This project aims to lift rural incomes in Indonesia and Australia through researching issues limiting the uptake of forage tree legumes feeding practices.
Provincial agencies in West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara have indicated that increasing sales of fattened cattle is one of the most important ways to improve the incomes of the rural poor. Their fattening systems are characterised by irregular, slow turn-off and poor carcass quality - largely the result of poor protein nutrition of cattle fattened under traditional smallholder feeding systems.
Using more forage tree legumes is one of the best prospects for providing high quality protein supplement to ruminants on poor quality diets, especially in the dry season. Two examples of Indonesian farmers enhancing the protein nutrition of ruminants by feeding leaf of forage tree legumes are the adoption of Sesbania grandiflora in West Nusa Tenggara and of Leucaena leucocephala in East Nusa Tenggara. In Australia, graziers in Queensland have planted more than 150,000 hectares of L. leucocephala pastures in a highly productive and profitable system producing ‘grass-fed’ beef of superior quality; the area planted is expected to expand to 300-500 thousand hectares over the next ten years.
Although thousands of farmers in Indonesia and Australia have used these forage tree legumes to raise productivity and turn-off, the feeding practices are limited to specific districts - even though farmers in neighbouring districts have similar biophysical conditions and nutritional problems in their cattle. Researchers are confident they can transfer these forage tree legume feeding practices to neighbouring districts, provided they can identify and tackle the problems for diverse groups of farmers through participatory adaptive research and resolve specific technical issues that might limit their use.
This project will study why adjacent regions of Indonesia and Australia have not adopted successful forage tree legume feeding practices; how to overcome technical constraints that might limit adoption; and whether a participatory ‘Pilot Roll-Out’ approach can improve adoption of forage tree legume feeding practices.
This project is expected to increase the value of increased cattle sales for Indonesian and Australian farmers.
Project Overview and Objectives (2011)
Provincial agencies in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) have indicated that one of the most important ways to improve the incomes of the rural poor is to increase sales of fattened cattle. But currently their fattening systems are characterised by irregular, slow turn-off and poor carcass quality - largely the result of poor protein nutrition of cattle fattened under traditional smallholder feeding systems.
One of the best prospects for providing high quality protein supplement to ruminants on poor quality diets, especially in the dry season, is to expand the use of forage tree legumes (FTLs). Two significant Indonesian examples of farmers enhancing the protein nutrition of ruminants by feeding leaf of FTLs are the adoption of Sesbania grandiflora in NTB and of Leucaena leucocephala in NTT. In Australia, graziers in Queensland have planted more than 150,000 hectares of L. leucocephala pastures in a highly productive and profitable system producing ‘grass-fed’ beef of superior quality, and the area planted is expected to expand to 30-500 thousand hectares over the next 10 years.
Although these FTLs have thus been successfully used by thousands of farmers in Indonesia and Australia to raise productivity and turn-off, the feeding practices remain limited to specific districts - even though farmers in neighbouring districts have similar biophysical conditions and nutritional problems in their cattle. Researchers are confident of transferring these forage tree legume feeding practices to neighbouring districts, provided they can identify and tackle the problems for diverse groups of farmers through participatory adaptive research and resolve specific technical issues that might limit their use.
This project plans to answe the following research questions: 1) Why have successful FTL feeding practices not been adopted in adjacent regions of Indonesia and Australia? 2) How can specific technical constraints that might limit adoption be overcome? 3) Can adoption of FTL feeding practices be improved by a participatory ‘Pilot Roll-Out’ approach through the implementation, in the 5 years of this project, of the following objectives to:
1. Identify the barriers to widespread application of FTL feeding practices in diverse cattle fattening systems in Eastern Indonesia
2. Resolve specific technical constraints that hamper adoption of the FTL feeding practices.
3. Determine the key factors and mechanisms required to achieve widespread adoption of FTL feeding practices in regions of Indonesia and Australia adjacent to those where successful adoption has already taken place and that have similar socio-economic and biophysical parameters.
