Livestock Genetic Improvements in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Project Overview

FW07-307
Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2007: $29,974.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Animals: bovine, swine

Practices

  • Animal Production: livestock breeding
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, partnerships, community services, sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    The Northern Marianas College Livestock Extension Specialist, together with three CNMI ranchers, joined forces in adopting Artificial Insemination technology for cattle and swine this 2010. This is the second time that CNMI tried to upgrade swine breeds since 1986 through ADAP funding and the very first time to successfully cross old genetics with pure breeds for cattle. Two professionals and one producer underwent Artificial Insemination Training in Texas. A series of workshops was led by the producers in the islands of Tinian, Saipan and Rota. Both lectures and practical insemination were demonstrated to almost 50 producers. The three producers initiated the AI and so far twenty three (23) calves were produced from purebred Red Angus and Senepol and six piglets (two male and four females) from pure Landrace breeds.

    Introduction

    Cattle ranchers, as well as swine raisers, in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are considered subsistence in their operation. The livestock sector is still in its developing stage. There has been no slaughterhouse and processing facility in Saipan for quite a long time and that impedes its livestock potential growth. Inbreeding is the primary concern for most ranchers and producers. No matter how you feed the remaining livestock present in the CNMI, they can not provide the expected production potential due to the limited genetic capability. That is the reason concerned ranchers came up with the project on improving genetic make-up through Artificial Insemination. With the assistance from USDA Western SARE, the group was guided with Bovine Elite, LL Artificial Insemination training certification under Texas A & M University AI protocol. A group of ranchers from Saipan, Tinian and Rota joined forces with NMC CREES Livestock Improvement Program Leader and came up with this project. Funding was received late 2008 and project was terminated December 2010.

    From January to April 2009: Preparation of AI Facility at Obyan, Saipan at Capt. Ernest Torres ranch. Working chute was installed (in-kind contribution). Purchases of AI kit, supplies and materials were ordered at Bovine Elite, Texas.

    From May to July 2009: cattle and swine AI certification were received by Capt. Torres, Dr. Allan Sabaldica and Dr. Manuel Duguies at Bovine Elite at College Station and for Swine AI refreshers Course at Bureau of Animal Industry’s Swine Farm in Batangas, Philippines.
    Marianas Grazing Academy: A group from University of Hawaii, University of Virgin Islands and University of Guam joined the CNMI to assist ranchers to improve their operations. These included lectures in soil, animal husbandry and Forage-Pasture improvements. A series of workshop trainings is expected to assist the ranchers until 2013 under USDA Cooperative Assistance to Non-Advantageous Farmers funding.

    From August to November 2009: Some delays of import permits, handling and shipping protocols for the semen and AI tanks. All materials and supplies arrived in September 2009. Actual AI being performed by Capt. Torres to his cows by October to December 2009.

    December 2009: Cattle and Swine AI demo and workshop were accomplished. Participants from different islands such as Rota, Tinian, Guam and Saipan attended the event.

    Out of the 32 cattle inseminated 28 were positive. To date there are only 23 calves on the ground. Some were culled and died. Cattle AI workshops in January 25-29, 2010 at Saipan World Resort
    Schedules for Rota, and Tinian cattle AI service happened in March 2010 and swine AI at Jose Lifoifoi Swine Farm in As Theo, Saipan in May 2010.

    Swine and cattle semen are stored at eight-month liquid nitrogen and needs to maintain LN level by April 2010.

    Additional workshop/training in regards to Artificial Insemination was also scheduled on March 18, 2010 on the Island of Rota during the Agricultural Fair 2010.

    Project objectives:

    The objectives and performance targets that have been met were:

    *Two professionals and one producer got their certification from Bovine Elite and Texas A & M University and were able to perform the Train the Trainers program in Saipan, Tinian and Rota on 2009 and 2010;

    *Capt. Ernie Torres became a Certified Bovine AI specialist, through the Bovine Elite in College Station, Texas (May 2009);

    *Dr. Allan Sabaladica finished the Swine AI refreshers course (May 2009);

    *Dr Allan Sabaldica and Dr. Manuel Duguies both received certification from Bovine Elite and Texas A & M University (July 2010);

    *Performed AI workshops with eight other participants from Saipan, seven producers from Tinian and four ranchers from the island of Rota;

    *Documentation of the AI workshop as well as the AI demo into video (video copy was mailed to Western SARE office);

    *Eight ranchers learned AI knowledge and skills;

    *Ranchers were able to perform actual inseminations and 23 cows and six pigs were the results of successful AI;

    *Capt. Torres was encouraged to sustain the AI business in the CNMI and provide services to island ranchers for a fee.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.