agroforestry system called the Simple Agro-Livestock Technology or SALT 2. It is classified under the agro-silvipasture scheme of agroforestry in the sense that it integrates production of fuelwood (from hedgerows), agricultural crops, livestock and forage.
Among the livestock that can be raised in this system are cattle, sheep and goats. Goats, however, are preferred. Goats are already an important component of small-farm systems in the Philippines. These animals have high fertility and short intervals of kidding. Although small in size, they are highly resistant to pests and diseases and are relatively inexpensive to stock. The goat manure is also a good source of fertilizer. More importantly, goats are good sources of meat and milk and have a potential to alleviate the malnutrition problem in the uplands.
Step 1: Locate and develop the contour lines. Find the contour lines of your farm by using an A-frame.
Step 1. Locate and develop the contour lines.
Step 2: Establish your hedgerows. Cultivate the contour lines thoroughly, forming raised beds, 1 m wide. Make 2 furrows, 1/2 meter apart, on each contour line. Plant thickly the nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs (NFT/S) on the furrows. Plant NFT/S at the uppermost part and along the borders of the farm. Examples of hedgerow species are Flemingia macrvphylla, Desmodium rensonii, Leucaena leucocephala, L. diversifolia and Glincidia sepium.
Step 3: Plant food and cash crops. Grow food and cash crops on the upper half of the farm so that loosened soil due to cultivation is caught at the lower half portion by the forage crops. To avoid further disturbance of the soil, plant 3/4 of the agricultural area to longterm crops (e.g., black trellis, coffee and cassava) and the remaining 1/4 to short-term ones (e.g., beans and peanut).
Plant food and cash crops.
Step 4: Develop your forage garden. Plant the other half of the area to forage crops. This shouid be established six to eight months before bringing in the goats. Plant only palatable, high in protein, fast-coppicing and high-yielding forage crops. A suggested composition ol forage crops is 50 percent Desmodium rensonii, 25 percent Flemingia congesta, 20 percent Glincidia sepium and 5 percent grasses like napier.
Develop your forage garden.
Step 5: Build the goat barn. Construct the goat bam at the middle of the farm between the boundary of the "forage garden" and agricultural area. This will save time and labor in hauling manure out to the farm and in carrying forage to the goats. Provide floor space of 2025 sq ft per goat using local materials. For convenient removal of manure, raise the floor 4 fl above the ground with floor slots nailed, 1/2 inch apart. Essential divisions and fixtures in your goat house are kids' separation pen, milking stanchion, milkroom, storeroom, feeding trough, grass rack, waterer and salt trough.
Build the goat barn.
Step 6: Bring in the breeding stock at the right time. Do this only when the "forage garden" has been fully established and is already capable of supplying sufficient forage for the goats. Bring in the goats six to eight months after planting the forage crops. The recommended breeds are either the purobreds, crossbreds or upgrades of Nubian, Alpine and La Mancha. Without these breeds, start with the biggest goat you can buy. A good stocking rate is 1 buck: 12 does per half ha of a well-developed agroforest farm.
Step 7: Feed the goats sufficiently. Dairy goats essentially need concentrates (high-energy feeds) aside from the forage (high-fiber feeds). Give them feeds in the moming and in the afternoon. A good concentrate consists of 18 percent first class rice bran, 23 percent com grain or rice middling, 21 percent copra meal, 36 percent Leacaena leacocephala (Ipil-ipil) leaf meal, 1 percent sait and 1 percent limestone. A good forage is a mixture of 50 percent Desmodium rensonii, 25 percent Flemingia macrophylla, 20 percent Gliricidia sepium and 5 percent grasses like napier. Goats should be given forage of at least 10 percent of their body weight per day. Provide your goats with salt and plenty of water everyday
Feed the goats sufficiently
Step 8: Breed the goats. Breeding too early will stunt the animal. A doe should not be bred until she weighs 45-50 kg or she is 10-12 mo old. Breed the doe in the second day of the heat period. If the doe is not pregnant after being bred over three heat periods, she could be culled or placed under close observation if she is a valuable breeding animal. Rebreeding may be done 2-3 months afler the doe has given birth.
Breed the goats
Step 9: Market your products wisely. Milking, which is done daily, should have a definite procedure and time. A slight change in the routine of feeding and milking will result in unfavorable milk yield. Pasteurize the milk first (at 74°C about 30 seconds) before selling it.
Market your products wisely
Do not delay marketing your other farm products. The kids of the goats can be marketed at the age of 10-12 mo or when they weigh from 35-55 kilograms.
Step 10: Maintain the SALT-2 farm regularly. Cut the hedgerows half to one-meter from the ground when they start to shade the field crops. Replant missing hilis of the hedgerows, weed and clean the crops and spray with chemicals only if necessary. Rotate the nonpermanent crops.
Maintain the SALT-2 farm regularly
The buck should be separated from the doe. A good set-up is to build another shed for the animal and to bring a doe to the buck house when the doe is in heat.
During the rainy season, a farmer may have more forage than he can give to his goats. When this occurs, the leguminous shrub cuttings can be used as green manure for the agricultural crops.
The goat manure should be utilized as fertilizer both for the agricultural crops and the forage.
Kids should be disbudded five days to one month after they are born. Adults can be dehorned using a dehorning instrument or by sawing off the horn close to the skull.
Disbud all horned kids
Deworming should also be practiced every month for five months and every three months thereafter.
The sideways of the boundary may be planted to fruit trees like lanzones, rambutan, durian and guava.
Deworm every 3 moths
SALT-2 encourages Filipino farmers to integrate dairy goats into their upland farms, thus, increasing profitability without the fear that goats may destroy plants/crops.
In addition, the establishment of many SALT-2 projects throughout the country has been predicted to create new jobs (milk handling, selling and processing of milk products) in the long run.
As per the experience of the MBRLC, SALT-2 can provide a regular and decent income to an upland farm family, improve soil fertility by using organic (animal manure, plant biomass) fertilizers and minimize soil erosion in the uplands.
This scheme, however, has two limitations: decent income could only be realized if there is a ready market for goat's milk; and, cold storage will be needed if milk handling is done by the family.
Cost and return analysis for five years conducted at the MBRLC showed that SALT-2 can generate a monthly net profit of P 2,660.00/half ha. Its return on investment (ROI) is 38.71 percent.
But, on top of this financial benefit is a self-sufficient family (with diverse food crop supplies plus about 4,735 liters of goat milk yearly) and a protected and ameliorated soil (with about 16 tons of goat manure annually) which enhance productivity and sustainability of the uplands.
Increased farm productivity per unit time and area, generation of employment and increased milk/meat supply for the improvement of the nutritional status of the farming population may be the key solutions to the impending insurgency problems associated with harsh economic realities affecting almost every rural poor in the Philippines. And SALT 2 meets all these demands.
Note: All the crops mentioned earlier are only suggestions. Farmers can use any other crops suitable in their area.
Pagbilao M., W. A. Laquihon and H. R. Watson (1989). Simple Agro-Livestock Technolopy. Paper presented during the 2nd Regional Symposium on Research and Development Highlights of the Central Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (CEMARRDEC).
Tacio, H. D. (1990). Raising goats under the SALT system. The PCARRD Monitor.