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Farm Chokchai

One of the most successful farms in Thailand is Farm Chokchai. This well known dairy farm and agro-tourism enterprise was established in 1957. The farm now covers 20,000 rai (3,200 hectares) and raises over 3,000 dairy cattle. The cows are milked 3 times a day, and currently produce 22 tons of raw milk per day, with an average of 18 kilograms of milk per cow per day.

The farm grows over 12,000 rai (2,000 hectares) of forage. Most of this land is planted with old forage varieties like Ruzi, but every year since 2008 Farm Chokchai has been planting more and more land with Mulato II. The Mulato II is used for grazing, cut-and-carry and making hay.

A feedlot system is used for the mature milk-producing cows. The Mulato II grass is cut-and-carried using a John Deere tractor to pull a forage harvester and trailer:
Harvesting 80 rai (12.8 hectares) of fresh Mulato II grass
Fresh Mulato II grass is carried to milking cows in large feedlots.
The Mulato II grass is also used to make bales of hay:
Round bales of Mulato II hay are stored under cover on Farm Chokchai
Farm Chokchai's cows enjoy eating Mulato II hay
Mr Amnat Panyapru, Dairy Farm Business Division Manager of Farm Chokchai, likes Mulato II because it can stay green and grow in the dry season and because it has high protein levels. He says the seeds from Ubon have good germination and high purity.
Comparison of Ruzi grass (left side) with Mulato II grass (right side) at Farm Chokchai. Mulato II shows more growth and is greener than Ruzi.
Mr Amnat said many dairy farmers in Pakchong like to grow the forage variety Napier Pakchong. According to Dr Michael Hare the main reason farmers like Napier Pakchong is because they can harvest a large amount of forage in a short time; it means less hard work for them. But Napier Pakchong may include many fibrous stems, which may be rejected or consumed slowly by the animals. This can result in slow weight gain and lower milk yields. Napier Pakchong cannot tolerate repeated cutting, trampling by grazing animals, drought or waterlogging. Mulato II is a much better forage than Napier Pakchong so we expect more farmers will start to follow the example of Farm Chokchai and grow Mulato II.

Dairy cows grazing a 120 rai (19 hectares) field of Mulato II grass at Farm Chokchai.
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