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Improving nutrition during pregnancy and lactation to achieve production targets for Bali cattle

This project aims to determine how cow body condition affects milk production and growth of calves before and after weaning.
The domestic cattle population cannot meet Indonesian demand for beef at existing rates of productivity. Smallholder households within crop-livestock systems probably have the greatest capacity to meet this increased demand for beef if they can breed more cattle. Many of these smallholder households are in eastern Indonesia where household income is low and relies on selling cattle.
This project will investigate how improving young cows' diets during pregnancy and lactation affects calf birth weights and performance after weaning. It will determine whether production targets can be met using feeds (tree legumes) that are already available to smallholder farmers. All stages of development (conception to slaughter) may influence the ability to achieve production targets in Bali cattle. Observations in the field in eastern Indonesia suggest that Bali cows that are fed well during pregnancy produce heavier calves that have higher rates of survival and perform better through to weaning.
The research will provide important baseline data for future research on optimising calf production and finishing.