Specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have asked successful Kandal cattle farm i7 Ranch Cambodia to expand its cattle breeding programmes. The ministry is seeking to lead the transition from traditional family-based cattle raising to commercial production, using artificial insemination (AI).

It encourages the ranch to cooperate with the ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production to step up cross-breeding of imported cattle with local animals.

Hor Malin, ministry secretary of state, offered her congratulations to Srey Chanthou, i7 general manager, for her hard work and commitment to the ranch.

“On behalf Minister of Agriculture Dith Tina, I offer my congratulations on the transformation of what was once remote, barren land into one of the largest, most successful cattle breeding farms in the Kingdom. We hope these heifers will be the capital that provides the breeds we need to develop animal husbandry in Cambodia,” she said.

Malin led a team of specialists from the production directorate to the December 17-18 cattle exhibition and auctions which were held at the i7 Ranch.

The auction was attended by farmers from several provinces and featured several expensive imported breeds, including Praman, Cambo-Pintado, Nellore-Pintado, Wagyu, Angus, Brangus, Beef Master, Holstein and Indo-Brazil. The breeds on offer included cattle raised for meat, dairy cows and cows for breeding.

In addition, the ranch held a show of local cattle from many farms in Cambodia, as well as a competition of cows and bulls by breed, age and color. PJ Budler, the director-general of Global Livestock Solutions and an International Cattle Referee from the US, was evaluator and judge.

“I have seen many excellent breeds at today’s auction. I am also pleased to see the number of experts from the US who are present to demonstrate the procedures of raising and selecting different breeds. This dovetails beautifully with the ministry’s desire for new hybrid animals that will help our farmers to expand their businesses,” said Malin.

“Ideally, cooperation between the ministry and the private sector will lead to future successes. I urge i7 Ranch to cooperate with the General Department of Animal Health and Production to expand this work, both domestically and abroad. As the i7 Ranch grows, we will be able to export,” she added.

Srey Chanthou, general manager of the ranch, announced his intention to work more closely with the ministry to standardise cattle production in Cambodia.

He plans to breed cows on the ranch using artificial insemination. Once the operation is working smoothly, he intends to offer free of charge breeding to farmers from across Cambodia.

He said development of the free-breeding programme will begin next year. The first year would be focused on training staff in artificial insemination techniques.

“We will breed our expensive imported female cows with local bulls. To make this happen, however, we will need to develop our human resources. When we have the resources, we will train people in every province, and we will buy back their cows,” he added.

He explained that it will take some time to establish the programme, as a strong network needs to be created. I7 cannot give away semen straws, and its 500 imported cows are valued at up to $250,000.

“We have to form a community first, so we can carefully evaluate which cows will be bred with which bulls. Eventually, this strategy will bring huge benefits to the agricultural sector. Cattle farmers will be the greatest recipients – the procedures we are talking about cost almost nothing, but can guarantee the most valuable animals,” he said.