There are several cattle production systems in Thailand depending on the investment and potential of producers. However, the cattle industry in Thailand generally can be divided into three main systems:
- Traditional cow-calf mixed cattle-crop system (averaged 6.8 head per household) is practiced by small cattle households in North-eastern and Central Thailand (Lambertz et al., 2012). Beef animals, mainly native breeds, are mainly raised under extensive grazing in the communal land and are fed with crop residues without supplementation. The efficiency in beef production of this system is low. Farmers normally sell their cattle when they need cash or for income generation to build up wealth or savings, the coverage of expected and unexpected expenses. Cattle manure is used maintain soil fertility in rice production. In this system, the lack of attention by farmers results in low birth weights and high mortality rates, particularly among young animals (Lambertz et al., 2012).
- Semi-intensive system practiced mainly by market oriented producers. Main breeds for this system are at least 50% Brahman crossbreds. Cattle are fed on grass and rice straw, and supplemented with concentrate for three months in order to increase body muscle. Cattle are also often fattened with pineapple waste as a roughage source.
- Commercial feedlot (50-100 head) mainly practiced by commercial producers who produce prime and high quality markets with only 1% market share. Breeds are often European crossbred steers are fattened with concentrate, silage and brewery grain for 8-10 months and reached 550-600 kg body weight (Yimmongkol, 2009).