While many forages suitable for improving livestock production in mixed crop-livestock systems in the tropics have been identified, their adoption has been limited. Before farmers will introduce new forages into their farming system an important prerequisite is that the change will be considered profitable, will have an acceptable level of risk and will not interfere with food security. This paper describes a whole farm systems approach used to identify the benefits of new forages to improve Bali cattle production in the smallholder mixed crop-livestock systems of eastern Indonesia. Data collection took place with farmers, village heads and extension staff in four villages in Sulawesi and Sumbawa. Preliminary analyses indicate that retaining residue from grain legume crops, growing tree legumes as living fences or hedgerows, and elephant grass all contribute to increased animal production by reducing annual forage deficit. This, in turn, decreases labour requirements in the late dry season as fodder does not have to be obtained from long distances. These findings suggest that substantial improvements can be made to farm profitability and family welfare from within the resources and constraints of current farming practices.
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McDonald C., Lisson S., MacLeod N., Rahman R., Wirajaswadi L., Panjaitan T. et al.
In 'Proceedings Seminar Nasional Pemberdayaan Petani Miskin di Lahan Marginal Melalui Inovasi Teknologi Tepat Guna, Mataram 2004' Pp. 1-8