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Over 90 percent of coconuts are grown by smallholders and forage cultivation and cattle raising under coconuts is becoming widely accepted as one of the methods by which the smallholder farmer can increase his income and food supply. Various crop residues, weeds, tree leaves, cut-and-carry forages from on and off farm are utilized. In addition various livestock (model) feeding systems based on banana leaves and stems, sugar cane, Napier grass, Leucaena, Gliricidia, rice straw, copra cake and rice bran as well as various conventional grasses and legumes have already given promising results in a number of countries. Examples are given for Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania (Zanzibar). Some of the factors which may influence adoption of new systems at farmer level are reviewed. Only time will determine which will be more widely adopted.

9.1 Introduction

The small farm is a major feature of land tenure systems in the developing world (Anon., 1986). According to Williams (1976) the smallholder cultivator and his family make up two-thirds or more of the world population, but the great majority of small farmers have small land holdings which proportionately represent only a limited percentage of the total land area (see Table 211). The amount of land which qualifies a farmer to be classified as a smallholder appears to vary from < 1 ha to approximately 5 ha. In South-East Asia the average size of small farms is about 1–2 ha. (Devendra, 1993); Beets (1982) suggests that three quarters of all farms in South-East Asia are less then 2 ha in size.

Table 211 - Proportion and size of holdings by region

RegionSmall holdings as % of all holdingsSmall holdings as % of total areaAverage size of holdings (ha)
Far East71.121.70.7
Latin America67.24.62.7
Near East54.69.81.8

Source: Bavappa and Jacob (1982) from World Census of Agriculture, 1970.

The typical smallholder operation is subsistence oriented, low in investment, risk and production with a low return. The emphasis is on low risk, accomplished by spreading investment of land and labour over several food crops. Small ruminants and cattle may be kept using either tethering (see Figure 209) or cut-and-carry (see Figure 210) feeding techniques for converting crops residues, weeds and grazing on non-arable land areas into animal products for family use and limited cash income. Cattle and buffalo may be kept as working animals as the size of area that the smallholder can cultivate is closely related to the number and type of animals he keeps (see Table 212). In the humid tropics of Asia, land use is strongly oriented towards rice cultivation with little area for cultivation of fodders. Therefore the animals' poor quality diet is usually dominated by rice straw and other materials according to seasonal availability. Moog (1980) has illustrated the varied seasonal diet of cattle in a backyard system in a mixed farming rice/corn area in Batangas, Philippines.

According to Camoens et al. (1985) over 60% of food production in Asia is provided by small farmers who keep livestock in mixed crop/livestock farming systems. In these farms the relationship between crops and livestock is complementary, whereby livestock provide farm power, transport and manure, while by-products from crops and weeds from croplands are converted by livestock into meat and milk (Moog, 1986). Feeding of animals in these mixed crop/livestock farming systems revolves around forages which include crop residues, weeds, tree leaves, and planted fodder crops.

A survey in N. Sumatra (Harimurti Martojo, 1978) showed that most of the farmers (77 percent) kept their cattle constantly penned, about 22 percent kept their cattle penned at nights only and about 1 percent let their cattle loose most of the time. Sources of forage varied from plantations to natural pasture on common grazing grounds, river banks, backyards and surrounding rice fields after harvest time.

Figure 209

Figure 209. - A tethered animal grazing local species in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka
(photo S. Chaudhri).

Figure 210

Figure 210. - Tethered dairy animals feeding on cut Guinea grass in a smallholders unit, Matale District, Sri Lanka (photo S. Chaudhri).

