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Isnin, Februari 18, 2008

Goat farm open for study tours

KIDS’ PLAY: The nursery pen at the farm.
KIDS’ PLAY: The nursery pen at the farm.

AGRICULTURE is business. The maxim is firmly embedded in the heart of farmer-cum-entrepreneur Goh Un Keng, 43, who runs a goat farm in Parit Yaani, Yong Peng.

GOH UN KENG: Has 2,000 goats on his farm.
GOH UN KENG: Has 2,000 goats on his farm.
From cultivating oil palm, Goh had decided to expand his horizon by breeding goats and marketing its milk.

After four years into the venture, he knew he made the right choice.

The business has provided good returns, plus the fulfilling reward of successfully breeding jamnapari goats, a breed suitable for meat and dairy.

"These goats are amazing because they respond to you.
"It makes the job very rewarding," he said.

His farm, U Keng Farming Sdn Bhd, sits on a 1.2ha oil palm estate.

It has 2,000 goats and is open to the public for tours.

"I believe it is important to educate the young about goat farming and the goodness of goat's milk.

"So, at this farm, we offer free tours to schoolchildren and groups who are interested to learn more about modern farming and dairy production."

The farm utilises biotechnology applications, such as microorganisms, to eliminate smell, control fungus and harmful bacteria and improve dairy production.

During the tour, visitors are exposed to modern land optimisation techniques, which produce a high yield of milk daily.

The milk is collected, bottled and packed in sterile conditions in the farm.

"We always improvise the technology to improve the taste and quality of the milk," said Goh.

"We are very grateful to the supervision, technical support and advice from the Batu Pahat Veterinary Services Department."

Tour highlights also include observing kids being fed, mother goats tending their newborn calves, milking of goats in the paddock and the milk pasteurisation and bottling process.

Visitors can try their hand at feeding and milking the goats.

Goh said although the bottled goats' milk from the farm was certified for export, he was concentrating on supplying supermarkets in Johor Baru and Batu Pahat.

The farm is located in a remote area and visitors must book an appointment for a tour.

For more information, call the farm at 07-4847222 or 07-4847999, visit www.jamnapari.com or email info@jamnapari.com

Zin gets his goats

YOUNG FARMER: Zin Azaharee is glad he’s gone into goat husbandry.

ANIMAL husbandry may not be glamorous but it has certainly paid off for young farmer Zin Azharee Hassan.

FEEDING TIME: Contrary to popular belief, goats are not that difficult to rear.
ARE THEY SMILING?: Zin keeps only Red Boer and Ferrel goats from Australia.
ARE THEY SMILING?: Zin keeps only Red Boer and Ferrel goats from Australia.
Zin Azharee breeds 150 Australian goats on Faizin Farm, a 0.6ha piece of of land in Sijangkang, Kuala Langat, Selangor (30 minutes from Shah Alam).

He ventured into goat rearing in March last year, with Red Boer and Ferrel breeds imported from Australia through friends who were there on business.

The goats give birth three times within two years and the kids can be sold off at five months.

Zin sells at least 10 young goats every month to other goat breeders in Malacca and Negri Sembilan.
“The young goats, aged six or seven months, are usually sold at RM500 each, while some are sold off as young as two months,” he said.

“Kids as young as six month old are ready for breeding,” says Zin, who now has two other workers helping him.

The Red Boer grows very fast and its meat is sought after by restaurants such as steak houses because of its succulent and tender flesh.

Lambs are more popular because its meat reputedly has a lower cholesterol content compared to beef.

The adult Ferrel, which are similar in size to the local breed, is often sold at RM450 for religious ritual purposes, such as aqiqah sacrifices at the birth of a child.

Zin and two of his uncles invested RM200,000 in the farm, for renting the land and building the paddocks.

The farm has a strategic location not far from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which makes it easy for him to get hold of imported goats once they arrive.

He keeps costs low by using soil flooring for his paddocks, instead of wooden planks as is often the case.

The soil is taken from river sand banks or unused mines. The soil flooring absorbs the animal waste and naturally wears off the goats’ nails.

“This saves me time as I don’t have to trim their nails,” he said. Nothing goes to waste, he adds. The solid waste is sold as fertiliser for breeding leeches.

Goat-breeding is not as difficult as people think, Zin says.

The animals have to be fed only twice a day. Besides the usual animal-feed pellets, the goats are fed on fodder with added calcium powder to give them strength.

They also consume dried oil-palm leaves, easily available at nearby estates at no cost.

“That way I also help to clean up the estates,” says Zin, who collects the leaves twice a day.

The goats are given a special liquid once a week which helps in reducing the offensive odour in their waste.

Zin says the goats are similar to humans in their healthcare needs.

He uses cures learnt from the more experienced goat breeders. “And they really work,” vouches Zin.

