Mr. Cha Ben and his wife manage a 3 hectare farm in Tram Kok District in Takeo Province of Cambodia. Their achievements as livestock producers are a remarkable tale of success, and an example of the benefits of adopting new technologies in the rural Cambodian environment.
ACIAR project has been working with village producers to compare the effects of introducing a range of health and production practices. The aim is to increase producers’ income by improving animal husbandry through better nutrition and reducing the impact of livestock diseases.
Change for the better
In the latter part of 2008 Mr. Cha Ben attended a project meeting at a nearby village and expressed an interest in learning about some of the cattle husbandry technologies, particularly forage (feed) growing. Back then his family used to spend many hours twice a day gathering cattle feed on the roadside and other uncultivated areas.
The family now grows over one hectare of forages that are cut fresh and fed twice daily to their 11 Brahman and crossbred cattle. The cattle are vaccinated regularly for diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and haemorrhagic septicaemia, and they are also given parasite prevention. Last year, the family sold three cattle and purchased replacements, increasing their annual income, which has more than doubled since 2008. They also have a lot more time to invest in sharing their knowledge now that they're not putting so much effort into collecting feed for their animals.
In 2010 Mr. Cha Ben was awarded the first place prize for the Cambodian Best Farmer of the Year in the category of forage development for cattle feeding. The Honourable Prime Minister Hun Sen presented him with a small tractor, a motorbike and a monetary award at the National Farmers Conference.
Mr. Cha Ben has since imported a Brahman bull and several other cattle. It is being used as a service bull available to other farmers in the region (US$8/service). The bull has sired over 100 calves in the past 16 months.
Mr. Cha Ben and family are also selling forage technology and development to neighbouring farmers. Teaching others comes naturally to Mr. Cha Ben, as he is also a local primary school teacher.
The family has developed nursery plots on their property and has also provided seedlings and training to over 100 regional farmers to establish their own forage plots for cattle feeding.
Mr. Cha Ben and his family are a great example of the positive impact of improving feeding and health of cattle. Recently one of Mr. Cha Bens cows gave birth to a calf (sired by the Brahman bull), increasing his herd to 12.
Author: Project Research Officer James Young BVSc
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