Tuesday, June 01, 2010

WESVARRDEC MS raises no-wash, antibiotics-free pigs

By Vishia Mae Dominic J. Tolcidas
Regional Applied Communications
FITS OPA Negros Occidental

Ever heard of pigs that do not take a bath for months? (Even just a day without proper hygiene befitting the future lechon would be pollution in its truest sense.)

Mr. Ramon Dayrit Peñalosa, Jr., farmer entrepreneur and owner of Peñalosa Farms in Negros Occidental is a recognized Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) or farmer scientist of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) who sees no reason (because there is no need) to wash pigs. Neither do his neighbors see a reason to complain of foul odor, thanks to MS Peñalosa’s unique cultural management practices that make the farm almost odor-free and environment-friendly.

Peñalosa Farms are situated inside a machine shop compound at the heart of Victorias City and at the back of a big commercial center and in adjacent Manapla town in Negros Occidental. Hog raising here began by accident in 2000. When Peñalosa saw there was abundant kangkong planted in a swampy part of the compound, he thought of raising pigs that could be fed by the fodder.

Since then, the swine farm has grown bigger and become profitable owing to its swine-raising strategy using probiotics. Probiotics are formulations of beneficial organisms and enzymes as well as vitamins and minerals added to animal feed. Probiotics contains good bacteria that improve the immune system of the pigs preventing harmful bacteria to cause foul odor and diseases. Because of this, the swine farm requires no commercial disinfectant as footbath and no antibiotics except hog cholera vaccine. Probiotics allows for pigs that are no-wash, unlike the usual practice in commercial farms.

Wash and where
MS Ramon Peñalosa’s probiotics-based swine culture provides for a self-contained, self-sustaining livestock production that utilizes the organic production and takes advantage of its health-promoting benefits.

Through time, MS Ramon Peñalosa has made innovations, allowing hog manure to mix with rice hull that serves as flooring of low-cost pens made of semi-permanent and light materials. It is rice hull and not concrete flooring which are seen in most commercial and backyard piggeries. Underneath the rice hull are layers of biodegradable materials such as chopped banana trunks, mill ash, mud-press, shredded rice straw, sugarcane tops, fruit and vegetable peelings, leaves, and weeds found in the farm. These are allowed to decompose. After about 4 to 5 months or when live weight reaches 85 to 90 kilograms, the fattened pigs are harvested. So are the decomposed materials which are then made into organic fertilizer. This practice has turned to be a zero-waste, cost-efficient, and highly-productive and ensures better income for the farmer.

Peñalosa credits the success of his swine culture to probiotics, which is no trade secret. His generosity in sharing his technologies has gained him numerous invitations to speak on organic farming and probiotics before scientists, academicians, investors and fellow farmers.

According to Peñalosa, “Going into probiotic swine production requires a major change in the way a farmer would conventionally raise swine.” While feed preparation alone can be labor-intensive, it surely cuts costs and ensures quality meat products highly recommended for public consumption, the farmer scientist said.

Peñalosa’s integrated natural farming business is market-driven, doable, sustainable, and replicable. Currently the Magsasaka Siyentista of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) of Negros Occidental, Peñalosa’s farms have become the most frequently-visited agri-tourism destination in Negros Occidental.


  1. long last simple ingenuity of a pilipino mind yet led to promising sustainable livestock farming and envi-friendly technology...

    kind you share how layering is done? Thanks....


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