Trukai currently operates a commercial cattle production unit at Erap, half of which has been taken over by rice, with development production and training area at Gabmatzung (which was formerly at Clean Water).
Just like rice, the cattle production area is used as a model to exhibit what is possible with agriculture in PNG.
The basis of the Erap herd of 2000 head is Bos indicus, with the original bloodlines from imported dual-purpose Javanese Brahman. The progressive change is to use imported Australian white or red cattle semen of the American Brahman types. The American Brahman is a larger bodied animal and under ideal conditions will produce fast growing cattle reaching a kill weight of 450-500kgs live weight at 2 to 2 ½ years.
The herd selection criteria place strong emphasis on docility and suitability to the environment. Large cattle also have a higher nutritional requirement to meet their genetic potential and this will not always be met by the buyers of the Trukai animals. As a large number of heifers and young bulls have been supplied to new or expanding farmers in several provinces, another aspect of selection has been the ease of calf birth by the cow, as there are very few veterinary officers present in the locations where cattle are sent.
The Erap herd also exposes all animals to less than ideal pasture intake and all animals are pre-conditioned to foraging for food and are adept at surviving when pasture becomes less available.
The myth of low fertility in Brahman type cattle has been replaced with conception and calving percentages in excess of 90%, and this attribute being spread to the increasing beef herds in PNG presents optimism for an expansion of the cattle industry.
Various grazing and forage crops will be evaluated now that much of the Erap land area turns into cropping. Knowledge on pasture production, suitable legumes to supplement soil fertility and animal nutrition, and the utilization of new silage and feeding techniques are also shared with the farming community.