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Bali cattle
The Economic Importance
Disease of Bali cattle
- Jembrana disease
- Anthrax
- Malignant Cattarrhal Fever
- Haemorrhagic Septicaemia
- Brulellosis
- Bali Ziekte
- Fasciollasis
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 Bali cattle are indigenous to Indonesia and were domesticated directly from wild banteng (Bos javanicus syn. Bos sondaicus syn. Bibos banteng).



Origin of Cattle

The origin of Bali cattle, Bos javanicus d’Alton, in Indonesia, is a part of the complex evolution of all cattle over a long time. The earliest known type of wild cattle, Bos acutifrons comes from a part of a fossil found in India (Payne 1970). The wild cattle then developed into to streams: the aurochs (Bos primigenius) that inhabited the forests of Asia, North Africa and Europe; and the urus (Bos namadicus) found in India and other parts of Asia. Most views expressed on the origin of the cattle focus on the auroch as the foundation of most of the cattle species and breeds developed in the world. The auroch, although an ancient cattle type, has survived into historical memory as the last recorded animal was killed in a Polish forest in the seventeenth century. They were large animals with enormous horns, the latter a characteristic found in modern cattle species.

Very little is known of the origin of Bos (Bibos) type cattle in Southeast Asia. The geographical distribution of Bos (Bibos) types of cattle suggests that the centre of domestication was Indo-China and Malaysia, later spreading to Bali. The other centre of domestication was probably Assam-Burma and led to the development of the gayal. Indonesia probably became the centre of Bali cattle domestication some ten to five thousand years ago. The process of domestication probably started in prehistoric times on Bali and Java. There are two types of Bali cattle in Indonesia, a domestic type, called Bali cattle and a wild type named banteng. There are not many wild bantengs left in Indonesia. They are now mainly found in the national parks such as Ujung Kulon and Baluran.

The uniqueness of Bali cattle

Bali cattle are different from all other species of cattle as results of their origin and evolution. They will crossbreed with European cattle, Bos Taurus, but the male offspring as reported by Jellinek et al. (1980), is usually infertile. Bali cattle do have some distinct characteristics which have made them the cattle breed of choice in many parts of Indonesia. Difference between Bali cattle and Bos Taurus and Bos indicus may influence their responses to physiological and pathological events such Jembrana diseaseand may explain the variation seen in the susceptibility observed in the field. Some of the unique differences of Bali cattle from other cattle which make them valuable assets in Indonesia are:



Smaller than Zebu and European cattle


Strickingly uniform markings


Timid and can become wild readily


High conception rates


Ability to stop lactating and survive a bad dry season

Feed utilization

Better able to utilize low quality feed base

Heat tolerance

Better heat tolerance than buffalo and other cattle

Water turnover

Lower water turnover than Bos Taurus

Meat quality

Marked fat deposition sites and limited fat in muscle mass

Disease pattern

Stated to be resistant to external and internal parasites except liver fluke, Fasciola gigantica. Increased resistance to malignant catarrhal fever and Jembrana disease


Bali island is recognized as the main source of pure Bali cattle. From Bali, they spread to other parts of Indonesia, and to Malaysia and Australia. Bali cattle were imported to Lombok island by the ancient monarch and Lombok subsequently became the second source of pure Bali cattle. They were introduced to South Sulawesi in the 1890s and to Java in 1907. They performed satisfactorily in South Sulawesi and Mojoagung, East Java, but unsuccessfully in West Java, due to malignant catarrhal fever, a virus infection carried by sheep. Bali cattle were then introduced to Timor, Sumbawa, the Moluccas, Irian Jaya (Papua), Sumatera and Kalimantan.

Further reading:

Bali cattle : Origins in Indonesia. J.W. Copland. Jembrana Disease and the Bovine Lentiviruses. ACIAR PROCEEDING No 75



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