Cattle production in Cambodia is primarily raised in traditional mixed crop-livestock systems by smallholder farmers. . An average smallholder farmer raises between 2 to 10 head. Approximately 90% of cattle and buffalo is produced by smallholder farmers. It is reported by an official from Department of Animal Health and Production that there are only around 60 large commercial farms around the country.
Harding et al. (2007) reported that there are two basic systems of cattle production in Cambodia, but each has the same constraint.
In the lowland areas (90% of cattle), the land is dominated by rice. Cattle spend most of the wet season tethered near the house or on the side of the roads to avoid damaging the rice paddy. In the dry season, cattle in the lowland areas graze on the rice stubble, where they actually gain condition. This low input system is characterised by low output and poor reproductive performance. There is more land available in upland areas. However, a significant proportion of this land is unavailable for cattle production because the government has conceded it to private companies. This is one of the reasons that in spite of the land availability, only around 10 per cent of total cattle are in upland areas.
The single largest constraint faced by cattle producers in Cambodia is feed availability. This is linked to the labour constraint faced by smallholders and the availability of grazing land. A significant expansion in cattle numbers in the country is unlikely to be a viable option unless there is a significant intensification of production and a shift away from the current smallholder subsistence based production system (Harding et al., 2007). Instead poliproductivity, turnoff and output.
To increase cattle production and incomes, Miranda et al. (2011) recommend two management strategies for smallholder farmers in Cambodia. The first is to fatten cattle for two to four months before sale to increase live weight, condition, meat yields and sale price. The second is to improve cow-calf production and therefore calving rates, Good quality feeds must be provided to cows during the lactation [especially early lactation]. Weaning of calves at an early age (40 to 70 days) will help cows to return to oestrus and conceive during the breeding season (Miranda et al., 2011).