Table 212. - Bangladesh - Mean cultivated area by type of draught animal (Gill, 1981)

Type of animal% of farmsMean cultivated area (ha)
Bullocks and cows91.79
Cows only171.32

9.2 The coconut smallholder

Although coconut is often thought of as a large scale plantation crop, most of the world's production comes from small farms (Pordesimo and Noble, 1990), with McDowell and Hildebrand (1980) estimating that 90% of coconuts are grown by smallholders and Persley (1992) indicating that 96% of production comes from smallholdings of 0.2–4 ha. In the Philippines 91% of coconut growers are smallholders (< 5 ha) according to Eleazar (1981) and Aguilar and Benard (1991), with the average area for a farm estimated to be 2.68 ha (Cornelius, 1973). Few of these holdings were regularly fertilized or manured and coconuts were usually collected at 60 day intervals. In Indonesia the figure is 97% (Darwis, 1988) and in India 98% of the 5 million coconut holdings have a size of < 2 ha (Punchihewa, 1990), with the average coconut holding < 0.41 ha and in southern India only 0.2 ha (Persley, 1992). In Malaysia 93% of the coconut area is farmed by smallholders (Yusof and Rejab, 1988) with an average land holding of approximately 2.0 ha (and a range from 1.1 ha in Kelantan to 4.7 ha in Selangor). In Sri Lanka smallholdings account for over 90% of the total area under coconuts (Anon, 1983) and according to Liyanage et al. (1989) 87% of the holdings were < 2.02 ha with 58% < 0.8 ha in size. However, in the main growing area of the coconut triangle 35% of estates were > 8 ha in size (Liyanage and Dassanayake, 1988). In Thailand > 80% of farms were < 2.4 ha in size (Rungrueng, 1988); in Western Samoa > 80% of coconut production is based on smallholdings (Opio, 1989) while in Papua New Guinea the plantation sector is bigger and the smallholder percentage drops to 62% (Ovasuru, 1988). In Zanzibar, Tanzania, the average land holding on soils covered with tree crops is approximately 2.0 ha (Reynolds and Lund, FAO, 1983b).

9.3 Economics of the smallholder coconut operation

Because of the limited size of most smallholdings, the small number of coconut trees ha-1, the limited labour requirements of the coconut crop and the limited returns provided, most families cannot survive on the income from the coconut crop. Liyanage and Martin (1987) and Aguilar and Benard (1991) suggest that the problem of low income in the smallholder coconut production sector can be attributed to several interacting factors, some of which are within his control and some beyond: declining and unstable prices of coconut products; declining productivity of coconut trees due to senility and/or non-adoption of recommended coconut management practices; underutilization of coconut farms due to tenure problems; absence of or ineffective support services or credit and their combinations.

In Western Samoa coconut, based on returns per man day, failed to meet the cash return needs of the extended family (Burgess, 1981). The only alternatives were to practice intercropping and to ensure that the majority of family labour had off-farm employment. For a family intercropping a 3 ha coconut holding with cocoa, pineapple, vegetables etc, total net revenue was maximized by leaving all secondary labour in wage employment, and only at 8 ha (0.47 ha capita-1) could all available labour be absorbed in on-farm tasks and provide the income needed.

In Malaysia it was noted that in common with many coconut growing countries, coconut smallholders are plagued by poverty (Bin Mohd Kamil and Bin Ahmad, 1978). In 1975 out of a total of 34,400 smallholdings, 17,500 or 51 percent fell below the poverty line. Details of on-farm and off-farm income are shown in Table 213 while the proportion of on-farm income from coconuts (in three localities) is shown in Table 214. The survey revealed that a farm household spent only 64 man days ha-1 on coconut and more than 290 man days ha-1 on cocoa plus coconut. With the prevailing average of 5.8 persons per farm household and an effective labour resource of 1200 man days annually, the labour resource was under-utilized.

It was recommended that a gradual replacement of existing trees with new high yielding coconuts be undertaken at planting densities that would allow various intercropping systems to be established.

The usual role of livestock in the coconut system can be illustrated from Sri Lanka. The majority of land holdings in the coconut triangle are smallholdings. Traditionally a few heads of indigenous cattle and buffalo are reared for the purposes of draft, manure production and for controlling weeds. Shallow trenches are cut around each palm. These are filled up with animal excreta and then closed up. Forage quality is generally poor and very little supplementary feeding is done. Feeding of paddy straw is practised by about 50– 80 percent of the farmers. Pigs and poultry are kept and fed with copra waste, scraps, etc. (Jayawardana, 1988). Smallholder management of coconut and livestock is on a low input basis resulting in low productivity.

Mahendranathan (1976) indicated that keeping one crossbred dairy type of animal for milking and disposal of the female calves either as replacement or the male calf for beef would give a gross income of about US$ 100 month-1, compared with only about US$ 10 month-1 from beef. It was also shown that total gross income ha-1 from coconuts intercropped with cocoa was US$ 3180, with coconuts providing US$ 480 and cocoa US$ 2700, demonstrating the importance of intercropping (Anon., 1978b).

Table 213. - Farm/off-farm income ha-1 (Bin Mohd. Kamil and Bin Ahmad, 1978)

LocalityAv. farm size (ha)Total gross Income
Farm incomeIncome from off-farm
Hutan Melintang1.22,573844331,72967
Bagan Datoh1.62,5231,9107661824
Teluk Baru1.12,9301,748601,18240

A survey in the Philippines in the QBL area and the three provinces of Quezon, Batangas and Laguna (Anon., 1982a) provided information about average size of holding, man days of work required year-1 and income (see Table 215). It was estimated that the average number of man days spent largely on coconut harvesting activities was between 30 and 40 (with 6 to 8 harvesting cycles of about 5 to 6 days each). The highest number of man days was about 80. Assuming a maximum of 80 out of about 300 working days year-1, then the coconut farmer was shown to be productively employed on coconuts for only about 27 percent of the available time, leaving over 200 man days or 73 percent of his time for off farm employment or other activities like intercropping, livestock raising etc. to bring him added income and reduce his dependence on copra. Comparing income from copra per man day worked, with the average industrial wage of 29.85 day-1 for Metro Manila or even the average agricultural wage of from 18.67–23.70 day-1 suggests that the copra producer is well paid. However, on a yearly basis his income would be < 10 day-1 if copra was his only source of income.

Table 214. - Gross farm income ha-1 by locality and crop (Bin Mohd. Kamil and Bin Ahmad, 1978)

Hutan MelintangBagan DatohTeluk Baru

A similar study undertaken in 1979 and reported by Ontolan (1988) noted that the average coconut farm is < 5 ha. As 1 ha requires only 50 man days year-1 (including copra making) and studies of 2,257 coconut farms nationwide revealed that the average farm household size consists of six members then the implication is that there is ample labour for other activities, such as intensive intercropping.

Table 215. - Mean income from coconuts, QBL, Quezon, Batangas and Laguna Philippines

Area size of holding
man days of work Income year-1 Income ha-1 yr-1Income man day-1 worked
Income per working day (300)

Source: Anon. (1982a)

Data in Table 216 show that the income from coconuts in fact represents only part of the total income of the smallholders and, except for Quezon province, is usually <50 percent. The rest comes from regular off-farm employment, seasonal labouring, rice farming, livestock and poultry raising, seasonal cropping, orchards, vegetable raising and general intercropping. According to Villegas (1991) income from coconut monocropping averages only 2000 ha-1 yr-1 (and according to Calub, 1989, just over 2000), which is considerably lower than the poverty threshold level and therefore each household maintains livestock, fruit trees, vegetables and other crops in patches around the house for home consumption and cash income.

Table 216. - Dependency on coconut income

AreaProportion of coconut income to total income (%)

Source: Anon. (1982a)

As part of an expert consultation on the development of integrated and mixed farming systems, a number of case studies were reported from Sri Lanka (FAO, 1983c). On a 1.6 ha crop-coconut-livestock farm in the wet zone near Kandy with vegetables cultivated on 0.05 ha, pasture and fodder on 0.6 ha and the rest cultivated with permanent and semi-permanent crops and intercultured with pasture, a large percentage of the farmer's income was derived from milk and cattle sales (see Table 217).

On a 1.09 ha paddy-coconut-livestock farm in the Puttalam district, paddy, vegetables, banana, coconut, poultry and cattle were the main enterprises. Of these, poultry and paddy represented to the farmer his main sources of income with coconut ranking fifth and contributing only 3.0 percent to the total income (see Table 218).

Table 217. - Annual income from a small crop-coconut-livestock farm in Kandy District, Sri Lanka

EnterpriseTotal variable cost
Total Return
Annual Farm Income
Tree crops9004,2503,350

Source: FAO (1983c).

It is clear that the coconut smallholder must have other sources of food and income beyond that obtained from his coconuts. In many areas he has already found ways of providing these; in other areas there is considerable scope for new intercrops and the integration of crops and livestock beneath the coconut canopy. In several places research is in progress to identify integrated crop-livestock systems or coconut-based farming systems (some of which would require the farmer to thin his often dense coconut stands) to maximize productivity and subsequent returns to the smallholder. Some of these systems may be of interest outside the actual work area.

Table 218. - Annual income from a small paddy-coconut-livestock farm in Puttalam District, Sri Lanka

EnterpriseTotal variable cost
Total Return
Annual Farm Income

Source: FAO (1983c).

9.4 Selection of suitable systems for the smallholder

Plant growth and performance are subject to environmental and management conditions (Beets, 1982). Therefore in selecting and designing any particular smallholder system the first factor to be considered is the physical environment and particularly the climatic, topographic and soil characteristics. The most appropriate crops will vary with the different ecological regions. Important also is the social environment, the way in which societies are organized and their level of technological development. With a knowledge of the present farming systems, average size, working and income patterns, available markets, and the general physical and social environment, appropriate systems can be developed to increase returns and raise the standard of life for the average smallholder.

9.5 The farming systems approach to the cattle-crops integration into smallholder systems in coconut areas

While in many areas there is already an integration of crops and livestock, in other areas and in many systems there is a noticeable failure to use all available resources. A number of papers have considered ways of increasing the income of smallholders through integrated farming practices (Anon., 1980d; 1980e; Eusebio and Rabino-Garcia, 1978; Gunasena and Herath, 1986; Jaafar, 1978; Lee et al., 1978; Wan Mohamed, 1982) and a number of researchers have adopted a farming systems approach which, according to Spedding (1979), “addresses itself to each of the farm's enterprises, and to the interrelationships among these enterprises, and between the farm and its environment. It employs information about the farm's various production and consumption systems and about the farm environment (physical, institutional, social and economic) to increase the efficiency with which the farm utilizes its resources”.

A number of systems which have been developed in, prescribed for, or which are under study in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania (Zanzibar) are described here as possible models for coconut areas. However, these are only examples (from the various systems being developed worldwide) of possible approaches to increase smallholder farm income, and possible starting points in developing future systems.

9.5.1 Bangladesh - the integrated family farm system for agriculture, livestock and energy production (Nielsen and Preston, 1981)

The integrated family farm system was proposed by the second annual seminar on “Maximum Production form Minimum Land” held at the Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh from 5–9 February 1981, considering the increase (from 1960–77) in the number of people ha-1 of cultivated land from 6.6 to 9.7, and the decrease of average size of land holding to 1.36 ha.

The strategy was to efficiently utilize the basic natural resources of solar energy, atmospheric nitrogen, rainfall and farm population skills in order to increase food production per unit of time and per unit of area, taking advantage of all available resources and avoiding waste through a system of recycling. For the recommendations in model form, see Figure 211. This model comprising four sub-units, namely multipurpose crops, multipurpose animals, a digester unit and multipurpose ponds was used as a starting point in designing an integrated family farm of 0.7 ha in size capable of supporting a family of six persons. For the layout and flow diagram of the system see Figures 212–213, respectively.

Proposed crops include: rice, wheat, ground nut, sweet potato and kohl rhabi, blackgram, mungbean, azolla, maize and sesame with a perimeter hedge of ipil-ipil. The estimated input and output relations for the livestock sub-unit are shown in Figure 214.

Figure 211

Figure 211. - An integrated system for agriculture, livestock and energy (Nielsen and Preston, 1981).

Figure 212
  1. Family house
  2. Digester
  3. Cattle shed
  4. Poultry housing

Figure 212. - Layout of the integrated family farm on 7000 m2 (1.8 acres) (Nielsen and Preston, 1981).

Figure 213

Figure 213 - Flow diagram of Integrated Family Farm System (Nielsen and Preston, 1981).

Although returns are high, the investment required for the proposed system is estimated at approximately TK 70,000 (1 US$ = 17.55 TK in 1981), almost half of which is required for water conservation to provide irrigation. A pilot study was set up at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute to investigate the working of the model in practice. Although not specifically designed for a coconut growing area, the model has been included here as an example of what might be possible on areas of richer soils under very effective management.

9.5.2 Colombia

Multipurpose trees play a critical role in the intensive integrated farming system based on sugar cane developed by CIPAV in close cooperation with local farmers in the Cauca valley in Colombia (Preston, 1992; Preston and Murgueitio, 1993). This system could be modified for coconut areas provided good intercropping space is available. The system is based on cane which provides the carbohydrate feed (juice and tops) and also fuel (bagasse). Multipurpose trees and water plants supply the protein and the trees play other important roles such as controlling erosion, providing sinks for carbon dioxide (the standing biomass) and methane (at the interface between the decaying fallen leaves and the soil) and as a source of biodiversity. Sugarcane and trees have well developed systems of biological pest control, require minimum synthetic chemical inputs and are easily separated into high and low fibre fractions as required for the different end uses of feed for monogastric and ruminant animals and fuel.

FromCrops:Residues4950 kg DM; 44 kg N
  Ipil-ipil900 kg DM; 27 kg N
 Ponds:Azolla1500 kg DM; 60 kg N
   7350 kg DM; 131 kg N; 1.8% N in DM

Figure 214

Figure 214. - Input and output relations for livestock sub-unit in the integrated family farm system (Nielsen and Preston, 1981).

The main trees used are Gliricidia sepium, Trichantera gigantea, Erythrina glauca and edulis. The foliage from Trichantera gigantea is consumed by pigs with that from other species being more appropriate for ruminants.

Animals include pigs and ducks complemented by African hair sheep, with buffaloes and/or triple purpose cattle to supply draught power as well as meat and milk. All livestock are managed in partial or total confinement to minimize environmental damage and to maximize nutrient recycling to the crops. For full details refer to Preston (1992). The CIPAV farming system is shown in Figure 215.

9.5.3 India

Various systems have been studied in India such as the five ha dairy demonstration unit, two ha mixed farming unit, one ha buffalo unit and the 0.4 ha mini-dairy unit (Anon. 1980b).

Figure 215

Figure 215. - The CIPAV farming system. Role of multi-purpose trees. (After Preston, 1992). CPCRI one hectare mixed farming system

The system which has consistently given good results is the CPCRI one ha mixed farming system. This was reviewed by Nair (1979, 1983) and the economic viability described in section 8.3.1 (see Table 113). More recently Bavappa (1986) provided a description of the system and further output and economic data.

“It was found that fodder grasses and legumes can be grown successfully in the interspaces of coconut palms and with the fodder (mainly Hybrid Napier NB21 and Guinea grass) produced from one hectare of coconut plantation, five cross-bred milch animals can be maintained profitably. In the same plantation, subsidiary crops like pepper, tubers, vegetables and banana were also raised as well as thirty rabbits. The total output from the system has been found to be 15,900 coconuts, 218 kg dry pepper, 695 kg of tubers, vegetables and banana, 7,500 litres of milk and 550 m3 of biogas ha-1 yr-1, with a net annual return of Rs. 14,500 ha-1. Since this system is highly labour intensive the total annual returns to the family including the family labour earnings was Rs. 35,000 ha-1 (see Table 219).” The net return of Rs. 14,500 ha-1 (or approximately US$ 1,124) compares closely with the US$ 942 reported 10 years earlier (see Table 187) and suggests that the economic viability of the 1 ha mixed farming unit is sustainable. Kerala homestead system

