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Dairy Farming in Philippines: Breeds, How to Start

The dairy industry in the Philippines is expanding. Dairy imports are increasing rapidly to meet the changing demand to boost local dairy production. While the country faces record-high imports, they do not want to rely on them. Overall, the whole industry looks ready for growth. The average Filipino is generally considered a non-dairy drinker. About 99% of dairy products are imported into the Philippines, which provides a significant opportunity for industry development. Let’s check out more info on dairy farming in Philippines.

Dairy Farming in Philippines
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The Philippine government has given priority to the development of the dairy sector. According to the National Dairy Authority (NDA), the Philippines imports almost all of its dairy products, especially milk powder, as domestic production cannot meet the country’s dairy demand of approximately 3.0 million metric tons (MMT) of liquid milk equivalent (LME) per year. 

In the Philippines, the dairy sector can be described as ‘rather small, fragmented and stagnant, with 1 to 2% of national milk consumption coming from local suppliers. This sector is also diverse and not well developed but there is a change in prices apart from short- and long-term fluctuations. Despite many difficulties, milk production is technically possible. Dairy has not yet been recognized as a major development sector and is facing an uphill battle by imitating developments in other countries. 

The local Philippine government has become a partner for dairy farms, providing land, loans, and sponsorship. One important benefit that benefits dairy farms is linked to milk feeding programs. Local milk and cow farms provide dairy products to local schools, creating a strong bond around the dairy. Relationships between large and small farms also play a key role in dairy production. The law and the national development plan promote smallholder dairy, as contained in the following relevant provisions;

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Dairy Cow
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  • To provide assistance and support in the production, processing, and marketing activities of all persons engaged in the business of milk and other dairy products through the provision of essential support systems, especially small dairy farmers living in rural areas; 
  • Recognize them as key agents in the development of the Philippine dairy industry, encouraging and promoting the active participation of farm families, rural cooperatives, and the private sector; 
  • Develop and disseminate dairy technology based on smallholders.

Dairy cooperatives and farmers’ organizations in Philippines

The Authority [NDA] will assist small milk producers and processors in organizing other forms of cooperatives or organizations to achieve the objectives of this Act, including;

  • To facilitate collective arrangements. This will enable the cooperative to obtain dairy animals, veterinary, feeds, and other goods, materials, equipment, all kinds of services, and other dairy inputs under favorable conditions. 
  • Provide a forum for members of cooperatives to discuss common issues affecting the cooperative’s relationship with production, marketing, and authority; 
  • To help design the credit system that will provide loans, grants, and services that are needed, to properly-recognized organizations of dairy cooperatives and people; 
  • Help develop cooperative market channels and negotiate for milk production bulk outlets. 

Housing management

Protect animals from excessive heat and rain, especially during milking time. Construct in an open space as a shed for cattle. A 12 ft x 12 ft fence is enough for 4 to 5 cows. An area of ​​10 feet x 3 feet will suffice as a shed for barn and feeding. The calves should be raised to a height of 2 feet, 4 feet x 8 feet in area. If you decide to milk twice a day, a 4 feet high section is needed to easily separate the calf from the mother.

If milking is done only in the morning, the calves should be provided with a separate wall in the open air. Take care of cleanliness in the area. The floor must be cemented and well-drained. Provide adequate food, water, and hay racks for the animals. Two compartments are needed to control the cows. In a dairy of four to five cows, three to four cows will be in the milking line. 

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Cow Farming
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Important dairy breeds 

The temperate breeds of dairy cattle that have been successfully raised in the Philippines are Holstein Friesian, Jersey, and Brown Swiss. 


Holstein-Friesian produces an average of 22 kg of milk per day, with an average of 3.6% butterfat. These cattle are thought to have been selected for dairy farming for almost 2,000 years. 


The Jersey Cow is the second largest breed of dairy cattle in the world. They produce milk with 18% more protein, 20% more calcium, and 25% more butter than any other breed. Jersey is known for its milk which is known for its high quality – it is especially rich in protein, minerals, and trace elements. Jerseys can adapt to a wide variety of climates, environments, and management practices. 

