Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (7) 2015 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Integration of cattle and koronivia grass pasture underneath mature coconuts in North Sulawesi, Indonesia

S D Anis, D A Kaligis and S P Pangemanan1

Laboratory of Forages Science, Faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Sam Ratulangi, Manado 95115. Indonesia
1 Social-Economics Department, Faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Sam Ratulangi, Manado 95115. Indonesia


Integrated  pasture  and  livestock  in coconuts  based farming systems were expected to enhance the efficiency and the sustainability of land  utilization as a mixed farming model which is economically viable. The objective of this experiment was to study the effects of stocking rate  and grazing systems on the performance of pasture of koronivia grass (Brachiaria humidicola cv.Tully), average daily gain of cattle and the number of coconut nuts. This experiment was conducted at BALITKA (Coconut and Others Palma Research Center) at Manado from July 2009 to June 2010. Treatments were put on Split Plot arrangement based on Randomized Block Design.  


Highest performances of  koronivia grass measured were found on the interaction of rotational grazing system and stocking rate at 2.3 AU (animal unit). The higher the stocking  rate, the lower the daily gain of both systems of  grazing. Nevertheless, daily gain of rotational grazing was significantly higher than continuous grazing system. The number of coconut nuts was significantly higher on the experimental field than the out site. As a conclusion rotational grazing system and proper stocking rate are needed to sustain the productivity and quality of koronivia grass grazed underneath mature coconut to support cattle production and improve the economics of land utilization.

Key word: cattle gain, economic efficiency, integration


In Indonesia, an archipelago with a population of 250 million, produced 21.565.700 MT of coconuts is the world’s largest coconut producer (FAO 2009). Coconuts are cultivated throughout the archipelago, and about 10 million people obtain their livelihood about 200 million palm trees on 3 million ha of coconut farms. Approximately 10% of the total coconut area of Indonesia is situated in North Sulawesi, the most important coconut-producing province in Indonesia. Agriculture sector is still considered as back bone economy and the major sector providing employment. However, the smallholder farmers and agricultural laborers have to face employment and under employment due to seasonal work in crop production. About 250.000 ha of land in North Sulawesi is devoted to coconut plantations producing about 250.000 t of copra per year, and about two-thirds of all farming households in the province are coconut farmers with an average cultivated area of 1.7 ha. In addition, about 70% of its foreign exchange earnings come from export of coconuts products, mainly coconut oil, copra meal, and also charcoal and desiccated coconut (Sondakh and Kaligis 1990). The conservation of ecosystem and recycling of energy and mineral matter in soil-plant-animal atmosphere have been followed by Singh (1994). The recycling of precious organic manure wastes might have been responsible for conserving ecosystem and thus increasing the fertility of soil.


Koronivia grass or Brachiaria humidicola cv. Tully is one among several species recomended as well adapted forages in shade environment underneath coconuts plantation in North Sulawesi (Kaligis and Sumolang 1990) and pesistent under free grazing system in mixed pasture (Kaligis 1998). Negative effects of defoliation frequency decrease dry matter production and growth of forage, inhibit develop and even cause death of the rooting (Mousel et al 2005) because it inhibits nutrient absorption and the effectiveness of photosynthesis. However, recent research results show that the increase in the frequency of defoliation contrary raised the concentration of TNC in the crown and root (Gittins et al 2010) and even earlier it was reported that heavy grazing of yaks up to 2.9 head/ha produced root/shoot ratio biomass higher than the lighter grazing pressure (Gao et al 2007). There is still limited research report concerning rotational grazing systems and stocking rate of koronivia grass as pasture integrated in coconuts plantations. The objective of this research was to find out the effects of grazing management on the performance  of koronivia grass pasture and impact on daily gain of  cattle underneath mature coconuts.

Material and Method

The research was conducted in Coconut and other Palms Research Center at Manado, located on the geographical position of  Lat. 10 30' N, and 67 meters above sea level. The study lasted for 15 months from July 2009 - October 2010. A total of 36 adult cattle of local breeds with an average initial weight of 270 kg were used in this trial. They were given an subcutan injection of Ivomec to control endo and ecto parasites. The average Daily Gain was measured using a digital scale with the capacity of 1000 kg, and the outside air temperature was measured with the maximum and minimum air temperatures Model Weather GuideTM System, Taylor Precision Product, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Two unit thermometers were placed above the canopy of pasture and recorded in the morning at 6.00 to 7.00 AM and the afternoon at 5.00 to 6.00 PM.