Another case study from India is the Kerala homestead system described by Abdul Salam et al. (1990) where a high level of productivity is achieved by combining a multitier cropping system, a livestock system and an irrigation system. The farmer and his family (total 7 persons) depend for their income on 0.28 ha of fertile land. The system consists of 60 coconut palms with a high level of productivity (averaging 140 nuts tree-1 yr-1), one milch cow (Jersey cross-bred) and a heifer to supply manure for the crops and milk for consumption and sale and guinea grass for the cattle. With the coconuts comprising the top layer and tuber crops, vegetables and guinea grass the lower layer, the intermediate layers consist of arecanut, pepper, jackfruit, tamarind and mango and below that banana, tapioca and various fruit plants, with a boundary fence of gliricidia. The cow produces 10 l of milk per day of which 7 l are sold (at Rs. 5 l-1). As well as the guinea grass Rs. 29 day-1 are spent on oilcakes for the animals. The economics of the system is shown in Tables 220 and 221 with the main income derived from coconuts (the 60 coconut palms yield on average 8,400 nuts yr-1). The farm absorbs 258 man-days of labour yr-1 and produces a net profit of Rs. 22,710 which if the family labour costs are included increases to Rs. 31,460 yr-1 or Rs. 86.20 day-1. After meeting the annual family expenditure there could even be a small saving of Rs. 1,460.

Table 219. - The economics of the CPCRI coconut based farming system
(Bavappa, 1986)

Labour (man/days) 
 Family labour730
 Hired labour120
Fertilizer cost for the systemRs. 2,300
Plant protection costRs. 500
Cattle feed costRs. 12,600
 Coconut (nuts)15,900
 Pepper (kg)218
 Milk (litres)7,500
 Subsidiary cropsRs. 4,500
TOTAL COSTRs. 56,500
NET RETURNRs. 14,500
Earnings by family labour wagesRs. 20,500

US$ 1 = Indian Rupees 12.9.

9.5.4 Indonesia P.U.T.P.

The Indonesian government has introduced a number of integrated small farm animal production systems (Soehadji and Hutasoit, 1976). The smallholder beef fattening scheme Panca Usaha Ternak Potong (P.U.T.P.) has resulted in significant gains over the traditional fattening schemes (see Table 222).

In Bali cattle fattening under the P.U.T.P. scheme is based on the feeding of concentrate supplements. Experiments have shown that commercial concentrates are too expensive for economic cattle production. Two feeding experiments were carried out in a mixed-farming village to study the effect on steer performance of replacing 30 percent of the green roughage with readily available agro-industrial by-products (copra meal, rice bran, hen manure and cassava chips; Nitis, 1982). In experiment 1 a diet with 100 percent green roughage was compared with four diets with 70 percent green roughage and 30 percent of various concentrate mixtures. In experiment 2 the best diet in the first experiment was compared with the cheapest concentrate supplemented diet.

Table 220. - Economics of mixed farming in homestead agriculture (0.28 ha with livestock)

ItemInputOutputNet profit
(in man days)
Fertilizer Manure/FeedCost
(60 nos)
Maintenance10350*4 baskets cowdung
@ Rs 5 per basket
1,2001,5508,400 nuts By-products
(leaf, fronds)
Irrigation903,1503,150 350 
Harvesting  8**400400  
Guinea grass at intercrop103503509,125 kg green fodder0.40 per kg 
Miscellaneous crops***501,75050 baskets cowdung2502,000 2,000Nil
Cow and Heifer
903,150Concentrate @ Rs 20/day7,300Milk5.00/115,0003,160
  Fodder @ Rs 5 kg/day3,65014,300Dung5/basket1,460 
Miscellaneous   200 Calf/heifer 1,000 

* Labour cost @ Rs 35 per man day
** Hired labour @ Rs 50 per day for harvest
*** Arecanut, Jack, Mango, Tamarind, Lime, Breadfruit, Pepper, Banana, Tapioca, Colocasia, Dioscoria, Amorphophallus, Ginger, Turmeric, Bhindi, Amaranthus, Cucurbitaceous, Solanaceous vegetables, Anona, Guava.

