Cambodian local cattle
These small cattle are very hardy and docile, just so well suited to the heat, parasites and the low quality fodder often found in grazing areas of Cambodia. This picture is from a recent trip to Kampong Speu, Cambodia to establish my tropical legume trial as an inter row planting.
More often than not, young boys are not attending school to tend to the herd. The local people grow no grass or legume close to their houses so the young boys need to take the animals out every day to forage for feed across a large area. Generally the feed is of a very low quality but worst of all the kids don’t go to school. Their circumstances need to change. Can forages close to their village help?
Xieng Khouang, Lao PDR 2013
Laos is a remarkably beautiful country. I was fortunate to see just a small section of it around Xieng Khouang in November 2013 for a consultancy to investigate the options for a beef cattle development on what was a former Soviet dairy farm in the 1970’s or 1980’s? Hey, note the large jars in front of the building? Those were relocated by the Soviets from the many “Plain of Jars” sites for which the area is famous.
The landscape is elevated at about 1200 metres above sea level and has glorious cool days from about November to February. There are claims it was a former lake bed which was lifted in an ancient geological event.
I was very interested in the grass species on the farm, which included what I identified as possibly paspalum plicatulum which was likely introduced by the Soviets in the 1970’s to cope with the acid, low fertility and seasonally water logged soils. However when it is left ungrazed it will become unpalatable to cattle and would require a slash to get some young growth occurring. A rotational grazing system would also make better use of the grass rather then letting it get tall and unpalatable.
Likely paspalum plicatulum
Please share your experiences with agriculture in Lao PDR.