The land area was ​​6 hectares with local coconut trees about 50 years old with a spacing of 9x9 meters and planted with koronivia grass. Weeds was controlled with herbicides content actif ingridient of Glyphosat 480 g/l, and processed ready for planting. Furthermore, the land was divided into sub-paddock for the rotational grazing purposes.




There were two grazing systems, a  continuous (SP1) and a rotational (SP2), and three stocking rates has been tested in this study. Rotational grazing was done based on the accumulation of heat units (Growing Degree Days / GDD or DD) during the period of evaluation, and was calculated according the formula by Miller et al (2001): GDD = ∑ [( T.max + T.min)/2-T based]. One phyllochron of B.humidicola grown individualy needs 68.19 DD, lower than those in community needs 130.44 DD (Anis 2008), and the better stages of growth of the grasses to be grazed when they have mature leaves at 3.5 (Manske 2001). Therefor we have decided to determine the time to rotated was 3.5 multiplied by 130.44 DD uquel to 456.54 DD.  Stocking rate consisted of SR1 = 0.77; SR2 = 1.54 and SR3 = 2.31 AU. The treatments were arranged in a split plot design based on the Randomized Block Design. Data were analysed using MiniTab  version 14 and Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test.The measured variabels were the number of the mother plant, tiller number, the dry weight of the crown and root, botanical composition, the average daily gain of cattle and the number of coconut nuts.

Result and discussion

Performance of Coroniva grass pasture


The effect of treatment on the performance of koronivia grass is presented in Table 1. Of all the performance parameters of the koronivia grass of obtained shows the interaction between rotational grazing with the highest stocking rate (SP2-SR3) in this experiment gave the best results. The high number of mother plants and ground tiller may be associated with most of the forage biomass taken away by cattle, causes the less mulch as dead material (Diaz-Filho 2000), causing more amount of light entering and penetrating the soil surface, temperature increased and further stimulated the growth of new tiller from the crown (McMaster et al 2003).

Figure 1. Lengt of fresh root different SP

 Figure 2. Dry root at different SR.


The interaction with the same treatment gave the highest yield in the dry weight of roots and crown components. The results are consistent with previous reports that the increase in the frequency of defoliation followed with an increasing the concentration of TNC in the crown and root (Gittins et al 2010) as energy reserves for regrowth. This phenomenon is a mechanism of plant adaptation to stress of defoliation to ensure regrowth after grazing (Wang et al 2003). Maybe this is only happening on the type of grass that is classified as persistent on heavy grazing (Gittins et al 2010). Furthemore, at the same interaction gives results lower in aerial tiller, which is probably due to most of the parts of the plant shoot has been grazed by cattle and there is no room to grow aerial tiller (Busque and Herrero 2001).


Table 1. The influence of grazing systems and stocking rate on the performance of Coroniva grass pasture.


Grazing System

        Stocking Rate











Mother plant/20 cm2









Ground tiller/20 cm2









Aerial tiller/20 cm2









Root DW (g/10 cm2)









Crown DW(g/10 cm2)









DW= Dry weight;  SP = Grazing systems; SR= Stocking rate;  INT=   interaction between grazing systems and stocking rate.


Botanical composition and ADG of cattle


Botanical composition was used as a measure of pasture persistence due to degradation caused by environmental factors including the effect of grazing animals. The effects of treatments on botanical compositions (%) of pasture and the average daily gain (ADG) of cattle are presented in Table 2.


Table 2. Effects of grazing systems and stocking rate on pasture botanical composition (%) and ADG of cattle


Grazing System

Stocking Rate











Coroniva grass



























Dead materials









ADG (g)









ADG= Average daily gain; DW= Dry weight;  SP = Grazing systems; SR= Stocking rate;  INT=   interaction between SP and SR. h = head.


Rising in stocking rate in the continuous grazing treatment (SP1) causing a lowering in the components koronivia grass, increasing the component of legume, but followed with increasing significantly the portion of weeds and dead materials comparing with rotational grazing (SP2).  Contrary, in the rotational grazing (SP2) there was an increase in the portion of the grass significantly, with markedly lower in legumes and weeds component, and small different in dead material. 


Figure 3. A. Ready for grazing.
After grazing.

 Figure 4. Paddock at Stocking Rate 3 (R= Rotation).


There is no interaction of treatments on ADG of cattle.  Rotational grazing systems provide ADG at 406.30 higher than continuous grazing at 382.30 g/h/d. Unfortunetly, the higher the stocking rate the lower the ADG at 465.65, 387.60 and 338.85 g/ h/d. These results are consistent with those reported previously by Pereira et al (2009) ADG cattle grazing on pasture koronivia grass. ADG at SR3 was low, probably due to the less availability of grass (Fig. 4), since the size of paddock was the same for all stocking rate, eventhough the component (%)  of koronivia gras no different among SR, means that SR3 favore the growth of grass since mother plants and ground tillers were significant higher at this given stocking rate (Tabel 1) which is able to produced  vigorous young plants with high quality as fed (Guenni et al 2008). The high ADG on rotation system might be due to the crude protein content in rotational grazing at 8.09%, which is meets the minimum requirements for ruminants (Coleman et al 2003), higher than 6.27% in continuous grazing as reported by Anis (2009). Despite lower ADG in stockings SR3, this treatment gave the highest results in weight gain per paddock.


Nuts number of coconut


Integration of pasture and cattle in coconut plantation is expected to increase the value of the land productivity. The number of coconut nuts both out and in site the trials are presented in Table 3. Data collecting during the period of July-August 2009 until September-October 2010, but the significant difference of coconut  nuts number start from period of Mei-June 2010 up to end period of evaluation on September-October 2010. The number of coconut nuts in-site trial was significant higher than out-site probably due to the recycling of precious organic manure wastes might have been responsible for conserving ecosystem and thus increasing the fertility of soil (Rika et al 1981; Singh 1994; Rodriguez and Preston 1997) or increasing the efficiency of nitrogen utilization, since this grass when grazed release through roots exudates the chemical substance called brachialactone as a biological nitrification inhibition (Ipinmoroti et al 2008; Subbarao et al 2009), but this phenomenon needs to be elucidate.


Tabel 3.  The average of the number of coconut nuts OUT and IN site trial.

Data collecting





SEM      IN       SEM


July – August 2009


0.016     9,70     0.012


Sept – Oct 2009


0.011     9,00     0.022


January-February 2009


0.116   10,66     0.103


May – June 2010


0.112   15,86     0.172


July – August 2010


0.113   18,18     0.221


Sept – October 2010


0.031   12,66     0.057


Notes : N = Number of coconut trees (50)


Livestock became an integral part of farming system as such. Better utilization of land, water, input and output resources have been observed in the mixed farming model with bullocks, cows, buffaloes and goats as compared to arable farming alone. Further, the employment generation was higher and almost uniform distribution throughout the year compared to in arable farming with more labor employment only during period of agriculture operations (Ramrao et al 2006).



The integration of pasture and cattle into coconut-based farming systems by applying right grazing management lead better farmers income through increasing the net primary production of land in coconut plantations.


Anis S D 2008. Karakteristik dan pola tumbuh  Brachiaria humidicola cv. Tully di bawah tegakan kelapa. Tugas Khusus (Special Task, to fulfill requirement for an PhD candidate) Sekolah Pasca Sarjana, Bogor Agriculture University.

Anis S D 2009. Preliminary observation the quality of Brachiaria humidicola under different grazing systems in coconut plantation.  Final report: Research project funded by Directorat General of Higher Education, Minister of National Education, central Goverment of Indonesia. 

Busque J and Herrero M 2001. Sward structure and patterns of defoliation of signal grass (Brachiaria decumbens) pastures under different cattle grazing intensities.Tropical Grassland 35: 193-204. 

Coleman S W,  Hart S P and Sahlu T 2003. Relationship among forage chemistry, rumination And Retention time with intake and digestibility of hay by goats. Small Ruminant Research 50:129-140. 

