Country Profiles

Inputs sector

Feed inputs for cattle production in Indonesia are diverse. They range from: cut and carry of crop residues and grasses (e.g. Java); the open grazing of cattle in grass and shrub land in Eastern Indonesia; to tree forages in both intensive and extensive systems; and residues from plantation crops in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Intensive cropping areas like East Java produce one to three crops of rice per year, combined with a large number of other crops. It is estimated that East Java produces about 19 million tonnes of rice straw that is the main feed base for 4.7 million cattle (the number claimed in official statistics). One study (form Gaja Mada University) claimed that the province has a carrying capacity of 7 million head but other studies (e.g. Syamsu et al. 2003) found that East Java may already be over-stocked. In intensive cropping systems, farmers collect straw and grasses from their own land. But because of the small land sizes and reluctance to store feed, also collect from

In intensive cropping areas, a large proportion of feed is sourced on-farm from crop residues and from and the grasses or forages grown on bunds and perimeters. However, small land sizes (relative to cattle numbers) and the difficulties of feed storage, mean that farmers source a significant part of their feed from outside their own farm through: cut and carry on communal areas; by assisting with the harvest of other households in return for straw; or by pooling resources to rent trucks to pick up larger quantities of rice straw from areas in a staggered harvest season. In these systems, the price of the straw lies the labour and transport costs of collecting it. However, in areas such lowland East Java with a large specialised household fattening sector, a feed market and trading industry is developing, even for even low grade and low value feed such as rice straw.

The Indonesian government regards grassland areas as a major “unused” resource that can be utilised to increase cattle numbers. There are numerous plans to build cattle “ranches” in remote areas of NTB and NTT. Based on estimates of land and carrying capacity, the NTB government estimates that cattle numbers can be increased by 50% (The Government of NTB, 2009) and NTT policy-makers estimate they can increase cattle numbers by 38%. Several studies (eg. Mulik, 2012) question the technical basis for these claims. Many grassland areas have been invaded by weeds (Chromolaena), with significant grassland degradation in common grazing systems. Over-stocking means that limited available feed has to be apportioned over more cattle that lowers productivity and degrades the resource base (grasslands) leading to lower grass growth and higher weed growth.

There have been long-standing efforts in Indonesia to grow forages to improve the nutritional value of feed, either as supplements or for prolonged periods of the year. In wetter areas, forages that can be integrated into cropping systems include improved grasses (e.g. king grass and elephant grass) and sesbania planted on bunds and in small plots of land. Another tree forage (leucaena) can be planted in strips or perimeters and, once established, and can yield a consistent supply of good nutrition (protein) even in dry season. There has been an increase in leucaena planted in in Eastern Indonesia for cattle feed, including for/by specialised fattening households. Plantation systems are a source of feed in Sumatra and Kalimantan, through residues (palm, pineapple, cassava) and also grazing under plantations (in various plantation – household models). While most cattle are produced in small-holder systems, there are large feedlots throughout Sumatra that utilise feeds from plantation estates.

The regional distribution of the main breeds are shown in Table 2. Bali cattle, Ongole and “other” breeds (Euro crosses in Java, Brahmans in Sumatra) make up roughly 30% each of the cattle in Indonesia, with Madura cattle making up the rest. There are three main breeding systems for small-holders in Indonesia: natural breeding where households use their own bulls; natural breeding using group bulls; and artificial insemination.

Bali cattle in Eastern Indonesia are small with limits on growth potential, but are well adapted to their harsh environment of low or variable nutrition, reflected in generally good body condition and high inherent fertility (Lindsay and Entwistle, 2003). The vast majority of Bali cattle are bred through natural mating by bulls owned by the household, and cycle leading into the beginning of wet season. However, in more intensive systems, cattle are sometimes held in communal pens and cows can be serviced by a bull owned by the group (managed under various arrangements). Bali cattle remain the genetic base of provinces like NTT and NTB, and have been exported in breeding programs in outlying provinces. However, policy-makers have experimented with cross-breeding programs through natural breeding and small AI programs.

Most of the cattle in Java are Ongole (derived from Brahman cattle) and Madura. In provinces like East Java, 90% of cattle are artificially inseminated, and farmers have expressed preferences for larger European breeds (Charolais, Limousin). Semen and straws for AI in originates from breeding centres (there are three national centres in Indonesia), straws are disseminated through the AI network, requiring close coordination in transport and liquid nitrogen infrastructure, and there are many dozens of AI technicians at district level that work for or are certified by the Livestock Department. The high proportion of crossbred cattle in this region reflects the greater focus on fattening.

Like many other areas of SE Asia, policy makers are very interested in breed improvement especially through AI. While cross-breeding programs can increase genetic potential for growth, this requires that requisite feed and management systems are in place. In low-productivity systems that are the norm in much of Indonesia, genetic “improvement” exacerbates inefficiencies because (limited) feed is increasingly used for maintenance and less for production (reproduction and liveweight gain). The effective delivery of artificial insemination services is also organisationally and technically demanding. AI services must be delivered in a timely manner, requiring that farmers to detect oestrus and that AI agents deliver services within the oestrus period before it is missed for another cycle (average of 21 days). Semen must also be live and healthy (motility), which is a function of collection, storage and distribution systems for straws and liquid nitrogen). Any problems in this chain result in delays of successful insemination and inter-calving intervals. Natural breeding can circumvent many of the potential downfalls associated with AI discussed above, and is recommended by many researchers especially in more extensive production systems.

Veterinary services are provided by the Animal Health Division that forms a separate line agency within the DGLAHS down to local levels. The Division oversees Animal health centres (puskeswan) down to sub-district level staffed by veterinarians or lower level “animal paramedics”. The veterinarians perform duties including: animal disease control and prevention (surveillance of diseases such as brucellosis, anthrax and septicaemia epizootica, vaccinations, training); public health and sanitation surveillance (slaughterhouses, markets, butchers); and issue animal health certificates for inter-island trade (quarantine); and lab analysis. Farmers, traders or butchers pay for the services of government veterinarians for a fee, but vaccine and vet products are usually supplied by government a subsidised rates.

Animal health problems in Indonesia include (ACIAR, 2013):

  • Diseases such as brucellosis, vibriosis, leptospirosis and pestivirus that reduce reproductive performance and constrain trade flows
  • External parasites (ticks and flies) can cause production losses and internal parasites (especially liver fluke) can have prevalence of 25% to 90% in wet parts of Indonesia
  • Respiratory disease and diarrhoea cause reduce growth rate and can cause mortality in calves
  • and Foot and Mouth Disease has been eradicated in Indonesia, which is formative in Indonesia’s international trade policy.
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