Progress year 1 (2012)
The project has made excellent progress since formal commencement in April 2011. Objective 1 to identify barriers and opportunities for adoption of FTLs is well advanced with the following activities completed: (a) start-up workshop to prioritise research activities and to interview and recruit young Field Researchers (FR); (b) selection and profiling of target villages for introduction of FTL; and (c ) initial identification of barriers and opportunities to adoption of FTL.
Activities associated with Objective 2 to resolve specific technical constraints limiting adopting of FTL are underway. Good progress has been made on research into Leucaena toxicity. Surveys of toxicity status of ruminants in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia have been completed. Results show that many ruminants are on high Leucaena diets and they have high urinary DHP. However, there are also ‘pockets’ where ruminants on high Leucaena diets appear to be completely degrading DHP. The first feeding trial investigating the efficacy of inoculation of cattle with an inoculum produced in vitro has also been completed.
Research into the agronomy, biodiversity and management of Sesbania has commenced but is less advanced. Collection of varieties and some establishment studies are underway.
Work has started on Objective 3, to determine key factors for widespread adoption of FTL. Participatory workshops to develop an ‘Extension Strategy’ have been conducted in all regions with full stakeholder representation. The young Field Researchers (FR) have commenced work with farmers groups. There are 8 FRs, each managing three farmer groups (10-30 farmers) in different hamlets and regions of NTB and NTT. The first cross-visits between groups have occurred, farmer group work plans and training have commenced, and draft manuals have been prepared.
Some initial impacts are apparent, namely:
There is widespread interest in out Pilot-Roll-Out approach to achieving adoption of FTL. Various Indonesian agencies have requested assistance from our staff to improve the focus and outcomes of their own cattle enhancement programs especially in relation to better feeding systems.
Our work on Leucaena toxicity is attracting interest from many outside institutions in Australia and internationally. For instance, The Leucaena Network in Australia asks for regular updates, while agencies in Thailand and Mexico have asked to participate in our programs.
The concept of hiring young FRs to work within the project has enhanced our research capacity, and created career opportunities for the researchers themselves and opportunities for various agencies to employ good young staff.
Economic and social impacts are starting to accrue as farmers begin to implement better fattening strategies leading to improved financial returns from sales of fattened animals.
It is anticipated that environmental benefits will accrue from planting of FTLs in environments where other alternative use is not possible (e.g. very rocky or steep landscapes) thus enhancing sustainability due to benefits from conservation and sequestration of carbon and nitrogen.
Communication and dissemination activities include eight manuscripts (journal papers, conference papers and newsletter articles) that are either published or prepared for publication. Many meetings have been held with stakeholders publicising our work.
Communication among project members, particularly with the young FRs has been enhanced by the establishment of a Project Facebook site that only project members can access. This site has served to link Australian based staff with FRs in remote locations in NTB and NTT.
In the first year of the project, training in Indonesia has largely been directed at the young FRs who have received technical and social training for working with farmers groups. In Australia, a course on how to establish and manage Leucaena has been conducted at Roma with support of the Santos Company.
There has been a major change in Australian personnel at The University of Queensland. Dr Scott Dalzell has resigned and has been replaced by Mr Michael Halliday
Opportunities to link with other agencies interested in our work are boundless. However, at this stage we have limited linkages with non-project related organisations so that we can focus on establishing our own work to the best of our ability.
Progress Year 2 (2013)
Objective 1 is well advanced and many activities directed at this objective have been completed. Thirty four hamlets in six districts across the two provinces were selected for detailed study based on a set of criteria that included cattle and land ownership and management by farmers, current or potential use of FTLs, and suitability / accessibility of the villages for follow-up activities. Study sites included locations where FTL were being intensively used and where FTL use was limited. Transect walks with participatory mapping, observations, formal and informal interviews led to an initial assessment of barriers and opportunities to the adoption of FTL and informed the design of an extension strategy.
