Postgraduate candidate update

Several UNE PhD and PhDI candidates have provided an update on their recent activities, and plans for the remainder of 2019.

Mr Alipio de Almeida (PhD)

In August and September, Alipio travelled to Indonesia with NT DPIR colleagues Dr Kieren McCosker and Mr Arthur Cameron to participate in animal enrolment activity in the three PalmCow provinces (detailed further on page 3).

This trip gave Alipio first-hand experience of the cattle-palm production system, and the opportunity to build closer working relationships with Kieren and Arthur, and Indonesian colleagues in the animal production team across all three provinces.

Mr Alipio de Almeida pictured during animal enrolment activity in South Sumatra, August 2019.  Photo: Kieren McCosker

Mr Alipio de Almeida pictured during animal enrolment activity in South Sumatra, August 2019. Photo: Kieren McCosker

Mr Zenal Asikin (PhDI)

In April and May, Zenal conducted surveys on cattle households to obtain information on: (a) innovation; (b) crop-livestock integration; and (c) derivation of business models. The livestock household survey by BPS-Statistics Indonesia will be used support the results of these surveys. 

Zenal has begun to analyse the distribution of data amongst certain smallholder groups, including those already using innovative practices by farm size, type of market served, etc.

For the remainder of 2019, Zenal will continue establishing a typology of smallholders through this data analysis, and then start to identify Business Models. He will also be thinking about research end-users, and possibilities for publication and use in policy advice. 

Stakeholder meetings during data collection.  Photo: Zenal Asikin

Stakeholder meetings during data collection. Photo: Zenal Asikin

Ms Febri Ariyanti (PhDI)

Recently, Febri has had the opportunity to participate in scaling research training activities and field visits, led by Associate Professor Julian Prior. This has helped develop Febri’s skill in Focus Group Discussion and interview technique, which she has used subsequently to collect data from farmer groups, Dinas Peternakan, Artificial Insemination (AI) staff, and extension workers.

Febri has also had the opportunity to participate in Commcare training for survey form design, and will be using the Commcare app to collect data for her Innovation Project.

More recently, Febri has been involved in CropCow animal enrolment activity (page 10).

Her objectives for the rest of 2019 include completing a baseline survey, and to begin applying the breeding tools that form the basis of her Innovation.

Interviewing staff of ‘Banyumulek’.  Photo: Febri Ariyanti

Interviewing staff of ‘Banyumulek’. Photo: Febri Ariyanti

Ms Jori Bremer (PhD)

Jori arrived in Indonesia in September 2019 for an extended field trip, and will be in South Kalimantan for much of her time until early November.

Jori’s fieldwork will involve the BKB commercial oil palm plantation in this province, and she will also be working with neighbouring smallholder farmers. Pak Wahyu Darsono from BKB has been providing Jori with extensive advice and support in planning her local activities.

Jori’s fieldwork objectives include:

  • Understanding cattle management for smallholder plasma farmers, including when are cattle allowed to graze freely, are they housed or not, what supplementary feed do they receive, etc. This objective will be completed through interviews with 30 smallholder farmers, assisted by Roshif, a student from ULM.

  • Making a soil profile, which will be the basis for building Jori’s simulation model. This activity will involve having two trenches dug, and analysing chemical and physical soil properties.

  • Obtaining soil climate data for the study location, the results of which will also contribute to the simulation model.

  • Learning to identify and judge the biomass of the oil palm understory, in preparation for future field visits where this skill will be essential.

  • Selecting sites for upcoming soil sampling and understory identification and sampling. Jori’s aim is to select sites with similar oil palm management but a range of grazing pressures. This includes low to high pressure, but also sites under smallholder as well as commercial cattle management.

Ms Jori Bremer visiting a cattle-palm integration site during a previous field trip to Indonesia.  Photo: Jori Bremer

Ms Jori Bremer visiting a cattle-palm integration site during a previous field trip to Indonesia. Photo: Jori Bremer

Mr Tian Jihadhan Wankar (PhDI)

Tian has recently completed a consumer survey at butcher’s shops and supermarkets in Yogyakarta, working closely with the owners of the shops and enumerators to collect data for his Innovation Project.

A similar survey will be completed in Bandung during October and November, 2019, working closely with Tian’s industry co-supervisor Mr Yudi Guntara Noor.

Once this survey is completed, Tian will spend the remainder of 2019 working closely with his Indonesian and Australian supervisory team to analyse the data he has collected, and identify trends and discuss the implications for his Project.

Enumerators have been working with Tian to complete consumer interviews in Jogyakarta.  Photo: Tian Jihadhan Wankar

Enumerators have been working with Tian to complete consumer interviews in Jogyakarta. Photo: Tian Jihadhan Wankar

Mr Fahrul Irawan (PhD)

In June 2019, Fahrul commenced a survey of cattle operations in NTB (Sumbawa and West Sumbawa), to establish the impact of toxic plants on enterprise performance, as well as current best practice management in eastern Indonesia.

This survey aims to profile management strategies used by farmers to manage breeders being fed using Leucaena. The goal is to better understand the incidence of toxicity, which strategies are utilised to overcome toxicity effects, and how successful these are.

The symptoms of Leucaena toxicity may be caused by consumption of other toxic plants. Consequently, a control group of farmers from the same regions, who do not feed Leucaena to their cattle, is also being interviewed to provide an indication of enterprise performance differences from Leucaena growers. Fahrul hopes to learn whether other toxic plants could be causing what are thought to be symptoms of Leucaena toxicity.

The surveys is being completed via face-to-face interviews. All questions were built in Commcare, and the survey will be completed in October 2019.

Mr Fahrul Irawan (L) interviewing Pak Made Riga, who uses Leucaena for breeding cows in Sumbawa district.  Photo: Fahrul Irawan

Mr Fahrul Irawan (L) interviewing Pak Made Riga, who uses Leucaena for breeding cows in Sumbawa district. Photo: Fahrul Irawan