a semi-intensive breeding model where pregnant cows and mother-and-calves are kept in a cattle yard (breedlot) pre-calving up to weaning and re-conception, for approximately 6 months.

The model emerged after a SISKA-partner - SUJ - wanted to expand their herd but were constrained due to their limited grazing area in their relatively small oil palm plantation. This model has higher operational and feed costs due to the long presence of cattle in the cattle yard. Finding cheap agricultural by-products is key to its commercial viability. The more intensive management (compared to SISKA), especially pre-and post-calving, has considerably increased calving rates (as cows are mated in the yard while still lactating) and reduced calf mortality supporting good weaning rates.

Preliminary conclusion on the breeding model:

  • Pregnant cows and mother-and-calves are kept in cattle yard/breedlot pre-calving to weaning
  • Better conception and calving rates compared to SISKA
  • Reduced calf mortality through more intensive management
  • Increased weaning rates
  • High operational and feed cost due to the semi-continuously presence in the cattle yard
  • Feeder live-weight production cost exceeds cost of imported feeders

IACCB is testing these propositions in below location:

Breeding Model in the Spotlight: Semi SISKA - Semi Breedlot

Semi SISKA – Semi Breedlot – a profitable alternative when oil-palm plantation area is limited and cheap agricultural by-products abundant

Our semi-breedlot/semi-SISKA partner, PT Superindo Utama Jaya (SUJ), in Lampung Province is expanding its cattle infrastructure, with another 160 calving pens, enabling the stockmen to separate highly pregnant cattle for calving. Heifers and calves remain in the pens for a couple of weeks to ensure low calf mortality rates.   

By diligently managing the herd and supplying necessary supplements SUJ is keeping both lactating and empty cattle into good condition, with 95% of the cattle continuously achieving a BCS of 2.6 or above.

The good condition of the herd is also reflected in an excellent average calving interval for the whole herd of less than 15 months.

SUJ management consulted IACCB to project their economic returns using the CALFIN modelling tool. Three scaling-up options, that considered their plantations limited carrying capacity, were presented to SUJ management.

  1. Stable growth - no purchase of additional cows and maintaining a total herd of around 400 head.
  2. Organic growth- purchasing and integrating 500 local cows in 2019/2020 into total herd maintained at 700 head.
  3. Aggressive growth - purchasing and integrating 500 local cows in 2019/2020 and 300 in 2021 into total herd maintained at 1000 head.

For all options BX bulls would be acquired to ensure a healthy cow/bull ratio (1/20) for the expanding herd.

CALFIN modeling showed that Option 2 was the most promising, with a positive cashflow from 2021 onwards and an IRR slightly above 10%.

IACCB partner experience has shown that enterprises with a limited grazing area, such as SUJ, need to continuously and carefully monitor their carrying capacity, and required additional feed, if they are to maintain cattle in an optimal condition.