He gives them antibiotics, rubs their snouts with Vicks when they have a cold and gamat if they are hurt in attacks by other goats. He also feeds them gripe water if they are bloated, and cough syrup if they have irritable throats.

Zin doesn’t have to work into the nights now as he used to when he was starting out as he needed to get things done right then.

Otherwise, raising the goats has been a breeze and Zin can spend the mornings at his father’s shop selling accessories for the uniformed services (such as the police and military) and goes to the farm after lunch to check on the goats.

Though many people had discouraged him when he thought of going into animal breeding, he felt that it had been worthwhile because he had been able to generate income within six months.

“I believe in trying out things myself,” says Zin. The challenge is to meet demand, which means that he needs to look out for more land.

The paddock is not purely for business. It has speakers and music is played throughout the day.

“At least the place is not still and quiet which could make one sleepy,” he said. In fact, breeding goats has been a good antidote for stress and, at the same time, helps him generate a steady income.

“I took up horse riding to de-stress but nowadays I don’t need to any more.”

Sometimes, Zin and his friends have a barbeque at the farm to unwind.

Zin wants to make animal husbandry a long-term venture. The animals are his assets and his challenge is to find a market and improve his cash flow.

Being a young man with a vision, Zin has already ordered 20 ayam kampung for breeding on the goat farm. He also plans to breed cattle on a piece of abandoned padi land in Selama, Perak.

“Its been a satisfying and rewarding experience,” he said.

Big boost for Boer breeding project

ELITE BREED: Some  Boer goats at the Kluang Mardi station. The goats produce mutton of the best quality.
ELITE BREED: Some Boer goats at the Kluang Mardi station. The goats produce mutton of the best quality.

BOER goats will soon dot the fields of animal husbandry farms all over the country with the success of a high-technology Boer goat breeding project by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi).

CREATING A SUPERIOR BREED: A Boer goat undergoing surgery for the removal of an embryo at the National Animal Embryo Centre.
CREATING A SUPERIOR BREED: A Boer goat undergoing surgery for the removal of an embryo at the National Animal Embryo Centre.
Mardi has employed the Advanced Reproductive Biotechnology (ARB), hich together with the National Animal Embryo Centre (NAEC), aims to stock the farms of breeders in the country with high quality breeds of the Boer goat.

The goat produces mutton of the best quality with low fat content.

The ARB project involves the production of embryos from quality cows and goats especially imported from mutton-producing areas like South Africa and Australia that are bred at satellite and breeding farms nationwide to create a livestock nucleus or elite group.

The government had also set up a National Boer Goat Farm in Pondok Tanjung, Perak, and a National Feedlot Centre in Negri Sembilan under this project.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who visited the Kluang Mardi station recently, said the NAEC and ARB based at the station had been given due accreditation by the Boer Goat Breeders Association of South Africa.

Two representatives from South Africa were present to deliver certificates to NAEC and ARB for the purpose.

"We're now encouraging more livestock farmers to breed the elite stock of Boer goats being produced here in helping the country achieve self-sufficiency in mutton supply.

"Currently, only about nine-per cent of mutton is from locally bred goats but with this new project, we're confident of tremendously boosting our production."

Muhyiddin said the government would ensure that livestock farmers interested in taking up Boer goat breeding get the necessary support from Bank Pertanian, Fund for Food, SME Bank and others, adding that this new bio-technology would also be used for breeding other livestock.

The Boer goat project was among the latest advances in biotechnology on display at the three-day Showcase Bio-Business Mardi 2008 at the Kluang Mardi station opened by Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin said the event would help promote Kluang as a national focus area for livestock development.

In conjunction with the event, the NAEC centre, ARB project and three new Liberica coffee clones were launched by Muhyiddin.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and memorandum of agreement (MoA) between Mardi and participating entrepreneurs were also held together with techno-business matching and business clinics.

The signing ceremonies, which took place on the third day of the event, represented efforts by Mardi to forge partnerships with its industry friends to carry out research and development and commercialise potential technologies developed by it in the field of animal breeding, biotechnology, mechanisation and automation of agriculture.

At the ceremony, deputy secretary-general of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry Datuk Mokhtar Ismail said the MoUs and MoAs were in line with the ministry's commitment to empower the agriculture industry as an engine of growth for the development of the national economy.

He added that this could only be effectively achieved by continuous commercialisation of Mardi's R&D products and services such as herbs culture, processing of fruits and new generation fertilisers.

Among the exhibitions at the Mardi station in conjunction with the showcase event were samples of food consumed by the Malaysian astronaut while at the International Space Station.

There were a total of 200 Mardi inventions/innovations, including animal husbandry practices and animal feed, herbs, new potential industrial crops and agricultural and food engineering items on display.

A total of 30 Mardi technologies, including farm machinery and equipment; animal breeding techniques like embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilisation; silage production, organic fertiliser production and vegetative propagation of plants, were also demonstrated for the benefit of visitors.