Brown Swiss

Brown Swiss cattle can be gray, dark brown, tan, or almost white. Brown Swiss cows are good, permanent milk producers, producing an average buttermilk content compared to other breeds of dairy cattle. Tropical races such as Sahiwal, the Red Sindhi, and Tharparkar are more suited to the Philippine conditions. But these are dual-purpose breeds that are bred for both their meat and milk and produce less milk than the moderate breeds. 

Some other breeds available in the Philippines are Murrah, Nili Ravi, Philippine Carabao.

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Dairy Farming
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Production policy under dairy farming in Philippines

The main priority for the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is making the development of the Philippine dairy industry, with special importance on improving the local fresh milk supply. Although the DA acknowledges that the Philippine powdered milk cannot compete in the milk market, it believes that it can greatly increase the fresh milk supply in the market.

The NDA (National Dairy Authority) is the DA’s primary agency that oversees and supports the Philippine dairy sector’s development. The NDA aims to accelerate dairy herd construction and milk production, increase the coverage of school feeding programs, expand the dairy business through the provision of technical services, and promote milk consumption. 

The Philippine dairy industry consists of two separate sectors: a milk powder-based sector that imports, re-processes and repackages milk and dairy products. The other is the liquid milk sector, which includes imported UHT milk and locally produced fresh milk. 

Types of dairy farms in the Philippines

  1. Individual smallholder producers (who use and sell what they produce locally), 
  2. Smallholder cooperatives (which deliver their milk to the collection point for transport to processing plants) 
  3. Commercial farms (which provide processors) 
  4. Government farms (which provide school and rural community feeding programs). 

A significant amount of the Philippine fluid milk supply is Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk reconstituted from imported milk powder because of the country’s limited production and cold chain challenges. The National Dairy Authority aims to accelerate dairy herd construction and milk production. The future of Philippine dairy production is bright with the help of local governments and quality assurance. 

Feeding management

In major production systems with a favorable climate, differences should be made, such as in central Mindanao (Bukidnon), hotter but still wet coastal areas where fodder quality is inadequate for high-yielding cows, and in areas with prolonged dry climate conditions where feed protection is essential. One particular case is areas close to the market where buying city-centric feed is relatively easy and profitable (increased distance from the city indicates lower-cost production and higher prices for inputs such as feeds).

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Dairy Cow Feeding
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High-yielding dairy cows need food that meets the nutritional requirements for high milk production. Amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and water are all nutrients that a lactating cow needs to meet the mammary gland’s demand for milk and milk products. The benefits of installing a feeding system include;

  • Deciding whether the feeding system installation is the right solution for the farm and whether there are resources available to operate and maintain it. This is important before investing. 
  • Choosing the right system. There are many different feeding systems. Knowing how to choose the right one will maximize the return on investment. 

Good nutrition management guidelines

  • Feed a balanced ration for protein, energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 
  • Group the cows based on the production and adjust the physical conditions accordingly during lactation. 
  • Provide exercise for dry cows
  • Limit the silage of corn silage fed to dry cows at about 15 kg per day and about 5 kg of grass or its equivalent fodder. 
  • Maintain a 12–13-month interval to avoid prolonged dry periods by providing good health and nutrition measures and expert reproductive exercises. 

Challenges facing the Philippines dairy industry

In the Philippines, the dairy sector has recently been established and is not yet well developed. Most dairy producers are small-scale, with 5 to 10 cows per herd, working on farms that typically do not exceed three hectares. Production is assembled, processed, and redistributed through cooperatives. The major challenges facing the sector are poor mechanization, water scarcity, low production efficiency, low fodder production, and record shortages which will help track the evolution of dairy farm production.

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Dairy Housing
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Therefore, only 1.8% of the gross domestic product can support domestic consumption and so the rest has to be imported. Provide cows with a good source of water for the most delicious food, a clean, dry, comfortable environment, and a balanced ratio to meet their production needs. It is important to consult and work with your local veterinarian, diagnostic laboratory, nutritionist, and extension personnel to avoid costly metabolic disorders.



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