Ten Steps of Raising Goats in the Upland – THE Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC), a non-government organization based in Kinuskusan Bansalan, Davao del Sur has developed an agroforestry system called Simple Agro-Livestock Technology or SALT 2, a modification of its internationally-known Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT).
Here are the ten steps:
1. Locate and develop the contour lines. In finding the contour lines, plant one leg of A-frame on the ground, then swing the other leg until the carpenter’s level shows that both legs are touching the ground on the same level. Repeat the same level-finding process with stake every 5-meter distance along the way until one complete contour line is laid out – and until the whole farm is covered. Each contour line is spaced 4-5 meters apart.
2. Establish the contour hedgerows. Cultivate the contour line thoroughly, forming raised beds, 1 meter wide. Make 2 furrows, ½ meter apart, on each contour line. Plan thickly by the nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs (NFTS) on the furrows. In addition, plant NFTS at the uppermost part and along the borders of the farm.
3. Plant food and cash crops. Grow food and cash crops on the upper half portions of the farm so that loosen soil due to cultivation is caught at the lower half portion by the forage. To avoid further disturbance of the soil, plant ¾ of the agricultural are to long-term crops (e.g., black pepper with “kakawete” as trellis, coffee and calamansi) and the remaining ¼ to short-term crops (e.g., corn, beans and peanut).
4. Develop the “forage garden”. Plant the other half of the area to forage crops. This should be established 6-8 months before bringing in the goats. Plant only palatable, high protein, fast-copping and high-yielding forage crops.
5. Build the goat barn. Construct the goat barn at the middle of the farm between the boundary of the “forage garden” and agricultural area. Provide floor space of 20-25 square feet per goat using local materials. For convenient removal of the manure, raise the floor 4 feet above the ground with floor slots nailed, ½ inch apart. Essential division and fixtures in your goat house include kid’s separation pen, milking stanchion, milk room, storeroom, feeding trough, grass rack, waterer, and salt trough.
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 6-8 months after planting the forage crops. The recommended breeds are purebreds, crossbreds or upgrades of the Nubian. If these are not available, start with the biggest goat you can buy. A good stocking rate is 1 buck: 12 does
7. Give the goats sufficient feed. Dairy goats essentially need concentrates (high-energy and high-fiber feeds aside from the forage). Give them feeds in the morning and in the afternoon. Goats should be given daily rate of forage at least 10% of their body weight. Half of this should be given in the early morning and the other half in the late afternoon. In addition, provide your goats with salt and plenty of water everyday.
8. Breed the goats at the right time. Earlier breeding stunts the animal. A doe should not be bred until she weighs 40-45 kgs. Or she is 10-12 months old. Breed the doe I n the second day of the heat period. If the doe is not pregnant after being bred over three heat period, she should be culled, or placed under close observation if she is a valuable breeding animal. Rebreeding my be done 2-3 months after the doe has given birth. Bucks may be ready for servicing at 10 months of age but not for heavy service until over one year old.
9. Sell the milk and other farm products immediately. Milking, which is done daily should have definite procedure and time. A slight change in the routine of feeding and milking will result in unfavorable milk yield. Pasteurize the milk first before selling it. In addition, do not delay marketing your other farm products. The kids of the goats can be marketed at the age of 6-8 months or when they weigh from 25-35 kilograms.
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 hills of the hedgerows, weed and clean the crops and spray with chemical only if necessary. Rotate the non-permanent crops. Collect manure and spread them over the forage garden every 4 months to maintain soil fertility and sustain forage production.
You can use these ten step of raising goats in the upland, in addition with other guides in your position, to earn a regular and decent income like the upland families especially in Davao del Sur and become successful in your goat raising venture.
Source: Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC)