Friday, March 22

A milestone in cattle farming


Sarawak on track to be net exporter of dairy products with opening of farm with modern facilities

Uggah touching one of the Holstein cows at the farm. Standing next to him are Sagah (second right, front), Dr Ng (partially hidden) and Dr Adrian (right, front).

KUCHING: Sarawak has made the first step to become net exporter of dairy products with the opening of a closed house evaporative tunnel ventilated system farm that is able to control temperature to below 28 degrees Celcius in Kampung Panchor, Jalan Kuching–Serian Lama.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the private high technology cattle farm is the first of its kind in Sarawak.

“This is the first big cattle dairy farm in Sarawak, now it has 110 dairy cows of Holstein breed bought from Australia costing about RM1.5 million. If you noticed, the temperature is being cooled down to between 22 and 28 degrees Celcius, so that it will be lower than 28 (Celcius),” he said when touring the farm yesterday.

Uggah hopes the project, owned by a farmer with more than 20 years’ experience in livestock business, will mark a new beginning for Sarawak’s dairy industry.

“This is an experimental farm, and we really hope this will be a new beginning of dairy farm in Sarawak – they have invested RM2 million to build this house and RM1.5 million to buy the cows, 110 cattle are here and another 200 will arrive soon,” Uggah added.

“We really hope this will be the beginning of cow dairy industry in Sarawak. At the moment, our SSL (Self Sufficiency Level) is less than two per cent for both goat and cow, meaning very little (milk) is being produced in Sarawak,” he said.

Uggah believes the potential is very big and cattle dairy farm spells bigger business opportunities for farmers in Sarawak.

“The advantage of dairy farm is you get both milk and meat. The bull can be farmed out using feedlot system whereas the cow will be for milk production,” Uggah explained.

He informed that the government is committed to assist the farmer who has answered the Sarawak’s government call for milk production via the trial project like neighbouring Sabah which has been producing dairy milk for many years.

“Sabah is doing very well, that they are able to supply the cow milk to the schools,” he said.

He added that once the project goes well, the company can start adopting smallholders to do contract farming.

Meanwhile, Eco Farm Solutions Sdn Bhd director, Dr Ng Siew Thiam, told The Borneo Post he was trying to do a so-called modern farming of cows in a closed enclosure with cooling system and with maximum input of nutrients to get maximum output.

“This is a very challenging project, of all the species, this animal (cow) is the most difficult (to rear commercially and not go bankrupt) and we will try our best. I was doing pig farming for the last 26 years, this is my first two years breeding cows, we try to help the state government and we are learning,” he said.

He disclosed that they started the farm in 2016, doing clearing and all the earthwork on the 150-acre site that includes areas planted with napier grass and corn to formulate the cow feed, and the ‘air-conditioned farm’ has been operating since April this year.

“We are employing 15 graduates from Sarawak Agriculture Institute now, for them to work and learn farm management at the same time, and they really enjoy the cool working environment,” he said, with the young graduates in full uniform standing nearby nodding in approval.

The farm is equipped with advance rotating cow milking facilities that can handle 36 cows at one time and each round will take about 15 minutes.

Accompanying Uggah during the visit were Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, permanent secretary of Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and Veterinary Services Sarawak director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.