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Partners : Partners September 2012
PARTNERS SPRING 2012 27 Livestock producers boost profits using local feed ingredients. BY MANDY GYLES V illagers in remote parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are putting science from an ACIAR project into action by testing poultry feeds especially formulated with a portion of local products. Jan Dumu and her husband Lokowa Dumu from Tambul, in PNG's Western Highlands Province, raised eight batches of chickens using a concentrate feed ration mixed with either locally produced sweetpotato (kaukau) or cassava, which they compared to chickens on the more expensive commercial diets. "The village farm trial results were very encouraging, there were only small differences in growth of birds observed between the different diets," says Janet Pandi, a researcher at the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) who is looking for ways of reducing the cost of poultry diets. "The aim was to test whether the birds reached market weight after 5 to 6 weeks on diets comprising a 50:50 mix of sweetpotato and a low-energy concentrate, or cassava mixed with a high-energy concentrate. "We found a commercial broiler starter can be fed to chicks from day one to day 21, then the NARI broiler concentrate mixed with mashed sweetpotato or cassava can be fed fromday22uptoday42togetthebirdstoa market weight of more than 2 kilograms," Janet Pandi says. LONG-TERM GOAL "Improving the profitability of village broiler farming through the use of locally available feedstuffs has been a high priority in the PNG livestock sector for more than 10 years," says ACIAR project leader Phil Glatz of the South Australian Research and Development Institute. "The viability of village broiler farms is continually threatened by the rising costs of imported ingredients used in commercial feeds." "The broiler feeding system technology being promoted to growers by NARI was developed over an 8-year period through ACIAR-funded research that evaluated various locally available resources as broiler feed," he said. Phil Glatz led an earlier project that developed a feeding system for broilers using PNG protein meals to produce a concentrate that could be mixed with 50--80% of local ingredients. "The latest research has finetuned the feeding system and made use of sweetpotato and cassava, which are in abundance in the highlands and lowlands respectively. "As feed costs rise, the viability of broiler production is threatened by the rising costs of commercial diets, because most of the ingredients are imported and expensive," he says. "The recent research found that broiler production costs could be reduced by about 30% by mixing concentrate feed with cassava or sweetpotato to replace broiler finisher feed." FIELD TESTING Farm trials of the feeding system have now been carried out by the Lutheran Development Services in the Morobe Province, the Christian Leaders Training College based in Banz in the Western Highlands Province and by Ok Tedi Mining in the Western Province. Due to the promising results in the regional trials, each NGO selected village farmers to run trials to compare the concentrate feeding system with a standard broiler feed. "Broiler performance---particularly the sweetpotato diet---compared favourably with standard feed in all the village farm trials," Janet Pandi says. " There was also strong interest expressed by other broiler farmers not involved in the trials." Interestingly, farmers also prefer the flavour of meat from birds fed with the concentrate mixed with sweetpotato or cassava. The benefits of the broiler feeding system in PNG are being promoted by field days, training and demonstration sessions run by NARI and other NGO partners, through the distribution of publications and via the media. Fact sheets have been developed for college, university and NGO curricula, along with a video on how to use the feeding systems. LOCAL MILLING The cost of locally milling broiler concentrate in mini-mills in PNG has been assessed to be about K800 (A$366) a tonne. This is more than competitive with commercial full rations, at K2000 (A$915) a tonne, and concentrate, at K2400 (A$1098) a tonne. Fishmeal, copra meal, mill run and premix are the ingredients intended for the production of the local concentrate. Goodman Fielder International is conducting similar trials in Fiji. They have produced a concentrate feed that is transported to nearby islands where farmers blend their local ingredients into the diet. Further trials are being run in PNG in conjunction with Niugini Table Birds to further demonstrate the feeding system. Phil Glatz says work on the ACIAR poultry feed project is directly applicable to other monogastric animals and a new initiative is furthering this work to broaden the benefits for PNG. "Development of user briefs for small- scale feed mills will also allow the pig and aquaculture industry the option of investing in their own feed manufacturing to produce diets that are cheaper than commercial diets," he says. Smallholder and semi-commercial aquaculture, pig and poultry farming are making an important contribution to the livelihoods of rural households in PNG. "Currently the monogastric sector in PNG has a market value of A$190.5 million per annum, comprising about 600,000 small farmers," Phil Glatz says. "It is crucial to assist the sector to develop cheap, balanced diets and to provide a service to the industry by encouraging the establishment of small-scale feed mills to make cheaper concentrate diets based mainly on local feed resources rather than imported ingredients." n More information: An interview with Janet Pandi can be viewed at the ACIAR website. Milling adds value to cassava crops Women around Domil, in the newly created Jiwaka Province in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, can now add value to their cassava crop through improved postharvest and processing techniques using a model cassava mini mill. The mill will produce cassava flour, cassava starch and the broiler cassava finisher stock feed, which will be sold to surrounding communities. Apart from the cassava mill, there will also be a small-scale poultry-processing unit. Community members have undergone training in handling and harvesting techniques as well as processing methods of incorporating cassava into other useful products, along with livestock and aquaculture production. A local cooperative has created a revolving scheme where registered members can obtain a loan. In May 2012 the first batch of 1,600 birds was processed and packed. The target is to produce around 3,000 to 5,000 packaged chicken a month by the end of 2012 and increase the rate to 10,000 a month in the coming years.
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