Scaling-out herd management strategies in crop-livestock systems in Lombok, Indonesia
Extension Start Date
Extension Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
This project aims to raise the income of smallholder farmers in eastern Indonesia (Lombok) by increasing production of their Bali cattle to meet the growing demand for beef in Indonesia. Previous on-farm research has shown large profitability gains through the adoption of four simple and integrated herd management interventions: controlled seasonal natural mating; bull selection; weaning; and tactical supplementation of calves.
This project will focus on scaling-out the herd management model with communities who house their cattle collectively in kandangs, which aid the adoption of these interventions. Scale-out methodology will include extension-worker training and farmer-farmer demonstration. Information on factors affecting adoption rates will be used to inform broader scale-out programs by government agencies.
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)
The project is progressing well and is ahead of its proposed schedule. Activities in the first year focused on establishing teams and methodologies, selecting and working with communities in the study region, and creating opportunities for engagement with key farming and institutional stakeholders.
The project employed 12 On Ground Team (OGT) members and one Project Officer in November 07 after an intensive recruitment process in August and September. The team is an impressive group of recent graduates and recruits with experience in smallholder farming systems and comprises skills in socio-economics, animal management, forage monitoring and smallholder farming, and all have ability in Sasak language.
The OGT has received theoretical and practical training from Lombok and Australian specialists on an array of topics such as forage assessment, management and monitoring, nursery establishment and maintenance, animal nutrition and health, farming systems and modelling, data management, socio-economics and extension practices. Most OGT training is also attended by local agricultural extension staff from the project's study villages.
Two students also joined the project in 2008. One is undertaking a Masters degree in forage agronomy and diversity. The other is completing a PhD on the impacts of improving the availability of introduced and local forages on cattle productivity under smallholder conditions, covering aspects of forage composition and quality, preferential feeding and the impact of forage legumes on livestock performance and farmer adoption.
To ensure effective project coordination, a multi-level team structure was established. The Project Management Team is responsible for operations & coordination; the Project Specialist Team is responsible for technical expertise & training and the On Ground Team is responsible for implementation & extension. A start-up meeting attended by all teams was held in Lombok in November 07.
In addition, an Advisory Committee was established in November 07, comprising representatives from the local government, BPTP, University of Mataram, Dinas Peternakan, NGOs, CSIRO and the farming community. The Committee's role is to provide overall guidance and advice on the direction and relevance of the project.
Despite a late start to the project, 12 kandang communities were selected by January 08, in addition to two demonstration or 'training' kandangs. Criteria for selection included cattle population, ownership status and security of the kandang, willingness of the community to participate and scope for adopting improved technology, particularly in terms of labour and land. The OGT completed the compilation of socio-economic and cultural data from the kandang communities in February 08, after developing and trialling a benchmarking survey.
Ten new kandangs have now been selected for the second year of the project and a similar benchmarking process is underway.
The project team is using a three-step approach to adoption of livestock technologies, based on farmer perceptions of need and potential for improvement. Step one is improvement of existing kandang facilities and provision of a communal bull (thereby ensuring controlled mating). Community negotiation about renovations was facilitated by the OGT and other team members and renovations were completed by the community in May 08. Renovations commonly include construction of bull and calf pens and improved kandang drainage. Bulls will be purchased and introduced to the kandangs in early June08.
The second step is improving the forage resource and to this end, small demonstration nurseries have been established by OGT and farmers at each participating kandang to demonstrate new forages, management techniques and aspects of animal nutrition. The third step is the introduction of other breeding management strategies shown to be successful in previous ACIAR projects (eg early weaning and preferential feeding of calves).
Communication and engagement activities in year one include: hosting international visitors interested in the design and progress of the project; featuring in print media articles in key regional newspapers; producing the first edition of a project newsletter which was distributed to relevant institutions in Lombok, South Sulawesi and Australia; organising or facilitating participating farmer visits to demonstration sites, the university forage nursery and other participating kandangs; and engaging regularly with key regional stakeholders, including the Bupati of Central Lombok, Dinas Peternakan at regional and local levels, Bappeda in Central Lombok and heads of participating and interested villages in the study region.
Key activities in the second year of the project were community and institutional engagement and implementing improved infrastructure and breeding and feeding practices.
The final 12 kandangs have been selected for the project, bringing the total for the project to 36. Socio-economic and biophysical benchmarking has now been completed for all project kandangs.
As in year one, the key components of livestock improvement promoted by the project team were breeding management, improvement of existing kandang facilities and improving forage resources.
Breeding management activities focused on controlled mating through provision of a bull. All project bulls were purchased by farmers and On-Ground Team (OGTs) by mid-July and sold by end of December. In each kandang a bull keeper was appointed from the group to manage mating and feeding. Over 1000 cows were mated by project bulls between June and December - 58% from project kandangs (91% of the total number of mature females) and 42% from cows in neighbouring farms.
Infrastructure improvements were implemented by the farmer group after discussions facilitated by the OGTs. Most groups chose to construct a bull pen and improve kandang drainage. The small injection of project funds was a catalyst, and many groups have now contributed significantly more than the project both as in kind and financially and have continued with improvement activities.
Limited availability of land remains a challenge for establishing adequate forage resources, but there have been encouraging signs this year. Small plots have been established at each study kandang which are used to demonstrate new forages, management techniques and aspects of animal nutrition. Strategies for village-level forage development are being discussed. Requests for additional seedlings and cuttings are prioritised according to how much land individuals are prepared to devote to forage production.
Training for the OGTs is ongoing and has focussed on implementation of project activities, such as forage development, kandang sanitation, data collection, nutritional requirements and detection of oestrus. Farmer training from an expert in Bogor was facilitated on the use of manure as an organic fertiliser.
The two project students are progressing well. The Masters student (forage agronomy, diversity and organic practices) has completed lab analyses and is currently collating literature in preparation for writing his thesis. The PhD student (impacts of improving the availability of introduced and local forages on cattle productivity) began data collection in January 09, including botanical composition of offered feed, adoption of new forages and baseline information on pregnant cows and weaned calves to be supplemented with improved forages, particularly tree legumes.
Following a workshop in Sydney in December, a framework and sampling strategy has been finalised to investigate aspects of adoption of the project practices. Semi-structured interviews will be used to understand household decision-making processes for adoption and social network analysis will be used to examine which people and institutions are influential in information transfer and exchange. Training in these techniques began in May and data collection will begin in June.
The Advisory Committee continues to be an important mechanism for discussion of the direction and relevance of the project to regional initiatives and targets. The Committee met three times during the reporting period, with conversation focused in capacity building and replication of the project model to other groups and regions, future roles for OGTs, the importance of community participation and empowerment and the need for an exit strategy using the project success as a base for sustainability.
In December 08, NTB was declared by the provincial government to be 'the land of a million cattle' (LMC) and a provincial task force was established to plan for this vision. A significant indication of the project's influence is that the Project Leader and Project Coordinator were both invited to join the small task force and are active in strategic planning and budgeting.
Other examples of project influence include:
In 2009 Dinas NTB has budgeted to buy 113 bulls (for all districts) and Dinas Central Lombok is planning to buy 40 bulls with their own budget. This is part of the local government's effort to adopt project recommendations.
Training in site selection was provided by the project team to central Lombok Dinas and extension officers, who were selecting 40 kandangs at the same time as the project (April 09).
There are no project locations defined for this project.