Relevance of ruminants in upland mixed-farming systems in East Java, Indonesia

S. Ifar

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


In Indonesia, upland agriculture is associated with resource-poor farmers, land degradation, and low agricultural production. The common premise is that cattle productivity in upland areas is low and that this is mainly caused by a shortage of feed. The area chosen to carry out this study on the relevance of ruminants for upland mixed farming systems was the limestone area, a marginal upland area, in the southern part of Malang regency in East Java. The data collection was done within the framework of an interdisciplinary agricultural research training project. Two villages were selected as research sites because of their differences in land use and soil characteristics; land use dominated by sugarcane and annual crops vs land use where agroforestry is becoming increasingly important. Cattle are by far the most important livestock in the limestone area. Farmers aim at both physical production (progeny, increase in body weight, manure, draught power) and intangible benefits. The intangible benefits comprise the capital embodied in animals kept and the possibility of disposing of animals as and when required: insurance and finance. If the intangible benefits are counted in, farmers arrive at a daily return to labour from livestock similar to the ongoing daily wages in the agricultural sector. Systems for sharing ruminants enable the available labour and capital to be better used and distribute wealth more evenly in the village, and play a major role in replenishing herds after periods of severe drought. The use of cattle for land cultivation is related to the land use system. Land use also has important consequences for the feed resource base. Livestock keepers obtain a large proportion of feeds from communal areas and from crop fields operated by other farmers. In both villages the feeding system and herd size are well adapted to the available resources. Simulation proved to be a useful tool for understanding the feeding practices and the evaluation of proposed new technologies. Biological production can only be increased by increasing the amounts of high quality feeds. Overall, by keeping ruminants farmers efficiently allocate their resources i.e. labour and capital according to their household objectives. The objectives in research and development programmes should be set in relation to all benefits of livestock keeping. The interdisciplinary research approach has given insight into the versatility of livestock in supporting human welfare.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Zwart, D., Promotor, External person
  • Udo, H.M.J., Promotor
Award date9 Sep 1996
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054855811
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • farming systems
  • ruminants
  • mixed farming
  • java


Dive into the research topics of 'Relevance of ruminants in upland mixed-farming systems in East Java, Indonesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this