The visitors were taken by special transport to view selected agro-technology projects at the research station.

A variety of agro-products developed by Mardi were also on sale while food and drinks were sold at a food court.

The visitors were also given a chance to take part in recreational and sporting events, including a drawing competition, fishing, flower and agricultural product arrangements, horseback riding and camping activities.

There was also a treasure hunt organised in conjunction with the event where participants headed from the Mardi headquarters in Serdang to Mardi Kluang station with stops at various agricultural projects along the route.

Boer goat meat hits market

Majestic Nature Boer Farm managing director Yeow Joo Kwong says goat meat is healthier than mutton or lamb.
Majestic Nature Boer Farm managing director Yeow Joo Kwong says goat meat is healthier than mutton or lamb.

PETALING JAYA: As common as goat meat sounds, it is actually a rare find in Malaysia. However, one company plans to change that.

Majestic Nature Boer Farm Sdn Bhd, the nation's largest private goat breeder, opened its first meat shop, Boer Goat Junction, at Damansara Utama. Its goal: to provide the public with a regular supply of goat meat.

"Although goat meat can be found in some wet markets and rural market fairs (pasar tani), the supply is little and the quality unsteady," said Majestic Nature Boer Farm managing director Yeow Joo Kwong.

He said goat meat was fast becoming a trend in Western cuisine due to its many health advantages, namely being high in protein but low on saturated fats and cholesterol.

"Many Malaysians think goat meat is bad for the heart. This is because they mistake goat meat for mutton," he said.
Yeow explained that mutton is the meat of an old sheep and not goat meat.

"Many people think lamb is sheep's meat while mutton is goat's meat. That's wrong. Lamb is actually the meat of a young sheep," he said.

Championing goat meat as a healthy alternative to lamb and mutton, Yeow also stressed that goat meat does not have a strong smell.

"Our meat comes from Boer goats, a breed originally developed in South Africa for its meat. It is also more tender," he said.

Yeow said although the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is aggressively promoting the cultivation of Boer goats, the industry is still in its infancy and many farmers were not keen on selling the meat due to the current lack of supply.

"That is why as the leading private Boer goat farm we thought it fell on us to get the ball rolling in terms of opening up the market for Boer goat meat consumption," he said.

Yeow invited celebrity chefs Florence Tan, Victor Chow and Hearrey Salleh to demonstrate various recipes for goat meat during the opening.

"We are also selling different pre-mix seasonings for goat meat. We hope this will popularise the use of goat meat in local cuisine."

Yeow is confident that goat meat consumption will catch on in Malaysia.

"Trust me, you will start seeing more people getting into it soon. We plan to open 20 more Boer meat outlets.

"Soon, Malaysia will be having Boer goat meat in abundance."

Milking goats for all it’s worth

SCIENTIFICALLY-PACKAGED: Premium quality goat’s milk
SCIENTIFICALLY-PACKAGED: Premium quality goat’s milk

TUCKED away in an oil palm estate in Parit Jabong Darat in Tongkang Pechah, Batu Pahat, is a small dairy goat farm with about 450 goats.

IN SAFE HANDS: Kamel Jaini (left), the proprieter of Ladang Tok Janggut, inspecting one of the goats at his farm.
IN SAFE HANDS: Kamel Jaini (left), the proprieter of Ladang Tok Janggut, inspecting one of the goats at his farm.
SAILAGE: This is what the goats are fed.
SAILAGE: This is what the goats are fed.
HYGIENIC METHOD: The goat’s milk packaging factory at Un Keng Farm at Parit Yaani, Yong Peng.
HYGIENIC METHOD: The goat’s milk packaging factory at Un Keng Farm at Parit Yaani, Yong Peng.
WEll-stocked: Benjamin Lim says villagers are no longer opposed to having a farm close to their houses
WEll-stocked: Benjamin Lim says villagers are no longer opposed to having a farm close to their houses
Set up only about eight months ago, the 1.2ha farm, Alita Corporation Sdn Bhd, is already producing about 300 litres of milk daily, largely due to technology transfer from Taiwan which employs biotechnology with minimal land usage.

Its marketing manager, Benjamin Lim, 43, said the use of the cost-effective micro-organisme (EM), has certainly made an impact among villagers who initially opposed the idea of having a farm close to their houses.

They soon found out that the farm, which cost RM2 million to establish, did not emit any unpleasant smell which would have attracted flies and other insects.

“After extensive research, we decided to use EM which helps control insects and bad bacteria from infecting the goats and the environment.”
The first 300 head of Saanen and Toggenberg goats from New Zealand arrived at the farm in October last year.

Lim, who was formerly in the textile industry and was forced to venture into other fields due to stiff competition from China, said he went into goat rearing after realising its enormous potential.

