| James Kon |
THE government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam should establish a feed resource centre to provide local farmers the recommended feeds to keep their livestock nourished as well as focus on grass farming.
The suggestion was one of the recommendations made by Dr Steve Sutherland, Animal Nutritionist of Agwest International, Australia in order to promote ruminant farming in the country.
He shared his findings from the three-year project on the Study of the Nutritional Status of Animal and Livestock feeds in Brunei Darussalam, in a presentation yesterday.
Present to listen on the final report presentation were Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Hajah Aidah binti Haji Mohd Hanifah, the Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, Todd Mercer and senior officers from the department.
Dr Sutherland also recommended that farmers follow the feeding standards provided and focus on feed intake of Ad Libitum which is food available at all times with the quantity and frequency of consumption for the animal to increase productivity.
From the project, Dr Sutherland has the opinion that Brunei has resources to support cattle and goat farming with the use of paddy straw and rice bran, a local grass known as batong-batong and shrubs such as Cassava and Leucaena (local name Petai Belalang) and the capacity to grow improved grasses such as Napier and Para Grass.
A question was raised after the presentation on the challenges on high cost of continuously feeding livestock.
Dr Sutherland said, “The most common issue is that the animal is always hungry. Unfortunately, when we recommend to farmers that they need to feed more, this will increase the costs. In order to spend more money, they need to have more confidence that you will get the results and this is usually what farmers are lacking.
“If the animal is fed half of the requirements, the animal will be unproductive and may die.”
The project which started on January 22, 2011 aimed to improve the development of ruminant industry in Brunei. The study assessed the food resources for livestock other than fodder grass in the country and assessed the nutrient content for the forages.
The project also helped the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood in developing animal feed standards for the implementation of livestock monitoring and enforcement.
The outcome will further assist the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood in the development of cattle and goat farming in Brunei.
The findings of the consultancy project were handed over to the Australian High Commissioner, Todd Mercer who passed the findings to Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Hajah Aidah binti Haji Mohd Hanifah.