BPPT has identified 4.4 million ha of oil palm plantations as having potential for cattle integration. At a stocking rate of 5 ha per head, this could potentially support over 800,000 cattle.
Of particular interest were presentations from the Sawit Kinabalu Farm plantation in Sabah and the New Britain Palm Oil - Numundo Beef in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Both plantations have a long and successful history of cattle – oil palm integration.
The Sawit Kinabalu Farm, an innovator in cattle – oil palm integration, provided evidence of increased oil palm yields and compatible cattle rearing in their estate dating back to 2002.
The New Britain Palm Oil Plantation in PNG, reduced oil palm density to 50% (a half stand system) that enabled improved pasture growth to maximise beef production, whilst still consistently achieving fresh fruit bunch yields of 68% of full stands. Productivity from the combined cattle plus oil palm integration was over US$4,500/ha, 39% more than for the oil palm full stand with no cattle.
BPPT presented data from its 5-year research project into smallholder Bali cattle – oil palm integration in Riau province. Results showed that well-organised farmer groups are capable of improving productivity using agricultural by-products.
BPPT also presented its initial research findings on the impact of cattle on soils, fresh fruit bunches production and disease spread. Importantly, it reported that cattle grazing had no significant impact on the spread of Ganoderma, a devastating oil palm disease. The soil and FFB production research were still inconclusive and is on-going. Results will be out in early 2020.
IACCB presented its commercial results for its SISKA projects including an internal rate of return on investment for cattle of between 10 and 16%, a positive cash flow between 3 and 7 years with a payback period of 8 to 9 years. These results generated considerable interests from oil palm company representatives, from GAPKI (Indonesian Oil Palm Association) and GAPUSPINDO (Indonesian Beef Cattle Business Association) members.
The conference also explored integration challenges, cattle feeding systems, reproductive performance, animal health and financial analyses, pulling together a wide range of outcomes from various research programs (BPPT, IACCB, ACIAR’s IndoBeef, IPB University, Gadjah Mada University) and from commercial operators. Whilst challenges remain, the overall message was that cattle integration in oil palm estates held great commercial potential
Further reading on ICOP
A collection of materials presented can be found on this link