Activities associated with Objective 2 (is also well advanced. Good progress has been made on research into the effects of subclinical toxicity of Leucaena for ruminant feeding in Indonesia and Australia. Subclinical toxicity is more widespread than originally thought, but often displays local variability within a country, region and even village. The mechanism and impact of subclinical toxicity appears different to that originally described. Progress has been made on understanding occurrence, diagnosis, impact, and treatment. Much of this work has been, or is about to be published. Mr Michael Halliday to present a keynote paper on the topic of Leucaena toxicity to the International Grassland Congress in September in Sydney. Other research work completed and published, or submitted for publication, includes results of survey and monitoring programs covering topics such as growth of Bali bulls fed Sesbania and Leucaena; incidence of worms in Bali bulls; barriers and opportunities to adoption; establishment of Leucaena in villages; and seed production of Tarramba leucaena. A highlight is the finding that very high live weight gains are being achieved by farmers feeding FLT to Bali bulls, while also practising good management, housing, and hygiene of the cattle.
Under Objective 3 we are attempting to demonstrate that adoption of FTLs is achievable by village groups not currently using them. Our extension strategy is based on establishing demonstration sites and then to influence farmer perceptions by:
Regular meetings, exchange visits, informational media, and practice-based training.
Ensuring access to agricultural inputs, such as high quality FTL seed, advisory and credit services. Regulations are being addressed at some locations to support collective action.
Continuing follow-up assessment is occurring to increase our knowledge of barriers and opportunities, and to improve farmers’ perceptions and practices.
Demonstration sites. A very important aspect of our extension strategy is to have high quality demonstration sites plus an in-depth practical understanding of best practice to be incorporated into our extension messages. A major highlight has been the identification of villages where there has been successful long-term use for cattle fattening of Sesbania (Nyerot in Central Lombok) and of Leucaena (Jati Sari in western Sumbawa). We now have extensive information on performance of bulls being fattened with FTL by the best farmers. Based on this information, an appropriate goal for fattening can now be defined as achievement of 15-20 kg live weight gain/month, and a final sale live weight of 300 kg. These sites will provide us with excellent demonstration and bench-mark opportunities against which other groups can be compared, and educated. Adoption of the feeding and management practices used in these villages, modified for local conditions, will be our goal for other farmer groups at other sites. One shortcoming of our monitoring effort to date is that we do not have good information on the actual feeding practices of farmers as they tended to change their feeding regime on the days that they were being monitored. We are planning an upgraded methodology to solve this problem. We are now confident that there is scope through farmer meetings, training, and appropriate extension strategies to lift the productivity of the worst performing farmers towards that achieved by the best performing farmers.
Are we achieving adoption? The level of success of our extension strategies in villages where FTL are not being fed has been variable. There are many sites where good early adoption success is apparent; for instance, adoption of Sesbania has occurred at sites in North Lombok (both planting and feeding), and good plantings of Tarramba have occurred at sites in Timor (Oebola, Kuanheun) and Sumba (Kambatatana and Laindeha). However, at other sites in Sumbawa, Lombok, Timor and Sumba, only small numbers of farmers have shown interest in joining our program and trialing our recommended innovations. Additional barriers and issues are being identified and are discussed in the main body of the Annual Report. In some cases, greater success has been achieved in non-existing FTL areas by partnering with smaller groups.
Young Field Researchers (FRs).
We have relied heavily on the performance of our FRs to establish the demonstration sites and to show that adoption is possible. The FRs are being mentored by our senior staff. In some endeavors, all of the FRs have been very successful, especially in forming and uniting groups of farmers in a village or hamlet to participate in the project. The farmers have appreciated the advice that they have been getting about the importance of feeding legumes to improve diet quality. There is no doubt that the capacity of the FRs to work with collaborating farmers on management and feeding of FTL is improving, with some FRs more successful than others. However there are some emerging problems as well, namely:
Some of the FRs are not able to collate and analyze data from village monitoring systems. Although we have instituted uniform recording templates, we have found that entering and evaluating the data, and checking for possible errors, may be beyond the capability of some. These data are crucial to our monitoring and bench-marking activities.