Diaz-Filho M B 2000. Growth and Biomass allocation of C4 grasses B. brizantha and B. humidicola under shade. Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brazileira 35: 2335-2341. 

FAO 2009. World Distribution of Coconuts. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Rome. 

Gao Y H,  Luo P,  Wu N,  Chen H and Wang G X 2007. Grazing intensity impacts on carbon sequestration in an Alpine Meadow on the Eastern Tibetan Plateau. Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, 3(6): 642-647. 

Guenni O, Seiter S and Figueroa R 2008. Growth responses of three Brachiaria species to light intensity and nitrogen supply. Tropical Grasslands 42: 75-87 

Gittings C,  Busso C A, Becker G, Ghermandi L and Siffredi G 2010. Defoliation frequency affects morphophysiological traits in the bunchgrass Poaligularis. International  Journal of Experimental Botany 79: 55-68. 

Ipinmoroti R R, Watanabe T and Ito O 2008. Effect of B. humidicola root exudates, rhizosphere soils, moisture and temperature regimes on nitrification inhibition in two volcanic Ash soil in Japan. World Journal of Agricultural  Science 4 (1): 106-113. 

Kaligis D A and Sumolang C 1990. Forage species for coconut plantations in North Sulawesi. ACIAR Proceedings of a workshop Forage for Plantation Crops, Sanur Beach, Bali Indonesia. 27-29 June, 1990. P.45-48. 

Kaligis D A 1998. Performance of pasture species under free grazing in Coconut Plantation. FAO Proceedings. The 6th Meeting of the Regional Working Group on Grazing and Feed Resources for Southeast Asia. Mayon International Hotel. Legaspy City, Philippines. October 5-9. 1998. P. 23-27. 

Manske L L 2001. Well-time grazing can stimulate grass growth and tiller development. North Dakota State University – NDSU. 

McMaster G S, Wilhelm W W, Palic D B,  Porter J R and Jamieson P D 2003. Spring wheat leaf appearance and temperature: Extending the Paradigm. Annals of Botany 91: 697-705. 

Mousel E M, Schacht W H, Zanner C W and  Moser L R 2005.  Effects of Summer grazing strategies on organic reserves and root characteristics of Big Bluestem. Crop Science 45: 2008-2014. 

Rodríguez  L and Preston T R 1997.  Local feed resources and indigenous breeds: fundamental issues in integrated farming systems. Livestock Research for Rural Development, Volume 9 Article #2.  

Pereira J M, Tarre R M, Macedo R and Boddey R M. 2009. Productivity of B.humidicola pastures in Atlantic forest region of Brazil as affected by stocking rate and the presence of a forage legume. Nutural Cyclon Agroecosystem 83 : 179-196. 

Rika I K, Nitis I M and Humphreys L R 1981. Effects of stocking rate on cattle growth, pature production and coconut yield in Bali. Tropical Grasslands, 15:149-157. 

Ramrao W J, Tiwari S P and Singh P 2006. Crop-livestock integrated farming system for the Marginal farmers in rain fed regions of Chhattisgarh in Central India. Livestock Research for Rural Development, Volume 18, Article #102.  

Sondakh L W and Kaligis D A 1990. Prospects for integration of forages for ruminants into coconut platations in North Sulawesi. In: Forage for Plantation Crops. Ed.: H.M. Shelton and W.W. Stur. Proceeding of worshop, Sanur Beach, Bali. Indonesia 27-29 June, 1990. 

Singh K P 1994.  Integrated Farming System - Concept and Scope, Symposium of Resource Management and Crop Productivity. February 16-18 at the CCSHAU, Hissar, India. Pp.69-85. 

Subbarao V G, Nakahara K,  Lascano C E, Berry W L and Ito O 2009. Evidence for biological nitrification inhibition in Brachiaria humidicola pasture. Agriculture Science 106 (41): 17302-17307. 

Wang R Z,  Gao Q and Chen Q S 2003. Effects of climate change on biomass and biomass and biomass allocation in Leymuschinensis (Poaceae) along the Notrh-East China Transect (NECT). Jounal of Arid Environment 54: 653-665.

Received 17 January 2015; Accepted 17 June 2015; Published 2 July 2015

Go to top