IACCB works with farmer cooperatives which collectively own and manage cattle and facilities. This breeding system involves small farmers cutting forage from their own land and carrying it to a breedlot, where mating, calving and growing occur.
IACCB selected 2 farmer Cooperatives:
These projects differ in terms of location, cooperative structure and financial capacity offering valuable lessons for achieving commercial sustainability.
Cut and Carry Small-holders deliver short calving intervals
IACCB has proven that strong fertility of Brahman Cross under tropical conditions can be achieved in small-holder breedlots, but this is highly dependent on intensive and strong management. Calving intervals between first and second calves, a key measure of productivity, were under 15 months for 80% of the herd and under 18 months for 98% of the herd. The interval for the second and third calves has been 12 months for 43% of the herd. These results bode well for commercial viability, with the important caveat that consistently maintaining strong management in a communal system is very challenging.
Even though our pilot farmer groups and cooperatives have considerable experience breeding Bali cattle and PO (Ongole) breeds using traditional models, scaling-up from a small herd to managing significant numbers of big-framed Brahman Cross cattle has been challenging. The above results in well-managed small-holder enterprises are impressive for communal breedlots but substantial challenges remain. Maintaining herd BCS is challenging due to the inconsistency in feed quality and quantity due to inconsistent financial resources. Fluctuation in BCS impacts on other productivity KPIs. Conception rates fluctuated between 95% in well-managed partners compared to 73% in less well-managed enterprises. The same variation is seen in calving rates that fluctuated between 94% and only 51%, and weaning rates that varied between 87% and 68%.
Click here for an interesting story about the third generation of BX in KPT Lampung. These calves are now being born 2.5 years since the arrival of the cattle. Quite a milestone.
Preparations are now being made to gradually phase-out from our two initial Cut-and-Carry partners. This will include the hand-over of cattle, a decrease in intensive technical support, the hand-over of technical support to the Local Government Livestock Services, and communication of key lessons learnt at a national conference on Small-holder Cattle Breeding in February or March 2020.