There have been problems in communication which are being resolved in regular meetings with their mentors. We are working to redefine the roles of some FRs so that we can capitalize on the strengths of each individual.
Seed distribution and production. Seed production of cv. Tarramba continues to be very successful. Tarramba was first introduced in the ACIAR Project (AS2/2000/157) in 2001 and has quickly become the preferred variety due to its vigor, palatability, and better tolerance of the major insect pest the leucaena psyllid. Of the 1000kg of the variety imported from Australia in year 1 for distribution to project sites in NTT and NTB, only a small amount remains to be distributed. Both Dinas Peternakan and BPTP have established small Tarramba seed orchards so that on-going demand can be met from local supply. It is apparent that it is also possible to purchase seed from farmers involved in Phase 1 plantings as trees are flowering and setting seed that is being collected and sold.
Our Indonesian Project Leaders continue to maintain strong linkages and meetings with various Government, NGO and private stakeholders.
Although we have completed only the second year of a 5 year project, several impacts are already apparent.
There has been good scientific impact best illustrated by the significant number of published or submitted scientific journal and conference papers (19) in the first 2 years of the project. We have targeted the International Grassland Congress (IGC) to be held in Sydney in September 2013, as a suitable venue to showcase our work. Accordingly, we have submitted 12 poster papers.
The capacity of the FRs has been improved through experience. This includes (a) conducting situational analysis to identify barriers and opportunities to adopting FTL feeding by farmers; (b) implementation of an extension strategy (development model) in conjunction with various participating institutes in NTT such as Dinas Peternakan Kabupaten and extension board of East Sumba Distict; (c) conducting pen feeding experiments; (d) various seed treatments such as pre-germination of seeds, pre-planting in polybags, nursery plant care, transplanting and direct seeding of FTL; (e) growing FTL plants under different soil types and weed management and shade conditions; and (f) establishment of Tarramba seed orchards.
There have been many examples of community impacts including: (a) Regular weighing of cattle has improved the knowledge and confidence of farmers to increase the quality of the diets for fattening cattle; (b) improved motivation and awareness of farmers groups to change from extensive or free-grazing cattle to semi-intensive and intensive cattle management. Economic impacts are accruing from improved fattening practices leading to improved product quality and price outcomes. FTL plantings around the kandang has reduced cut and carry labour costs. Some farmers in NTT are incorporating Tarramba planting with their maize plantings to obtain an initial source of money to purchase cattle, while the Tarramba establishes. Other farmers are selling Tarramba seed at 50 - 75,000 Rp per kg. Dinas have started to distribute cattle to the group of farmers, based on the greater availability of forage from their Tarramba plantings. Environmental impacts include better microclimate from increased number of FTL trees. These also have provided improved soil cover during the dry season. There are also claims that improved water infiltration has resulted from the leucaena plantings.
Continued training of Field Researchers and farmers is a very high priority covering topics such as nutrition and management of FLT and cattle fattening. Carefully prepared training cours e materials are needed, with skilled presenters initially designing the content and delivery of the courses. In Australia, two short courses (Leucaena for profit and Sustainability) were given to graziers and Santos staff at Roma (30-31 October) and at Wallumbilla (1-2 November, 2012) by the University of Queensland. The objective of the courses was to inform graziers of the key issues in establishing and managing Leucaena for profit and sustainability.
Progress Year 3 (2014)
Objective 1 is well advanced Many activities directed at this objective have been completed. New activities include (d) establishment of a Facebook site for communication; and (e) completion of a situation analysis leading to a preliminary assessment of barriers and opportunities for fattening with FTL. An updated list of barriers and opportunities will be completed in 2014. Other activities listed under Objective 1 were:- (a) identification and engagement of next users (commenced); and (b) characterisation and quantification of key aspects of livelihood and cattle systems at 4 case study sites (well advanced).
Objective 2 activities are also well advanced with much of the work is already communicated via 33 publications.
