Country Profiles

Inputs sector

Thailand has 51.3 million ha land of which 41% is under cultivation of various crops, and 78% of the agricultural area is rainfed (Office of Agricultural Statistics, 2014). Most mixed cattle-crop producers utilised communal land for cattle grazing. Total area of communal land in the country is 369,218 ha.

For native cattle in the mixed cattle-crop systems in the Northern, North-eastern and Central regions, natural grass and crop residues based feeding systems are used. Cattle graze all year round on the roadsides or paddy land or upland crop field before or after harvesting season. Crop residues and by-products including rice and maize straws, rice stubble and cassava chips, are also used as sources of roughage to feed cattle. When the cropping season begins during the rainy season, most of the land is used for rice and crop plantations. The cattle are often fed with rice straw with little extra concentrate or mineral supplements. For beef cattle in these regions, cattle are provided with cut and carry pasture or grazed on improved pasture and supplementary of crop by-product and/or compound feed.

In the Southern region of Thailand, cattle graze under plantations such as rubber, palm oil, orchard or roadsides. Cattle are supplemented with cut and carry fodder grass, fodder tree leaves, palm kernel and palm frond.

For commercial/intensive fattening systems, intensive confine feedlot feeding systems are used. Cattle are fed on compound concentrate feed with minimum quantity of roughage fibre in a ratio of 70:30.

In traditional mixed cattle-crop systems, the most common breed is Thai native cattle (Bos indicus type), in the north-eastern region, that are small and have ability to adapt to low quality roughage, and remain productive under stressful environments (Charoensook et al., 2013). Exotic crossbreds such as Tak and Kabinburi breeds are common in specialised fattening and commercial fattening farms (Boonyanuwat et al., 2009). Crossbred cattle comprised of one-third of the Thai cattle population in 2006 (Waritthitham et al., 2010).

To become more self-sufficient and cut beef imports, the Thai government, through the Department of Livestock Development, has initiated several quality beef cattle breeding projects. Several Bos Taurus breeds were imported into the native cattle population by means of frozen semen (Charolais, Hereford, Simmental and Shorthorn) for the purpose of crossbreeding (Charoensook et al., 2013). For example, statistics from the Department of Livestock Development showed that Thailand imported 187,567 doses of beef breed semen in 2005 worth THB 20 million, 135,447 doses in 2006 worth THB 34.35 million and 51,070 million doses in 2007 worth THB 15.16 million (Beefsite, 2009).

One of the cattle improvement projects was implemented in 2001 in the northern province of Tak (Boonyanuwat et al., 2009). The “Tak” breed is named after the province where the breeding station is located. The Tak breed has been developed from the American Brahman and Charolais breeds. American Brahman and Charolais females (50:50) are bred and these are then inseminated with American Brahman semen to produce a 75 per cent American Brahman and 25 per cent Charolais cross. After this, the 75 per cent American Bradman : 25 Charolais crosses are inseminated with Charolais semen, resulting in 62.5 per cent Charolais: 37.5 per cent American Brahman. The breeding station distributes Tak semen which local farmers then use on their native Thai cows (Boonyanuwat et al., 2009).

Another project called ‘Kabinburi Cattle Breed Establishment Project’ which aimed to produce a new breed of German Simmental (50%) crossed with and Brahman (50%) for dual purposes. ‘Kabinburi’ was developed from the two breeds combining the strengths of the Brahman breed, including longevity, heat tolerance, insect and disease resistance, durability, grazing ability and calving ease with the superior Simmental traits of fertility, rapid growth, and early sexual maturity led to Kabinburi cattle (Boonprong et al., 2008).

The veterinary services in Thailand are provided by the central government and local administrative authorities in collaboration with academic institutions, private veterinarians and livestock industries. The Department of Livestock Development is responsible for animal health, safety of animal-derived products and international animal health matters.
Thailand has conducted several animal disease surveillance programs to enhance the national capability for an early detection and notification of suspected cases or outbreaks of any endemic diseases, zoonotic or emerging diseases that pose threats to animal health and public health. These include active and passive surveillance, and serological surveillance systems for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Brucellosis, and Foot and mouth disease (Department of Livestock Development, 2011).

To improve the early detection and early warning system of animal diseases at the sub-district and village level, over 2000 subdistrict livestock assistants are deployed to work in close collaboration with local authority throughout Thailand. The Surveillances Rapid Response Teams were also established in nine regions of Thailand to respond immediately if an outbreak occurs.

DLD is able to produce vaccines and provide vaccination campaigns including Monovalent Foot and mouth disease, Trivalent FMD, Haemorrhagic disease, Anthrax and Blackleg and Brucellosis.

Thailand has attempted to establish a Foot and mouth disease free zone in the eastern region of the country, which complies with the OIE international animal health codes. FMD surveillance has been conducted to (i) strengthen early FMD detection, (ii) assess protective immunity, and (iii) evaluate the FMD status.

Thailand also established 53 animal quarantine stations throughout the country to control animal movement. In addition, the country also developed the National Livestock Identification and Registration System to identify and trace animal movement and allow animals to be identified individually or by herd.

Scroll Top