BY VINA MEDENILLA
In Barangay Sicaba, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, lies a thriving 15-hectare farm called Maayo Dairy Farm.
It is owned by Antoinette Begre-Lacson and her husband, Alessandro Lacson, who started with two cows that they initially nurtured as pets. Now, the farm naturally grows 40 cows in wide pastures.
Since 2017, they have been supplying milk to a local cheese factory, but when the pandemic happened, they had to stop supplying the factory with milk at some point. “Since nearly everything had been put on hold, I found the time to work on our own products,” said Antoinette.
From there, they started offering products like ice cream and pasteurized fresh milk where they found an increase in profit. “We managed to survive throughout the pandemic. Our farmers did not lose their jobs, and they got to live close to their families.”
Here are the following factors that the Lacsons applied to their farm, which dairy farmers can also consider in their operations:
Natural habitat. In their experience, raising cows in pastures keeps the quality of their milk at best. Cows are never caged or kept in confined spaces or a barn unless they are sick. “I like to think that because of this, they provide us with such wonderful, creamy, sweet milk,” Antoinette said.
Pasture rotation. Allowing the grass to have a rest is vital to prevent overgrazing. Overgrazed pastures can damage the soil. Conserving the environment equates to the protection of the animal’s health, said Antoinette.
Research. With limited technology for domestic dairy farming, buying books and researching about cows will allow raisers to be aware of things that make the animals happy and flourish. “Happy cows equal greater yield.”
Practicing good hygiene. As per Antoinette, even if cows are raised in pastures, it is important to observe good hygiene practices for the cattles. Clean up their dung every day, and make sure to keep the water and feed storage bins sanitized or washed at all times.
Photos from Maayo Dairy Farm.
For more information, visit Maayo Farms.