Thailand has 51.3 million ha land of which 41% is under cultivation of various crops, and 78% of the agricultural area is rainfed (Office of Agricultural Statistics, 2014). Most mixed cattle-crop producers utilised communal land for cattle grazing. Total area of communal land in the country is 369,218 ha.
For native cattle in the mixed cattle-crop systems in the Northern, North-eastern and Central regions, natural grass and crop residues based feeding systems are used. Cattle graze all year round on the roadsides or paddy land or upland crop field before or after harvesting season. Crop residues and by-products including rice and maize straws, rice stubble and cassava chips, are also used as sources of roughage to feed cattle. When the cropping season begins during the rainy season, most of the land is used for rice and crop plantations. The cattle are often fed with rice straw with little extra concentrate or mineral supplements. For beef cattle in these regions, cattle are provided with cut and carry pasture or grazed on improved pasture and supplementary of crop by-product and/or compound feed.
In the Southern region of Thailand, cattle graze under plantations such as rubber, palm oil, orchard or roadsides. Cattle are supplemented with cut and carry fodder grass, fodder tree leaves, palm kernel and palm frond.
For commercial/intensive fattening systems, intensive confine feedlot feeding systems are used. Cattle are fed on compound concentrate feed with minimum quantity of roughage fibre in a ratio of 70:30.