Established to foster investment, innovation and expansion in the Indonesian beef cattle industry, the Indonesia-Australia Commercial Cattle Breeding (IACCB) Program commenced its second phase in early 2019.
Since beginning in 2016, the program has explored various approaches to making cattle breeding in Indonesia both commercially viable and sustainable.
The three models assessed include cattle integration with palm oil production (where cattle graze and breed within oil palm plantations); open grazing (where cattle graze on open pastures during the day and are yarded in the evening); and the more traditional cut-and-carry method (where feed is cut and carried to yarded cattle).
According to Mr Dick Slaney, the IACCB Team Leader for phase one, the extension of the program reflects the progress made in developing viable models.
“The IACCB Program is playing a central role in the transfer of knowledge about cattle breeding,” Mr Slaney says. “It’s an important platform to share the lessons we’re learning with the broader commercial beef cattle industry in Indonesia.”
During its first phase, the program engaged eight project partners across five provinces to pilot the three cattle breeding models. This comprised four projects to implement integrated oil palm and cattle production (SISKA), one project undertaking open grazing, and three projects based on smallholder cut-and-carry.
From February 2016 to February 2019, the IACCB program distributed 1,315 heifers and 113 bulls to the eight projects, resulting in the successful breeding of 1,452 calves and the development of 203 hectares of pasture.
The program has also delivered 113 days of technical assistance, conducted four major learning workshops, helped train 86 people, and played a pivotal role in the employment of 78 women in the cattle industry.
At the end of 2018, the IACCB Program carried out commercial viability assessments on six out of its eight projects, five of which were assessed as being potentially commercially viable.
Herd numbers at the end of phase one totalled 2,362, an increase of 65% on 2016 levels, driven in large part by the provision of high-quality IACCB technical assistance focussed on improving weaning rates.
The progress achieved in phase one has spurred the continuation of the IACCB program out to February 2021. This extension will conclusively determine the commercial sustainability of the program’s three cattle breeding models.
The second phase will also focus on promoting commercially proven cattle breeding models to the broader beef cattle industry, including investors from Indonesia and Australia as well as the governments of both countries.
Specific objectives of phase two include strengthening the capacity of staff at partner sites to sustain good project performance; developing the institutional capacity of smallholder operations through specialist consultancy; encouraging pasture development to ensure an abundance of cheap and nutritious cattle feed; and conducting research to establish the commercial impact of palm oil and cattle breeding integration models.
The IACCB team will give considerable focus to innovation in knowledge management during the second phase of the program.
It will work to finalise four technical manuals delivered in the form of smart apps that can be easily accessible through mobile phones. These apps will cover key functions required to plan for, and manage, a sustainable breeding herd in Indonesia. Topics covered include the economics of cattle breeding in Indonesia, herd management, pasture management, and enterprise monitoring and evaluation. The smart apps capture lessons learned through IACCB activities during phase one, and are supported by robust data and guidance materials written specifically for investors.
During phase two, the IACCB team will also complete the development of robust herd management software for Indonesian cattle breeders. Providing integrated features to manage productivity and link outputs with key financial and operational data, this software will support the day-to-day management of cattle, specifically breeding, fattening and feed milling.
“We will continue to encourage innovation, drive expansion, and promote investment in the sector,” says Mr Paul Boon, the Team Leader for phase two of the program. Such promotion includes the IACCB’s planned participation in the 11th Asia Sustainable Oil Palm Summit in September 2019. IACCB is also planning to conduct workshops disseminating the results of their SISKA and smallholder projects in October 2019 and February 2020, respectively.
“We will need to consider various industry challenges including the development of experienced cattle-breeding managers and supervisors, suitable vaccines, quality cattle-shipping services between islands, commercial pasture seed suppliers, and laboratories to analyse feed concentrates” Mr Boon adds.
For more information on the IACCB Program, visit iaccbp.org