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Success Story

An integrated village management system to boost eastern island cattle production

Success Story

The success of any alternative management system to improve small-holder cattle production is based on the simplicity of its implementation and the resulting financial and social benefits to farmers. Integrated village management system (IVMS) was implemented in Kelebuh village, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggra province, to improve reproduction and growth rates of Bali cattle. The basis of the IVMS was to match seasonal feed availability with animal nutrient demands through the use of natural mating, a defined mating period and weaning calves at 6 months of age. The IVMS increased conception rates, decreased inter-calving interval, resulted in a concentrated calving period, decreased calf mortality, increased weaning rates and increased calf growth rates.


Bali cattle (Bos sondaicus) are the dominant cattle breed across the eastern islands of Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat. This small genotype (cow mature size of 260 to 270 kg) are popular amongst small-holder farmers due to their apparent adaptability to the regional conditions; tolerance to high ambient temperatures, ability to reproduce annually under poor environmental conditions and ability to recover condition quickly after exposure to periods of inadequate nutrient supply or heavy draught loads (Toelihere, 2003). They are used as a source of draught and a form of savings, being sold for slaughter primarily in Java and to a lesser extent locally. They are inherently fertile, with a conception rate of 75-100% depending on environmental conditions (Toelihere, 2003). However, reproduction and calf mortality rates vary considerably across the region, largely as a result of variable nutrition and month of calving (Wirdahayati, 1994). Wirdahayati (1994) reported age at first calving ranged from 25 to 70 months of age, inter-calving interval ranged from 12.5 to 19.7 months and calf mortality ranged from 2 to 40%.

Materials and Methods

In establishing the IVMS the following practices were initiated:
  • A controlled mating period was established from June to December. Calving timed to occur in the wet season when feed availability would be high to meet the nutrient demands of the lactating cow.
  • Mating pen was constructed to facilitate controlled natural mating a village
  • The mating process commenced 20 to 30 days after calving, when the bull and cow were put in proximity to each other for a short period of time (the bull effect).
  • Calves were weaned at 5 to 6 months of age and placed in a weaning pen for approximately three weeks with access to good quality green grass and water.

Under the IVMS the pregnancy rate per mating was 70-80% (1.3 services per conception), which is within the normal range for cattle, calving to conception interval averaged 70 days (30-120 days for 95% of cows), and 80% of first-lactation cows and 90% of mature cows re-conceived by the end of the controlled mating period. This enabled 83% of cows to wean a calf annually with an average gestation length of 287 days. First conception was achieved in 80% of maiden heifers within 3 months of the start of mating and in 100% within 6 months of the start of mating, at an average of 182 kg live weight and 480 days of age. This high fertility level was achieved using just one young bull that impregnated between 40 and 66 females during the 6 month controlled mating period. The timing of calving, and subsequent weaning, was shifted to better match seasonal conditions, in terms of feed availability and risk of disease, and draught requirements. The wet season typically provided a greater biomass of better quality feeds for animals. Calf mortality rate was only 4% compared with greater than 10% prior to the introduction of the IVMS. The anoestrus period was shortened compared to when calves were born between July and October. This rapid return to oestrus and high rates of conception were facilitated by the process of weaning, which removed the lactational nutrient demands from the cow during mid-gestation, allowing her to recover sufficient body condition for the subsequent lactation and mating period.

The IMVS implemented based around a defined mating period between June and December, natural mating with a young bull and weaning at 6 months of age result in high reproductive performance, improved calf survival, increased growth rates and reduced labour demands.

Wirdahayati, R.B. (1994). Reproductive characteristics and productivity of Bali and Ongole cattle in Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, Australia. pp 259. Toelihere, M.Z. (2003). Increasing the success rate and adoption of artificial insemination for genetic improvement of Bali cattle. Entwistle, K and Lindsay, D (Ed). Strategies to improve Bali cattle in eastern Indonesia. ACIAR Proceedings No. 110: 48-53. (T. S. Panjaitan)