“We are still new but looking at the huge demand for goat milk, we are confident it will provide lucrative returns,” he said.

Dairy goat farmer Goh Un Keng, 43, said EM had helped improve the dairy yield and taste of the milk.

“The milk does not have the particular odour associated with goat and has a higher protein content. This gives our product an edge over traditionally-produced goat milk,” he said.

His farm, Un Keng Farming at Parit Yaani, Yong Peng, employs an improvised system to stimulate lactation and improve milk collection by playing soothing orchestral music to the goats during milking process.

Goh said the farm, which also traded in the Jamnapuri breed, had a modern dairy collection and bottling centre where the product was collected, packed and distributed fresh.

Ladang Tok Janggut proprietor Kamel Jaini, 43, said he used EM to prepare sailage (sprayed and fermented grass and other fibres used as feed) for the 2,000 Boer goats at the farm.

“We use napier grass, corn and mushroom which are shredded and sprayed with EM, and ferment it for a couple of days before feeding the sailage to the goats here.”

Kamel said the bio-technology method had significantly improved the meat texture, which had less fat content and was almost odourless, making organic mutton a preferred choice among hypertension sufferers and those concerned about their weight.

He said the presence of three types microbes in EM helped to improve the goats’ digestion and neutralise the urea in the body, making the muscle fibre soft and the meat almost odourless.

Meanwhile, state Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Regional Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Ahmad Zahri Jamil said the state government was promoting biotechnology to create a modern farming culture.

He said with EM, rearers would address three main issues — environmental concerns, better yield and organic feed.

Ahmad Zahri said the animal’s solid waste and urine would be immediately treated without the need of a septic tank.

“Untreated urine and solid waste will harm the environment. EM helps neutralise the acid and breaks it down to biodegradable particles which will not pollute the water system.

“By spraying it on the goats, it will protect them from harmful bacteria and keep them free from infection. The same goes with feeding as EM will eliminate fungus and harmful bacteria from the sailage while helping the goats to digest the feed.”

Most important, of all said Ahmad Zahri, the technology allowed modern farming to be carried out on small pockets of land.

“Johor no longer has vast tracts if agricultural land, so farmers need to optimise land use through biotechnology.”

Jumaat, Februari 01, 2008

Pusat Embrio Haiwan tingkat kualiti, bilangan ternakan

KLUANG 31 Jan. – Pusat Embrio Haiwan Negara (NAEC) dan program Kaedah Terkini Bioteknologi dalam Pembiakan Ternakan (ARB) yang dilancarkan hari ini mampu meningkatkan lagi kualiti dan bilangan ternakan kambing dan lembu daging dalam negara.

Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, inisiatif tersebut selaras dengan matlamat kerajaan untuk mengurangkan pergantungan kepada daging import.

Beliau berkata, bekalan daging dalam negara hanyalah kira-kira 20 peratus bagi lembu dan sembilan peratus bagi kambing manakala selebihnya diimport.

‘‘Keadaan ini menyebabkan berlakunya pengaliran keluar wang negara yang banyak,” katanya ketika melancarkan program NAEC dan ARB sempena Pameran Biobisnes Institut Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan Pertanian Malaysia (MARDI) 2008 di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir Ketua Pengarah MARDI, Datuk Dr. Abd. Shukor Abdul Rahman.

Muhyiddin menjelaskan, menerusi NAEC dan ARB, kementerian menyasarkan Malaysia akan mempunyai 1.5 juta ekor lembu, kambing dan biri-biri pada 2010.

Beliau berkata, NAEC yang akan beroperasi seiring dengan ARB mempunyai pelbagai fungsi antaranya menjadi pusat pembangunan teknologi pembiakan ternakan terkini dan penghasilan embrio daripada kambing serta lembu berkualiti.

Katanya, ia turut berfungsi sebagai pusat perkhidmatan teknikal dalam pembiakan ternakan terkini dan pusat simpanan gen, sperma dan embrio ternakan untuk dimajukan.

Dalam pada itu, program ARB pula melibatkan pembelian baka lembu dan kambing dari dalam dan luar negara untuk mewujudkan kumpulan nukleus ternakan yang merupakan kumpulan elit.

Muhyiddin berkata, ternakan elit itu akan disebarkan ke ladang-ladang ternakan satelit dan ladang pengganda di seluruh negara untuk meningkatkan bilangan ternakan.

‘‘NAEC dan ARB juga akan menumpukan kepada usaha membiak baka kambing Boer dari Afrika Selatan yang dianggap antara baka kambing terbaik di dunia dengan kombinasi daging dengan lemak yang bersesuaian,’’ katanya.

Beliau menambah, kedua-dua pusat itu telah pun diperakui oleh Persatuan Penternak-Penternak Kambing Boer Afrika Selatan sebagai pusat pembiakan kambing Boer yang berupaya menghasilkan baka berkualiti tinggi.