Name : Esdinawan Carakantara Satrija
Age : 28
Institution : PT Sulung Ranch, Central Kalimantan
Region : Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Course : Reproduction Management Training Program
Program Graduate: 2019
Esdinawan Carakantara Satrija, or simply ‘Caraka’ to his friends, was born into a family of veterinarians—his main inspiration for becoming one himself.
“Both my parents are vets, but they are in a different specialization,” the 28-year-old explains. “They are both academics and focus on diseases. As for myself, my passion is in animal husbandry and how to produce livestock efficiently.”
Caraka is now a veterinarian at Sulung Ranch, a vast palm plantation in West Kotawaringin Regency in Central Kalimantan and one of the largest enterprises in Indonesia to implement the integrated oil palm and cattle (SISKA) breeding model.
Caraka has a variety of animal health tasks to perform around the plantation and it is not unusual for him to travel 90 kilometres in a day, conducting general health check-ups, pregnancy testing, and supervising the productivity rates of the cattle.
“It can be challenging because different herds are in different places and you only have a small window of time to check on them,” Caraka says.
Thankfully, his experience in short courses conducted by the Partnership have Caraka well equipped for his demanding job.
In 2015, he graduated from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) in West Java and was rated toward the top of his academic class.
He then moved with his wife to Central Kalimantan in 2018 and began working for Sulung Ranch, where he was introduced to the integrated oil palm and cattle system, a model he soon learned was distinctly different from feedlot farming methods.
In July 2019, Caraka had the opportunity to participate in the Partnership’s Cattle Reproduction Management Training for Veterinarians, facilitated by senior experts from his alma mater, IPB.
“I had heard about the training from my colleagues at the ranch, who had joined other trainings where they were sent to Australia,” the young veterinarian says.
“Then Dr (Muhammad) Agil, one of the course trainers and my former lecturer, recommended it to me.”
From the course, Caraka says he gained invaluable insights about cattle management and exchanged knowledge with other veterinarians who work in the same field.
Through a combination of theoretical and practical training designed for experienced veterinarians, Caraka also acquired new skills and says one he has found most useful is pregnancy checking.
“There are things that you only learn once you’re in the field.”
“For example, different breeds of cows require different approaches to take care of them. You don’t learn that on campus. That’s why the Partnership’s trainings and workshops are so useful.”
In December 2020, Caraka was also part of the training course’s second intake, again conducted by IPB but this time in an online setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the training could not be done on site in a hands-on manner, Caraka makes it clear that he still benefitted from the course, especially because it focussed on the cattle reproduction selection system.
“At Sulung Ranch, we use a natural breeding system under the palm trees,” he explains.
“In the second intake of the course, we learned about the bulls and the replacement system to make sure the productivity rate stays high. I can apply that knowledge on the ranch.”
“As well, the participants in the second intake were more diverse because there were some people from the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Caraka says he is grateful for the advice of course facilitators and participants in the training, especially given that there are sometimes difficult cases he has to handle on the plantation.
“One challenge is the age of some of the animals,” he says. “Many of the cattle are more than 10 years old and for cows to have calves at that age can pose more risks and they often have a slower recovery.”
In recent times, Caraka has been unable to travel because the management of Sulung Ranch imposed a lockdown to make sure everyone at the plantation stays healthy.
“The good thing is, we are free from Covid,” he admits. “For someone with my responsibilities, it would be difficult if we were exposed to the virus. Then there would be no leadership to make decisions on the cattle.”
With such a dedicated attitude, it’s clear that Caraka’s care for cattle is in his blood.
For more information on the Partnership’s Skills Development Programs, visit https://redmeatcattlepartnership.org/project/3/capacity-building