High feed costs were identified as a constraint to the production of pigs for the local markets of the Federated States of Micronesia. Farmers and Extension Agents identified breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, Moraceae) as one common locally available source of high energy local crops that often is wasted during the fruiting season. Feeding trials were developed to demonstrate the results of fermentation storage on breadfruit as a feed substitute for out-of-season feed for swine. An amendment of the original project limited the demonstrations to one trial on Kosrae, one breadfruit trial and one copra trial on Pohnpei. Copra (coconut meat residue) is commonly available from the processing industry on Pohnpei.
Excellent comparative results were generated in the fermented breadfruit trial on Kosrae and the copra feeding trial on Pohnpei with poorer results displayed in the fermented breadfruit test in Pohnpei. It is felt that differences in starting age of the pigs and poor breadfruit preservation techniques were a problem with the trial in Pohnpei. In all cases the high energy local feed was mixed as a balanced grower ration with a commercially available 50% protein swine premix of plant origin. Pigs were fed from 50 lbs. live-weight to 125 pounds live-weight approximately although the breadfruit trial in Pohnpei involved piglets of much younger age and smaller size to begin.
In the two successful trials, the piglets gained as quickly on the local mixed feeds as on a commercial grower ration. In the fermented breadfruit trial on Pohnpei the piglet’s growth rate for the trial piglets was much retarded. Poor fermentation practices and improper feed balancing is thought to be the problems. Meat quality for the piglets consuming the fermented breadfruit of Kosrae was rated as excellent by post-trial consumers. Based on purchase prices of the feed ingredients, there seems to be approximately a 45% saving through the use of local energy feeds as compared to purchased feeds. There are higher labor costs due to the harvesting, preparation and fermenting of breadfruit and the mixing prior to feeding but this is off-set by the availability of locally produced resources.
• Develop a feeding regime to reduce feed cost by at least 25% for growing-finishing pigs and breeding stocks using fermented breadfruit (Copra Meal).
• Develop feed formula using fermented breadfruit (copra meal).
• Develop sustainable practices for preparation of fermented breadfruit (copra Meal) for swine feed.
• Conduct workshops/trainings in the Federated States of Micronesia based on result of feeding trial and preparation methods.
• Determine actual cost of production in the Federated States of Micronesia.
There is confidence in two of the replicates of the project but questions of the third. There were two breadfruit feeding trials conducted with the trial in Kosrae indicating growth rates and general conditioning of the pigs on local feeds compared favorably to the commercial feeds. Similarly, the pigs fed copra mix in Pohnpei were comparable to the commercial feed pigs. However, the piglets on fermented breadfruit in Pohnpei were much slower and looked in poorer conditions. Observations were that the Fermenting of the breadfruit was questionable and consequently the feed quality was poor and the piglets were adversely affected. Another complication was the age of starting the piglets on breadfruit n Pohnpei and the balancing of the rations to support younger piglets.
When the pigs from the trial in Kosrae were slaughtered the meat quality and condition were judged very favorably. No record was kept of the meat quality of the animals in Pohnpei.
The initial feed trial proposal had planned for one breadfruit feeding trial in each state of Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk. Unfortunately with the loss of the agent in Chuuk, this site was unmanageable. With permission from Western SARE, a demonstration trial using copra meal was conducted in Pohnpei. Farmers who were introduced to the trials were positive since the two successful trials indicated an out-of-pocket saving of approximately 45% as compared to commercial feeds. This of course does not take into account the labor cost for harvesting, preparing and mixing the local feeds.
Benefits or Impacts on agriculture:
The project had shown positive results on agriculture in Pohnpei and Kosrae. The projects focused on feeding studying, it will improve production through agriculture management practice. Although focus on swine feeding the project has a wider range of influence on agriculture in the Federated State of Micronesia and other small islands countries
Benefits from using coconut include:
Low cost of pig feed
Improved management skills
Improved farmer awareness
Increased the use of coconut
Improved coconut management
Utilization of byproduct like coconut husk, coconut shell and coconut meat for virgin oil, cooking oil and bio-fuel oil
Copra production will increase, leading to a much healthier agro-forestry system
Benefits from using breadfruit include:
Increased use of breadfruit leading to better management skills
Increased the knowledge and usage of Integrated Pest Management on breadfruit farming
Increased management that would lead to better sanitation in breadfruit plantation
In subsequent work at the farm where copra meal was fed the following has occurred: With limited copra cake available the producer is substituting with fresh copra and the giant swamp taro which is available readily. He is now working on finding out the dried weight of the fresh copra and swamp taro so that he will be able to know how much wet feed is needed in order to provide the necessary amount of feed required daily per pig. He is also looking into bring in fish meal from neighboring islands to reduce his cost.
Reactions from Producers:
The producers on Pohnpei and Kosrae were impressed with the results. The farmers are recommending or requesting more demonstration to be done in this area. The price of commercial feed is high and not always available to the farmers. The farmers prefer locally produced feed that will be always made available.
Recommendations or New Hypotheses:
This project has indicated strong potential for the use of local available energy feed for pigs. It has proven during this project that there is more that needs to be researched in this area. Farmers are requesting more improve demonstration techniques and the comparison of other starchy local food such as cassava, banana, and taro. Similarly there is a need to research the use of local available protein sources such as fish meal and some vegetable protein such as sweet potato leaves, and pele leaves (bele, island cabbage).
Kosrae: The public was invited to a workshop held at the farmers’ plantation. Students and farmers were invited to witness the outcome of the project. The researcher and the farmer during the presentation showcased the pigs that were used during the project.
Pohnpei: First trial (breadfruit feed): Fifteen farmers attended the presentation/workshop at the project site. Present during the workshop were 15 farmers, 5 women, 5 extension agent, and 6 young children present at the time. The first trial based on fermented breadfruit presentation brought a lot of interest from the farmers. A demonstration was done to show the farmers how to prepare the breadfruit and store them.
Pohnpei 2nd Trial: A comparison of cobra meal as the based energy source with the 50% protein pre-mix against commercial grower ration. A field day held at the farm with 9 farmers, 5 extension agent, 4 women, and 5 young kids present at the time of the workshop/presentation.
The following attachments were submitted with this final report and are available through the Western SARE host institution
Photos: Swine project and pig slaughter in Kosrae
Educational or information material production is in progress.
Producer advisor statement:
This should be considered as the basis and justification for the sponsorship of a full Research project on local energy and protein feeds for pigs in the Tropical islands of the US. Pigs are of such cultural importance and as a nutritional staple, the information resulting would have major consequence for agriculture in the region. The spill-over effect would affect crop management as indicated above.
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