Very good progress has been made on research into subclinical Leucaena toxicity for ruminant feeding in Indonesia and Australia. Interestingly, our research is stimulating a rethink of the significance, occurrence and the nature of Leucaena toxicity.
The mechanism and impact of subclinical toxicity appear to be different to that originally described. We now believe that the Leucaena bug (Synergistes jonesii) is widespread among ruminants; and we have demonstrated that cattle on very high Leucaena diets (up to 100%) in Indonesia have an ability to neutralise the toxic effects of DHP by conjugation with other compounds, possibly sugars.
Much of this work has been, or is about to be published (Appendix 1). A ; was the invitation to Michael Halliday to presented a keynote paper on the topic of Leucaena toxicity to the International Grassland Congress in September 2013 in Sydney.
Sesbania and leucaena agronomy and fattening practices.
Monitoring and describing existing fattening practices of the best (and worst) performing farmers is an extremely important aspect of our program. We wish to document best practices for incorporation into our training programs.
We have now completed and published the results of our survey and monitoring programs covering the growth of Bali bulls fed sesbania and leucaena (Appendix 1). For instance, at Jatisari, where farmers fatten with leucaena, the best farmers were averaging 0.82 kg/day for their herd over 12 months. Similar high levels of production were being achieved with sesbania at Nyerot in Central Lombok, where the best farmers were achieving 0.78 kg/day.
An appropriate fattening goal for fattening can now be defined as the achievement of 15-20 kg/month, and a final sale live weight of 300 kg.
A new protocol was developed for measurement of leucaena yields on-farm that will provide information on forage yields and stocking rates.
The incidence of worms in Bali bulls fed FTL was studied and results demonstrated that Leucaena (higher tannin content) was more effective in controlling internal parasites than Sesbania. However, results were confounded with location; Sesbania is grown and fed in a wet paddy rice environment.
Establishment and seed production of leucaena.
Establishment of Leucaena in villages for the purpose of providing forage for fattening cattle was most successful when transplanted into the field from nursery grown seedlings in polythene bags
Trials to address the current shortage of Tarramba seed in eastern Indonesia showed that farm based seed production was the best approach. A cooperative agreement was signed with the Head of Extension Office in Subdistrict Kuanheun, West Kupang District, Timor involving the registration of local farmers to produce Tarramba seed for sale to BPTP (see Appendix 6). Farmer training on orchard and seed quality management is being provided.
The growth characteristics of Sesbania in a village environment have been measured and described in a paper to be presented at the herbivore Symposium in September 2014 (accepted for Animal Production Science. See Appendix 1).
We have also commenced a Sesbania variety trial to compare the growth and nutritional characteristics of 30 lines collected from around Indonesia. The comparative trial is being conducted at the University of Mataram research station.
Work on Objective 3 is well advanced (Determine key factors for widespread adoption of FTL).
Highlights from 2011-14) are:
Completion of participatory workshops to design our extension strategy;
Establishment of strong links with various project stakeholders (Provincial and District Departments of Livestock and Extension);
Provision of training to our team of young field researchers (FRs).
Establishment of high quality demonstration sites and commencement of cross visits at some project sites.
More than 250k FTL seedlings have been planted as part of project related activities.
Identification of villages where successful long-term use of FTL feeding had been practiced.
Commencement of monitoring of farmers’ planting and feeding practices and weighing of cattle. Collection and analysis of data to achieve an in-depth practical understanding of the innovation messages to be incorporated into our extension strategy.
Through farmer meetings, demonstrations of good practice and training, our FRs have been able to (a) introduce cattle fattening with FTL to new village sites, and (b) lift the productivity of the worst performing farmers in existing village.
The level of success of our monitoring and extension activities has been variable. Encouraging adoption of Sesbania has occurred in North Lombok, and good plantings of Tarramba have occurred at sites in Sumbawa and Timor and Sumba (see Appendix 4). Conversely, poor adoption of FTL feeding for cattle fattening was achieved at some Timor, Sumba and Sumbawa sites.
