By Yvette Tan
Rolly Ladaya, proprietor of Juliana’s Cattle and Goat Farm in San Jose, Batangas, switched from vegetable farming to raising cattle about five years ago. Four years later, he started raising goats as well. His reason is simple: the continuous and rising demand of beef and chevon (goat meat).
“Merong shortage ng beef at goat meat. Nung nag-umpisa kami sa cattle, ang price lang per kilo ay P90. Ngayon, P130 per kilo na,” he says. “May shortage din ng goat meat, nadoble na ang price. Dati, mga P200, P250, P300, ngayon as high as P620 per kilo ang goat meat.”
The farm houses about a thousand heads of Brahman and Simmental cattle from Australia, and about 300 heads of Anglo-Nubian, Boer, and native goats. Ladaya says that he prefers these breeds to native ones because they grow faster, and thus can be slaughtered at an age when their meat is still tender. “Dito, bata pa lang, more than 500 kilos na in two years. Ang native, siguro mga tatlo, apat na taon bago maging 500 kilos,” he says. “Ang goat, six months, pwede nang katayin.”
Ladaya says that getting Australian cattle and using it in this isn’t a challenge. “Hindi naman kasi galing din sila sa mainit na lugar sa Australia. Wala pa kaming experience na nahihirapan sa acclimatization,” he says.
The goats are a little sensitive during the wet season, he says. “Pag summer, walang problema masyado. Laging may naka-ready na gamot para onset pa lang ng sakit, ma-treat na kaagad. Pareho lang sila.”
The farm practices “improved pasture.” Different kinds of grasses are grown for consumption. “May tanim na Mulato, Mombasa, at tsaka Napier grass, Pakchong, galing sa Thailand,” Ladaya says.
The cattle are fed through the “cut and carry” method, while goats are allowed to graze. “Dinadalhan ang cattle ng pagkain sa kanilang housing,” Nadaya explains. “Ang goat naman, dinadala namin sila sa pasture, pero pag umuulan, cut and carry din. Dinadalhan sila ng grass.”
The farm enjoys a steady clientele for both its cattle and goats. “Yung mga bull, yung mga ranchero ang kumukuha dito. Yun namang for slaughter, may kumukuha sa akin, may pwesto sila sa Trinoma tsaka sa Landmark,” Ladaya says.
There’s been a surge in popularity in chevon, partly due to a demand for halal meat to feed Luzon’s growing Muslim population. “May mga association ng mga Muslim, may trader na kumukuha dito sa amin,” Ladaya says.
Sourcing from a goat farm also benefits his Muslim customers. “Nirerequire ng halal ng certain age mo lang dapat katayin ang goat,” he explains. “Bihira lang ang may goat farm. Usually, backyard lang. Backyard naman, di siya nagrerecord kung kailan nanganak.”
Religious needs aside, chevon has also been proven to be a healthy alternative to other kinds of meat. “Yung goat meat, naprove na mababa ang cholesterol,” he explains.
Ladaya’s hope is to one day open an in-vitro lab in the country. “Kaya ako kumuha ng magagandang stock sa US at Australia, yun ang kukuhanan ng egg cell. Tapos may mga semen kami na galing sa US at Australia, ijo-join yun, layman’s term, test tube baby, pwede siyang ifreeze, pwedeing i-export,” he says. “Yung gustong makapag-improve ng kanilang stock, yun yung pinakamabilis. Medyo mahal, pero yun ang pinakamabilis. Mahirap kasi mag-import ng live animals. Ang pinakamadali mag-import ng embryo.”
The rancher’s life agrees with Ladaya. “Nage-enjoy ako dito. Malaki lang nga gastos pero enjoy ako. Madaling palipasin ang mag–hapon. May layers din ako na manok pero mas enjoy ako sa cattle and goat,” he says.
He believes that, as successful as he is now, there’s still a lot of room for growth in the industry. “Napakaliaki ng future ng cattle at goat,” he says. “Kokonti pa ang nagve-venture dito.”
Personally, Ladaya enjoys eating beef and chevon dishes. “Mahilig. Steak sa beef. Caldereta naman sa goat. Kaya nga dito ako nag-venture.”
Someone once said that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This seems to be the case with Rolly Ladaya.