Cattle supplemented with various concentrate mixtures gained 2.7–3.9 times more weight (P<0.05) and were 50.5–87.7 percent more efficient in utilizing the feed than those fed on green roughage alone. Cattle supplemented with concentrate mixtures required 2.25 years to reach 375 kg (market weight), whereas those fed green roughage would take 2–3 times longer to attain the same weight. Simple benefit-cost analysis showed that the gross profit from cattle receiving concentrate mixtures was 55.5 percent more than those receiving only green roughage. The greatest liveweight gain (average 349 g day-1) occurred in cattle supplemented with 10 percent copra meal + 10 percent cassava chips, whereas the highest gross profit (1 DRp 53.45 day-1) resulted from cattle supplemented with 20 percent rice bran + 10 percent hen manure. This information should encourage more integration of cattle and use of locally available by-products.

Table 221. - Details of labour requirement, input and output cost and returns from the homestead

ItemsFamily labour
(man days)
Hired labourTotalTotal input cost
Total returns
Net profit
Per day net profit22,710 ÷ 365 =
Amount available including family labour22,710 + 8,750 + 31,460
Per day actual income86.20
Annual expenditure of the family (7 members)Rs 30,000
Balance availableRs 1,460

Table 222. - Average daily gain in liveweight under traditional and P.U.T.P. fattening schemes (Soehadji and Hutasoit, 1976)

AreaAverage daily liveweight gain (kg)
Traditional farmingP.U.T.P schemeDifference
4.Sulsel0.280.500.22 Timor

In Timor the advantages and disadvantages of introducing leucaena into a village agro-ecosystem were reviewed by Krishnawati Suryanata et al. (1988). First introduced as part of a regreening programme, leucaena leaves were then used as the main ingredient in a new system of cattle fattening. Also, farmers discovered that when leucaena was incorporated into the fallow system, the fallow period could be shortened from eight to only two years, thereby reducing the required acreage of a family farm. A stall-fed cattle system was combined with open grazing, with cattle being stall-fed for two to three years to fatten them prior to sale while the maintenance herd continued to graze on pasture areas.

A comparison of body weight of Bali cattle under the stall-fed and grazing systems is given in Table 223. Although the staff-fed system was favoured because of its ability to produce cash, the actual labour productivity was not that high. Between one and two manhours were spent every day to collect fodder and fetch drinking water. The time increased substantially during the dry season, when farmers had to look for sources other than leucaena. Most of these tasks fell to the women and children. On average approximately 1,500 manhours over 2–3 years were required to realize cash gains of Rp. 150,000 – Rp. 200,000.

It was hoped that the introduction of leucaena would increase sustainability of the agro-ecosystems, however from May 1986 leucaena was devastated by the leucaena psyllid (Heteropsylla cubana Crawford) and the system of stall-fed cattle raising was hardest hit because leucaena constituted 80% of the cattle diet. Labour requirement for fodder collection more than doubled (alternative fodder sources included Sesbania grandiflora, Melochia umbellata, Ficus benjamina, Acacia catechu, etc.) and the influence of leucaena on the fallow period was affected (Moog, 1991). Oka and Bahagiawati (1988) reported on a comprehensive plan for integrated control of the psyllid about one year after it was first detected in Indonesia when already over 28 percent of the total area of 1.2 million hectares of leucaena had been damaged and over 33 percent in East Timor. Possible control methods included chemical, biological and introducing resistant leucaena varieties.