These and other sites provide us with excellent demonstration and bench-mark opportunities against which other groups can be compared, and educated. The list of our key demonstration sites is provided in the main report.
In general, training and mentoring of our team of young field researchers (FRs) has been successful. They have supported the groups of farmers and villages selected to participate in the project. The farmers have appreciated their advice about the importance of feeding legumes to improve diet quality, and they have appreciated the monthly weighing of their bulls. This gave them greater knowledge and confidence when negotiating with traders.
While most of the FRs have developed excellent capacity to work with farmers, their achievements have been varied. Some have done exceedingly well while others still do not have sufficient technical understanding of the agronomy and management of FTL, or of the nutrition and management of bulls being fattened. Some have struggled to manage data collection and data entry and analysis. We have now accepted the resignations of three FRs in NTT who have been replaced. Mentoring reports from our project leaders are submitted separately.
The objective of the final 2 years of the project is to revise and consolidate our extension and communication strategies, and then to embed them in mainstream Indonesian Government agencies.
We are in the process of establishing agreements to collaborate (MOUs) with key agencies, and to commence a training program for their extension workers. Formal meetings with several agencies (Livestock and Extension) were arranged in May 2014. It will then be their responsibility, with assistance from our staff, for working with and training of farmers. We aim to reach more than 250 farmers in each Province at various locations.
The agreements will require our senior staff to conduct training courses for their extension staff, with the Government agencies providing funds for the operational costs of their extension personnel.
A detailed program for the training of Government agency staff has been prepared (Appendix 9). A series of 1-2 day training activities will commence in July 2014 and be completed in May 2015. Our plans for the development of media materials and presentations are given in Appendix 11.
Economic impacts will be described in detail following an economic analysis of FTL-based cattle fattening systems in NTB and NTT to verify the economic feasibility of practice change and incentives for adoption. This will be undertaken by Dr Scott Waldron via an SRA.
In the meantime, there are clear economic benefits accruing to farmers in a number of ways, namely:
Improved fattening practices resulting in better condition of cattle and above average prices received by farmers.
Increased FTL plantings resulting in increased feed supply around the kandang and reduced labour time and costs for cut and carry feeding.
Motivated farmers are incorporating Tarramba planting with their maize plantings providing additional source of money (from the sale of maize) to purchase cattle. This is reducing dependence on other parties with different share schemes.
Some farmers have the opportunity to sell Tarramba seed at the good price of 50 - 75,000 Rps per kg.
Developing Leucaena in non-existing areas has attracted the attention of the Livestock Department who have started to distribute cattle to farmers, based on the increased availability of forage.
Positive social impacts are occurring due to the increased cash flow to small-holder families involved in cattle fattening; this will have a positive influence on family education, health, transport and communication outcomes.
Environmental impacts will accrue due to:
Increased availability of forage during drought or extended dry periods.
Ecosystem benefits due to resting of overgrazed communal pastures thus reducing habitat destruction.
Catchment level benefits due to their ability of FTL to maintain hydrological balance.
Global benefits due to sequestration of C and reduced methane emissions.
It is our intention to take the best psyllid resistant breeding lines, arising from a 10 year breeding Leucaena program at UQ supported by MLA, for testing in Indonesia. Permission has been sought informally (and was granted) but we will not be able to make this transfer until the new variety is available to Australian graziers.
Progress year 4 (2015)
The general aim of the project is to lift rural income by increasing the rate of turn-off from cattle fattening enterprises through increased use of high quality forage tree legumes (FTL) in cattle diets in Indonesia and Australia. This objective is being achieved with many more farmers and trainers willing to be involved than anticipated. A key driver of this outcome is the very high farm-gate price of cattle in Indonesia, about double the price obtained by Australian graziers.
Our hypothesis is that successful existing use of forage tree legume feeding practices can be transferred to neighbouring districts provided the implications for diverse groups of farmers are identified and effectively tackled. This has not only proven to be correct, but has also led to spontaneous adoption in many surrounding project sites, creating real momentum with this innovation.
