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Comparisons of beef buffalo and beef cattle production systems in northeastern Thailand

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Comparisons of beef buffalo and beef cattle production systems in northeastern Thailand

Chakrapong Chaikong (Autor)

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Indice, Datei (37 KB)
Lectura de prueba, Datei (47 KB)

ISBN-10 (Impresion) 3869554088
ISBN-13 (Impresion) 9783869554082
ISBN-13 (E-Book) 9783736934085
Idioma Inglés
Numero de paginas 152
Edicion 1 Aufl.
Volumen 0
Lugar de publicacion Göttingen
Lugar de la disertacion Universität Göttingen
Fecha de publicacion 16.07.2010
Clasificacion simple Tesis doctoral
Area Agricultura
Descripcion

The goal of this study was to compare production systems and potential for further development
of beef buffalo and beef cattle farms in northeastern Thailand aiming at an improvement of
production and as a consequence of farmers’ livelihoods. The specific objectives were:
1. to better understand and re-examine characteristics of the livestock farms and reasons for
keeping livestock,
2. to assess socio-economic and livelihood benefits of the livestock for the farmers,
3. to investigate the livestock husbandry including farm management, feeding and breeding
practices,
4. to explore farmers’ perceptions of favourable traits of buffaloes and cattle and reasons for
the decline of the buffalo population,
5. to investigate social and environmental impacts as well as problems and needs of the
livestock farming according to the farmers’ point of view.
The following hypotheses were tested to achieve the objectives of the study:
1. Characteristics of livestock farming and reasons for keeping livestock differ between beef
buffalo and beef cattle farms and between herd sizes.
2. Differences between beef buffalo and beef cattle farms and between herd sizes have an
effect on socio-economics and livelihoods of the farmers.
3. There are differences in farm management, feeding management and breeding practices
between beef buffalo and beef cattle farms and between herd sizes.
4. Beef buffalo farms have a lower level of farm inputs and a higher potential for improving
the production.
5. Community and environmental conflicts are caused by livestock farming depending on
animal species and herd size.
This study was conducted in the province of the Nakhon Ratchasima, located in the lower part of
northeastern Thailand (as shown in Figure 3.1, in Chapter 3). The multi-state sampling method
was used to choose the farms based on the livestock production census in 2006 obtained from the
Nakhonratchasima Provincial Livestock Office, Department of Livestock Development. Based on
this data, 121 beef buffalo and beef cattle farms, respectively, were selected randomly. Between
October 2007 and May 2008, a single-visit, multiple-subject survey was carried out using faceto-
face interviews. The recall, observation and measurement method was used to complete a pretested,
semi-structured questionnaire. The opinions and views of the farmers were gathered by
open-ended questions. Questionnaires included farm characteristics, importance of livestock,
socio-economic benefits of the animals, feed resources, feeding management, herd structures and
breeding practices, favourable traits of buffalo and cattle, reasons for the decline of the buffalo
population as well as constraints and needs for the development of livestock farming. All data
were statistically analyzed to describe the livestock farming systems and to compare beef buffalo
and beef cattle farms and sizes of herds.
Characteristics of beef buffalo and beef cattle farming as well as the roles and the socio-economic
benefits of the livestock to the keepers are presented in Chapter 4. Most of the farms were
integrated crop-livestock systems with small farm size (7.9 ha), whereof less than half of the area
was used for livestock. Farm activities were mainly done by family members while employees
were only found on large farms. The most important reason for keeping animals was income
generation (80 % of all responses). This could be classified into accumulation of wealth or
savings (22 %), covering expected (19 %) and unexpected (19 %) expenses, and regular (11 %)
and additional (9 %) sources of cash income. Besides this, improvement of the social status was
mentioned (18 %). Only 2 % of the farmers kept the animals for draught power, inherited asset,
manure source and conservation aspect. Most of planned and unplanned expenses of households
during the last 5 years were covered by selling livestock (58 %) and other agricultural products
(19 %). The more animals the farmers kept the better the dwelling conditions, the larger the
number of household assets and the more access to commercial health insurances the farmers
had. The results confirm the important roles of buffaloes and cattle in the livelihood strategies of
