PalmCow Project starts up in Indonesia

Arthur Cameron, Principal Pastures Agronomist and Kieren McCosker, Senior Livestock Scientist

PalmCow is an international project aiming to improve small holder beef supply and livelihoods through oil palm-cattle integration in Indonesia.  This project will build capacity and experience for department staff and provide insights into grazing management under forestry plantations in the NT.

The project, along with its sister project CropCow, is ACIAR funded by ACIAR and is part of a larger research program IndoBeef. The University of New England is the commissioned organisation for the IndoBeef program while the department are providing expertise in animal production and forage advice for the PalmCow project.

The NT team, Kieren McCosker and Arthur Cameron, have expertise in tropical pastures, forage and livestock research. They will be working primarily in East Kalimantan, Indonesia in the Babulu and Paser districts, looking at production systems around Brahman cross cows held breed-lots and Bali cattle in an extensive grazing system. Arthur will also be involved in forage evaluation between newly planted oil palms in the Musi Banyuasin district of South Sumatra.

To date, the three sites have been visited to prepare scoping documents. Preschedules are being developed for experiments which will be conducted. Field officers have recently been employed to work at each of the sites.

Production styles in Indonesia differ from those in northern Australia. In the Musi Banyuasin district, the extensively grazed cattle have the lead cows tethered to keep the herd together. While the feed for housed cattle is transported by motorbike as feed rolls. In South Sumatra, maize has been planted between the rows of newly planted palms as a cash crop. At this site, Cinta Damai village there were some rubber plantations. The rubber plantations are progressively being replaced by the more profitable oil palms.

This project will build capacity in Indonesian farmers and staff to better manage oil palm–cattle integration. Department staff will gain experience of cattle production under plantations which will provide insights into grazing management under forestry plantations in the NT.

For more information on the PalmCow project, pastures or livestock research in the region contact:

Arthur Cameron;
P: 08 8999 2214 (pastures) or

Kieren McCosker;
P: 08 8973 9771 (livestock)

Last updated: 28 September 2020

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