Some of the outstanding examples of this are included in an illustrated photo album and the case study collection of noteworthy examples
Objective 1 is to: Identify the barriers to widespread application of FTL feeding practices in diverse cattle fattening systems in Eastern Indonesia. In the first year we selected villages and farmer groups and completed a situation analysis leading to a preliminary assessment of barriers and opportunities for fattening with FTL. We continued to monitor barriers and opportunities and updated our analysis in a publication in 2014. A more comprehensive update is provided in this report. This list of barriers and associated opportunities/s is one of the major outputs from our project and is of great importance to future projects continuing this work in eastern Indonesia.
Objective 2 is to: Resolve specific technical constraints that hamper adoption of the FTL feeding practices.
The impact of subclinical Leucaena toxicity continues to be an important issue to be resolved, with the latest findings supporting a new perspective on the topic. Very good progress has been made on research into the significance of subclinical Leucaena toxicity for ruminant feeding in Indonesia and Australia. The mechanism and impact of subclinical toxicity appear to be different to that originally described. We now believe that the Leucaena bug (Synergistes jonesii) is widespread among ruminants but occurs at low population densities and is often found as variants of the originally described type strain, which might influence efficacy; and we have recently demonstrated that cattle on very high Leucaena diets (up to 100%) have an ability to neutralise the toxic effects of DHP by conjugation with other compounds, such as sugars or sugar derivatives.
Our research findings support a rethink of the significance, occurrence and the nature of Leucaena toxicity. We now believe that detoxification by conjugation may be more significant than degradation by the Leucaena bug.
We have also commenced a Sesbania variety trial to compare the growth and nutritionalcharacteristics of seed collected from around Indonesia. The comparative trial is being conducted at the University of Mataram research station. Data are being collected and analysed on the 24 accessions of Sesbania including height of plants, diameter of stems, number of branches, age at first flowering, age at ripe pod stage, and total biomass and protein production.
Monitoring and describing existing fattening practices of the best (and worst) performing farmers was an extremely important aspect of our program. This information will be incorporated into our recommendations for best practice. We have now completed and published the results of our survey and monitoring programs covering the growth of Bali bulls fed Sesbania and Leucaena. At Jatisari, where farmers fatten with up to 100% leucaena, the best farmers were averaging 0.82 kg/day for their herd over 12 months. Similar high levels of production were being achieved with sesbania at Nyerot in Central Lombok, where the best farmers were achieving 0.78 kg/day. An analysis was completed of the behaviours of the high achieving and low achieving bull fatteners.
Gastro-intestinal parasite loads
A research program to understand and control the incidence of gastro-intestinal parasites in Bali bulls fed FTL was conducted by BPTP in NTB. Results demonstrated that leucaena (higher tannin content) was more effective in controlling internal parasites than sesbania. However, results were confounded with location; sesbania is grown and fed in a wet paddy rice environment while leucaena is grown on uplands with reduced chance of reinfection.
Tarramba leucaena seed production
Our project is promoting the use of cultivar Tarramba as the best variety for areas suitable for leucaena. Tarramba was first introduced to Indonesia in the ACIAR project AS2/2000/157 in 2002 and is widely accepted due to its improved tolerance against the leucaena insect pest, the psyllid. Its tree-like growth habit is better suited for village plantings and it is also more palatable and productive than the local leucaena. To date just less than 1000 kg of Tarramba seed has been produced in NTT by various agencies. In addition to the seed independently sold by many farmers, we have established a cooperative agreement the Head of Extension Office in Subdistrict Kuanheun, in West Kupang District, Timor involving the registration of local farmers to produce Tarramba seed for sale to BPTP. This action will ensure sustainability of supply of high quality seed.
Objective 3 was to: Determine the key factors and mechanisms required to achieve widespread adoption of FTL feeding practices in regions of Indonesia and Australia adjacent to those where successful adoption has already taken place and that have similar socio-economic and biophysical parameters.
