Bali cattle is one of the four existing indigenous cattle breeds in Indonesia. This article reviews cattle characteristics and husbandry methods in the country with a special focus on the importance of Bali cattle. The study shows that indigenous cattle are an important and integral component of the small landholder cattle production system, which is essentially 'organic' in nature and the most sustainable system. Farmers prefer indigenous cattle because they are less demanding and less prone to problems usually associated with most of the 'improved' and/or crossbred cattle. Ecological or organic farming is seen as an alternative to chemical intensive agriculture. The authors thus highlight the importance of developing indigenous technologies for ecological and economical farming methods. They suggest that policies reoriented towards maintaining the indigenous Bali breed and improving their efficiency, not through external genetic intervention, but through within breed genetic improvement are required, as well as effectively harnessing locally available resources. The study concludes that Bali cattle ought to be considered the most suitable indigenous cattle breed for low-input, high stress production systems still practised by millions of families in Indonesia.