rural households.
Chapter 5 presents feed resources for beef buffaloes and beef cattle throughout the year and
feeding management of the livestock farms. Most of the livestock farms (94 %) practiced a
herding system while tethering was used only by smallholders. The animals were kept on small
pasture areas (3.1 ha) with very low pasture allowance (0.1 ha TLU-1, TLU = Tropical Livestock
Units). During rainy season feed was obtained mostly from communal grasslands while harvested
crop fields, shared by the community, became the most important source of feed during dry
season. Therefore, major limitations of feed supply were low quantity and quality because of
limited resources, variation of cropping patterns and seasonal fluctuations. Due to the lack of
lands, low investment in pasture cultivation and seasonal limitations, farmers were not able to
offer green forages to their animals throughout the year. Crop residues were used to fulfil
animals’ requirements during feed shortage or throughout the year. Because of high cost and low
availability, farmers rarely practiced feed supplementation even though breeding animals were
given the highest priority for supplementation. An extensive feeding system is mainly practiced
on resource-poor farms, especially buffalo farms. The risk of feed deficiency is increasing if
more animals are kept.
Herd structures, breed compositions and breeding systems of beef buffalo and beef cattle farms
are reported in Chapter 6. The herd size in this study area was on average 39 buffaloes and 42
cattle per farm with a high variation. The size of herd had slightly increased over the previous
years. Animals born within the herd were important sources of replacing buffaloes, indicating a
high risk of inbreeding, while beef cattle farms imported animals from off-farm resources.
Artificial insemination (AI) was not practiced for buffaloes while beef cattle farms adopted both
natural and AI services. Damage of female’s reproductive tract (38 % of responses) was stated as
the most important problem of AI. Lack of semen was stated by buffalo farmers as a limitation of
AI. Traits related to beef production were stated as high priority for buffalo selection, while cattle
farmers preferred an attractive appearance. Thai swamp buffaloes, which are superior in beef
production traits, comprised up to 91 % of the buffalo herd. On the contrary, crossbreds of native
cattle and Brahman, and of native, Brahman and Indo-Brazilian cattle (88 % of the herd), having
a more attractive appearance, predominated over the pure Thai native cattle breed (5 % of the
herd). Native breeding bulls were not included in breeding programmes of cattle, which may
result in the loss of genetic resources of local cattle in this area.
In Chapter 7, competitiveness of beef buffaloes and beef cattle, influences of animal farming on
local community and environment, constraints and needs stated by the farmers, and reasons for
the decline of buffalo farming are described. Buffaloes impressed the farmers by their higher
adaptation and productivity under extensive management as well as their superior beef
production potential, fertility and longevity. However, the lack of water resources for wallowing
was addressed as the most important reason for the decrease of buffalo farming (63 % of
farmers). Due to a possible cause of water contamination and community conflicts, buffaloes
sometimes were not allowed to enter public or private water resources. Deficiency of feed and
water from communal resources (61 % of farmers) and the need to access more of these resources
(43 % of farmers), particularly by large-scale farmers, were mentioned as the main constraints of
livestock farming. Livestock services, marketing and prices also need to be improved by the
authorities when a market-oriented farming system is emerging. A high competitive use of the
communal properties, particularly by large-scale farms, sometimes caused social conflicts and
environmental harms. However, livestock was regarded to improve soils and the local ecosystem.
Beef buffaloes and beef cattle can cope with the economic needs of the households as well as
improve farmers’ socio-economic status and livelihoods substantially. As market-oriented
production systems are becoming more important than subsistent systems, livestock husbandry,
government services and livestock marketing need to be developed in order to improve the
productivity of livestock farming and consequently farmers’ livelihoods. As regarding their high
potential for beef production, effective water management strategies should be deliberately
considered to alleviate the drastic decline of the buffalo population and to promote beef buffalo
farm enterprises. Furthermore, community and environmental antagonists related to livestock
farming need to be taken into account in the policies and promotions.