To achieve this objective, the project team undertook a Pilot Roll-Out approach in two phases: Phase 1 consisted of a community-based needs and opportunity assessment, and pilot implementation of an extension strategy on a small scale (10-20 farmers at each provincial site). Phase 2 involved consolidation of the extension strategy on a medium scale (250 farmers per province), and capacity building.
We recruited and trained 9 young graduate Field Researchers (FRs), who under guidance, provided advice to farmers about the importance of feeding legumes to improve diet quality, and on the establishment and management of FTL. They also conducted monthly weighing of bulls. Most of the FRs did exceedingly well and grasped a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects of agronomy and management of FTL, and of the nutrition and management of bulls being fattened. These FRs becam confident in their knowledge and were greatly respected by farmer groups.
Key Components of Pilot Roll-Out Extension Strategy were to:
1. Establish clear goals for Phase 2
2. Select and make formal / informal agreements with Government agencies
3. Use established demonstration sites for training and cross-visits
4. Prepare training materials (presentations, videos, poster, technical manuals, etc.)
5. Conduct training of trainers e.g. Government Extension Staff, and farmer leaders
6. Follow-up assistance by Field Researchers through engagement with trainers and farmer groups
To summarise, in years 1-3, we worked with 550 farmers who planted >250,000 forge tree legumes, and fattened >1800 bulls. In years 4-5, we are on track to work with >1000 farmers, who will plant >400,000 FTL trees to fatten bulls. We will have trained >60 Government extension staff, >80 farmer leaders, and distributed >2000 kg of Tarramba leucaena seed.
Objective 4 was to: Conduct an analysis of impact and the barriers and drivers of
adoption, verify economic models, and develop appropriate indicators for updating
In a variation to the project in 2013, this objective was added requiring a case study approach to improve analysis of impact, barriers / drivers of adoption, and verification of economic models. The goal is to provide advice to next users on the barriers and drivers of adoption, especially to the new large ACIAR-funded project in Indonesia LPS/2013/004 “IndoBeef”.
Dr Scott Waldron of UQ has commenced a linked SRA with the objectives to
a. conduct an economic analysis of FTL-based cattle fattening systems,
b. conduct a value chain analysis of FTL-based cattle fattening systems and
c. develop farm budgets and training materials to facilitate uptake and extension of FTL-based cattle fattening systems.
Assoc. Prof. Elske van de Fliert Of UQ has also began a new linked SRA support project with the objectives to:
d. Analyse the effectiveness of the scale out processes leading towards farmer uptake of FTL feeding systems
e. Analyse the effectiveness of the communications strategy and media that were tested to support the scale out processes
f. Make recommendations based on 1 and 2 above for future scale out of FTL systems in eastern Indonesia
g. Improve capacity among FTL Project partners to design, implement and monitor scale out of FTL feeding systems among smallholder cattle fattening farmers in Lombok, Sumbawa and West Timor
The outputs will be enhanced capacity in design and implementation of uptake mechanisms, communication and facilitation skills, and awareness raising and extension materials/media.
Conclusions and Impacts from the Project (2016)
Nutrition is principal limitation to cattle productivity. It is possible to double/triple smallholder cattle productivity in Indonesia by improving nutrition with Forage Tree Legumes such as Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena) and Sesbania grandiflora (sesbania)
Large areas of land is suitable for leucaena fattening in eastern Indonesia, less so for sesbania
Our project well advanced with research into agronomy, nutrition, adoption and use of FTL
By the end of the project in March 2016, the project will have
worked with >1000 farmers, who have planted >400,000 Fodder Tree Legume trees to fatten cattle
trained >60 Government extension staff and >80 farmer leaders
distributed >2000 kg of improved leucaena seed grown and sold by smallholders in Indonesia
The project has demonstrated that growing and feeding leucaena can half the amount of labour needed to look after cattle and double live weight gains. These impressive benefits are driving adoption.
There is an opportunity to extend the use of this system to many thousands of smallholders in eastern Indonesia.