Table 223. - Comparison of Bali cattle body weight gain between grazing and stall-fed systems, Timor (Krisnawati Suryanata et al., 1988)

Grazing System
Stallfed System

Moog (1992) in reviewing the impact of the psyllid in southwest Asia and the Pacific provided similar examples from the Philippines where the effect was most pronounced in the intensive smallholder beef production sector. The psyllid infestation resulted in stunted growth of leucaena, death of plants and feed shortages so that farmers resorted to other plant materials such as banana leaves and stems, corn stover, coconut fronds etc. A survey of 31 farmers in Malimatoc, a village near the town of Mabini, Batangas province, revealed that the number of animals being raised fell from 115 before the infestation occurred to 53 later. Moog (1991) suggested that there has been over-reliance on leucaena and that even though trials are underway on psyllid-resistant species, the potential of other fodder trees such as the Sesbanias, the Erythrinas and the Gliricidias should be tapped. Serrano (1988) identified five alternative species: Flemingia congesta, Gliricidia sepium, Acacia villosa, Calliandra calothyrsus and Leucaena diversifolia. Perhaps lessons can be learned from experiments carried out at CATIE (Kass et al., 1992) using various fodder trees as part of the N-ration (Figure 216 shows the effect of supplementing milking cows with increasing levels of Erythrina poeppigiana, where the cows grazed African star grass (Cynodon nlemfuensis) and received a constant level of energy - 1 kg molasses head-1 day-1). The three strata forage system (Arga, 1990; Devendra and Pun, 1991; Lana et al., 1990; Nitis et al., 1989, 1990, 1991)

The three strata forage system has been developed in Bali as part of a programme of intensification of plantation crop systems.

Most of the smallholder farmers practice integrated farming with food crops for home consumption and plantation crops for interisland trade and export. Cattle, goats and pigs are kept for draught purposes, as weeders, as suppliers of manure and for food. Feed resources come mainly from native grasses, cereal straws and tree leaves with livestock usually being permanently stalled or tethered for grazing during the day and stalled at night. Because of the small size of individual farms smallholders usually do not have sufficient fodder for rapid animal growth. The roadside grasses and crop residues result in cattle liveweight gains of between 100–200 g day-1 with marketable weights being reached in about 4 or 5 years. With improved feeding it has been shown that daily weight gains of Bali cattle could be increased to between 400–600 g day-1 and that the fattening period could be reduced to less than 2 years. These circumstances led to the development and successful demonstration of the Three Strata Forage System (TSFS), a project supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. The system involves a first stratum of grasses and ground legumes; a second stratum of shrub legumes; and third stratum of fodder trees (Devendra and Pun, 1991). The TSFS is developed in the peripheral area, surrounding the core area, and along the circumference (see Figure 217).

Figure 216

Figure 216. - Milk production from grazing cows in relation to levels of E. poeppigiana intake (after Kass et al., 1992).

Figure 217

Figure 217. - Proposed integration of the three-strata forage system with plantation crops. (After Nitis et al., 1991).

The 0.2 ha peripheral area comprising mixed pasture (first stratum), the 400 m circumference containing 4,000 shrubs (second stratum) and 80 fodder trees (third stratum) have the potential to produce a forage yield of 15.5 t DM year-1. Animals integrated with the plantation crop can be either stall-fed or tethered for grazing.

The project ran for five and a half years and several relevant results were found comparing two types of systems: the Three Strata Forage Systems (TSFS) and the non-TSFS (NTSFS) at two stocking rates (2 and 4 cattle ha-1). Table 224 presents some of the results, and the following summarises the main highlights:

Wiryosuhanto (1992) has reviewed some of the benefits, strengths, opportunities and weaknesses of the three strata forage system.

Table 224. - Comparative productivity of TSFS and NTSFS plots (kg dry weight plot-1 yr-1) (Nitis et al., 1990 after Devendra and Pun, 1991)

First stratum455-
Second stratum310-
Third stratum15-
Improved grasses-10
Native grasses-242
Cattle live weight gain (kg 3 yrs-1)186166
Carrying capacity (cattle ha-1)42
Maximum live weight (kg head-1)300200
Soil erosion (mm 2 years-1)1120

+ Three strata forage system
++ Non-three strata forage system

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