Palm Oil-Cattle Integration Makes Plantation More “Profitable” and Sustainable
Beef is one of the food sources of animal protein that is commonly consumed by the Indonesian. Along with the increasing population purchasing power have an impact on increasing beef consumption in Indonesia. The nickname as a luxury food is also no longer relevant because nowadays beef can be enjoyed by various groups of Indonesian. Beef has been included in the diet pattern of the Indonesian both at home and in restaurants, or consumed regularly or only on certain days such as religious holidays (Idul Fitri, Christmas).
The average growth of Indonesian beef consumption reaches 8.1 percent per year, while the growth in local beef production is only around 5 percent per year. This condition causes the price of beef in Indonesia, especially during peak seasons (such as Eid al-Fitr) to increase significantly. Therefore, to meet the large consumption of beef, the Indonesian government relies on imports. BPS’s data shows that the total volume of beef imports in 2019 reached 201.5 thousand tons.
Indonesia’s high dependence on imported cattle must be controlled, given the negative impacts it causes, such as the weak competitiveness of local breeders and has the potential to disrupt Indonesia’s stability and sovereignty. To reduce the volume of imports to save imported foreign exchange as well as to achieve national independence, one of the strategic policies of the Indonesian government is the palm oil-cattle integration program.
Total oil palm plantation area in Indonesia reaches 16.38 million hectares. With this area, they have open space that has the potential to be used as well as livestock land with a mutually beneficial integration system (mutualism). One of the integration systems that has been developed between oil palm plantations and livestock commodities is the palm oil-cattle integration.
In the webinar organized by Sinar Tani, one of the speakers, Soedjai Kartasasmita, tells the success story of the palm oil-cattle integration which was first carried out in Central Kalimantan and generated positive results. So far, there are 6 companies have developed this program. The reason for the success of this program is oil palm plantations as a source of feed for cattle.
Another speaker in the webinar from the Directorate General of Plantation of the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture stated that the assumption of the potential for oil palm fronds production as a source of feed is that 1 hectare of oil palm plantation can meet the feed for 3 cattle per year. With an area of Mature Plants of people’s plantations which is around 4.7 million hectares, the potential number of cattle that can be developed in that area is around 4.7 million cows for 1 cow per hectare, 9.5 million cows for 2 cows per hectare, and 14.2 million cows for 3 cows per hectare.
Biomass or what is often called waste in oil palm plantations such as palm fronds and leaves is used as a source of forage feed. It should be noted that 1 palm tree can produce 22 fronds, of which 1/3 of the frond will be taken from 1 frond to be used as animal feed. Utilization of fronds biomass as cattle feed can be used directly or can be processed first through the ammonia process with urea.
In addition to forage feed, other palm biomass such as palm kernel meal and clay waste (De-OBE) produced from the processing of Spent Bleaching Earth (SBE) can be processed to produce a concentrated source of nutritious animal feed. Oil palm plantations as a source of cattle feed can be a solution to one of the problems in cattle production in Indonesia such as the high cost of feed, as well as a solution to the limited pastureland. In addition to the feed industry, the oil palm-cow integration will also lead to two other integrated activities in the cow calf operation and cattle fattening.
The palm oil-cattle integration program also benefits for plantations by increasing efficiency and productivity. Cow dung can be used as organic material for oil palm plantations, as well as to improve soil structure, increase the availability of soil organic matter, and increase soil capacity to hold water. Apart from being an organic fertilizer, cow dung as an organic material can also increase the population of antagonistic microbes (such as Trichoderma) against Ganoderma. The presence of cows in oil palm plantations is also able to save costs for handling weeds for both sprayer-man and the procurement of herbicide materials. This will have implications for reducing production costs (fertilizer costs, weed and Ganoderma handling costs) and making oil palm plantations more sustainable.
Economically, this palm oil-cattle integration program can provide benefits so that oil palm farmers are more prosperous. Cow dung can be used as fertilizer which can later be resold. The potential for animal manure fertilizer from 1 cow from dry feces is about 5.8 thousand kg/year. In addition, cattle that have been sold in the Eid al-Adha period.
The palm oil-cattle integration program has not only had an impact on the welfare of oil palm farmers but has also been proven to be able to increase the competitiveness of cattle. Paul Boon from IACCB acknowledged the advantages of integrating palm oil-cattle to produce calves and feeder cattle through the Cow-Calf Operation (CCO) which is cheaper than the cost of feeders from Australia arriving at Indonesian feedlot companies. The production cost with the palm oil-cattle integration system is IDR 33,600 per kg live weight or cheaper than the price of feeder cattle from Australia to Indonesia which reaches IDR 40,000-IDR 45,440/kg live weight.
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