Masbate’s milk farms also reel from intense heat

Masbate’s milk farms also reel from intense heat

By: - Correspondent / @RAOstriaINQ
/ 04:40 AM April 16, 2024

Masbate’s milk farms also reel from intense heat

PARCHED The vast compound of Fazenda da Esperança in Milagros, Masbate, shown here on Sunday, is haven for those recovering from drug, alcohol and gambling addiction that also doubles as a dairy farm. But milk production has significantly dropped because of the intense heat brought about by the El Niño phenomenon. MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

MILAGROS, MASBATE, Philippines — Celso Recto, 32, blamed the extreme heat for the low milk production they have been getting at Fazenda da Esperança (Farm of Hope) in this town.

In an interview on Sunday, Recto said they could hardly fill 100 liters of milk daily like they used to during the dry season in the previous years.


According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the heat index in Masbate from April 10 to April 11 reached 42 degrees Celsius, which is already a level the agency categorizes as “dangerous.”


Pagasa’s five-day heat index forecast also showed that Masbate experienced 41°C on Monday.

READ: Pagasa says more areas hit danger level heat index on April 14

READ: Hope in rehab

17 cows

Recto and his fellow workers milk 17 cows daily at Fazenda’s rehabilitation center for people suffering from addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling. Work would start at 8 a.m.

The cow milk they produce is sold as flavored milk or used as ingredient in banana bread, lemon bread and cookies that they sell in the Fazenda’s compound in Bangad village. They also supply the province’s makers of “carmelado,” a sweet delicacy generally associated with this town.

The local Fazenda here is just one of the 160 farms in 20 countries that were put up by the organization that bears the same name. The first farm was built in Brazil in 1983.


The farm has been operating for 21 years and has 17 hectares of rice fields that benefit all 20 “boys under program” (those who voluntary commit themselves to Fazenda) ages 26 to almost 60.

Effect on cows

Recto said that the extreme heat has also made it hard for them to source food and water for the cows.

Brian Albert Barba, a part-time instructor in the Animal Science Department at Bicol University’s campus in Guinobatan town of Albay province, said that extreme heat causes stress to animals such as cows.

“The cows are resilient in the heat, but that has a direct effect on their feed intake. Their feed intake has a direct impact on their milk production and the milk’s quality,” Barba said in a phone interview on Sunday.

Barba said that to ease the impact of extreme heat in cows’ resting areas, they should have higher roofs, well-ventilated areas and an abundant source of fresh water.

Felipe Rampazzo, 35, a Brazilian missionary in Fazenda, told the Inquirer that nothing has been planted in the center yet due to the lack of water.

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“It is very hot, and the grass and fields are very, very dry. We also have a lot of fire … and it is usually in the areas where the cows eat the grass,” Rampazzo said in a separate interview, also on Sunday.

TAGS: animal stress, El Niño, PAGASA

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