WHY BALI CATTLE IS THE CHOICE FOR INDONESIAN FARMERS
Bali cattle have some advantages compared to the import species. They include reproductive performance or genetic variations. Better reproductive performance is one of the reasons for the local farmers in Indonesia to grow Bali cattle. Bali cattle are suitable for small farmers due several factors:
1. Good fertility rate and pregnancy rate. Many studies have been conducted on reproductive performance of Bali bovine species. Most studies found a pregnancy rate, which ranges from 80-85%. In other words, its pregnancy rate is even higher than that of European cattle (+ 60%).
2. Earlier first-mating ages. Bali bovine species, on average, has younger mating age, despite variations in different areas in Indonesia. The average first mating age is 18 months.
3. Shorter calving interval. In most areas in Indonesia, calving interval of Bali cattle ranges from 12 – 14 months. It means that the female cattle may have another calf in only 12 months after the last calving.
4. Better digestion. the cattle is better in digesting high-fiber foods. Indonesia is rich many species of grass and plants, which are good sources of food for local cattle.
Of course, reproductive performance is affected by factors like quality of food and overall health of the livestock. The good news is that Bali bovine species can adapt to extreme weather conditions and it is more resistant to diseases.
Reproductive performance is affected by certain genetic variations. These variations are found to be influenced by factors like population migration, natural selection, and mutation. As mentioned above, Bali cattle are the result of domestication process from the wild cow. It means that the species is naturally resistant to weather conditions and able to survive under changing environments.
Despite few studies on the genetic variations of Bali cattle, a number of genes, are reported to affect the high fertility of Bali bovine species. They include Bone Morphogenetic Protein-15 (BMP-15), Growth Hormone (GH), Growth Differentiation Factor-9 (GDF-9), Osteopontin (OPN), SRY gene, and Insulin Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).
CONCLUSION: POTENTIALS OF BALI CATTLE BREEDING IN INDONESIA
Bali cattle have huge economic potentials in Indonesia. The species has better performance in terms of reproductive system, digestion, and adaptability. That is why it is suitable for small-scale and large-scale farming. In genetic aspect, Bali bovine species still has ample room for improvement by means of genetic variations.
It is unfortunate that population of Bali cattle has shown a declining trend in the last few years, particularly because of imbalanced demand and supply. The potentials offered by the better reproductive system and genetic variations still offer much room for development in the future.