Livestock Research for Rural Development 15 (11) 2003

Citation of this paper

Moringa oleifera leaf meal can replace cottonseed cake in the concentrate mix fed with Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay for growing sheep

 

Murro J K, Muhikambele* V R M and Sarwatt* S V

 

Uyole Agricultural Research Institute, Mbeya, Tanzania
*Department of Animal Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture
PO Box 3087, Morogoro, Tanzania
svsarwatt@yahoo.com


Abstract

Moringa oleifera leaf meal replaced cottonseed cake  (0, 33.3, 66.6 and 100%) in a supplement containing 76 to 80% hominy meal (maize bran), which was fed (270 g/day) to Black Head Persian male sheep receiving Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay and a mineral mixture as the basal ration.  Two trials were conducted. The first was a growth study in which feed intake and weight gain were measured for a period of 84 days. The second was a digestion study.

 

Hay dry matter intake (57 to 60% of the diet), dry matter digestibility and live weight gain were higher, but feed conversion was poorer when Moringa oleifera leaf meal replaced all the cottonseed cake.

 

It was concluded that Moringa oleifera leaf meal could serve as an alternative protein source to cottonseed cake in sheep rations based on maize bran and Rhodes grrass hay

 

Key words: Cottonseed cake, digestibility, growth, Moringa, sheep
 


Introduction


The Moringaceae is a single genus family with 14 known species. Of these, Moringa oleifera is the most widely known and utilised species. It is native to sub-Himalayan regions of India and is now naturalised in many countries in Africa, Arabia, SE Asia, Caribbean Islands and South America (Ramachandran et al 1980). Moringa is a fast-growing  tree which can reach 12 m in height at maturity, yielding up to 120 tonnes/ha/yr when planted very densely for use as forage (Makkar and Becker 1997). As Moringa oleifera trees have a loose canopy, which prevents excessive crop shading, they are useful for alley cropping. Foliage can be regularly pruned and left in the field to improve soil fertility or fed to livestock in a cut-and-carry system. The leaves are highly nutritious containing significant quantities of Vitamins A, B and C, Ca, Fe, P and protein. Laboratory analysis (Makkar and Becker 1997) showed that the protein concentration in leaves is about 27% with negligible amounts of tannins (1 to23 g/kg) in all fractions of the Moringa oleifera plant and high levels of sulphur-containing amino acids. Young leaves are used by farmers in India as cattle fodder to improve milk yields (Bostock-Wood 1992) and in Zimbabwe as animal feed (Clarke 1994). Both large and small-scale farmers in Tanzania grow Moringa oleifera for extraction of seed oil, so there is potential to use the foliage for feeding livestock (Sarwatt et al 2002).

 

Despite the high CP content of Moringa oleifera leaf meal, there are few reports in the literature on feeding trials with livestock. In Tanzania, livestock are regularly fed a concentrate mixture containing hominy meal and a protein meal with low quality roughage in the dry season. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects on feed intake, digestibility and growth of Black Head Persian sheep of substituting Moringa leaf meal for cottonseed cake in the concentrate mixture.


 

Materials and methods

 

Treatments and design

The treatments were 4 levels of  moringa leaf meal (MLM) substituting cottonseed cake (CSC)  (0, 33.3, 66.6 and 100%) in a supplement (Table 1) fed with Rhodes grass hay (Chloris gayana). The other component of the supplement was Hominy meal (consists of maize bran and the germ). Twenty-four Black Head Persian male sheep (initial weight 15.9+ 2.2 kg) were randomly allocated to the 4 treatments in a completely randomised block design with 6 animals on each treatment. 

 

Table 1. Proportions (%) of MLM and CSC in the four supplements

 

Treatments

M0

M33

M66

M100

Hominy meal

79

77.7

76.8

75.7

Minerals 2 2 2 2

MLM

0

7.4

14.8

22.3

CSC

19

12.7

6.4

0

 

 

Feed preparation

Mature Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) was cut and baled in September (late dry season) from the University farm, and stored in a well ventilated place. Moringa oleifera leaves were collected from tree branches that were cut and air-dried for 24 h before removal of the partially dried leaves by threshing. They were left to dry under shade on concrete floors. The dried leaves were then ground in a hammer mill and stored in sacks. Decorticated cottonseed cake was purchased in the market, ground in a feed mill and bagged ready for compounding with the other feedstuffs. Hominy meal  was purchased from a local maize miller. The Rhodes grass hay was chopped in a forage chopper before feeding to reduce length and minimise wastage.

 
Feed intake and live weight gain study

A preliminary period of 14 days was allowed for the animals to get used to the experimental diets. They were then treated against internal and external parasites before the experiment started. The animals were weighed weekly throughout the experimental period of 12 weeks, at 07.00 h before the morning feed. They were kept and fed in individual pens fitted with facilities for feeding hay, supplement and water.  It was assumed that each animal would consume about 4% of its body weight as daily total DM intake and that about 30% of the intake should come from the supplement, in order to support moderate growth rates of about 50 g/day. On this basis the supplement allowance was set at 270 g/day, which was consumed completely. The hay was offered at 600 g/day, which was estimated to be about 20% above ad libitum. Leftover hay was removed before the morning feed, weighed and sub-sampled for DM and chemical analysis.

 

Digestible organic matter (DOM) was determined using the two stage in vitro digestibility technique as described by Tilley and Terry (1963). Digestible energy (DE) and metabolisable energy (ME) were then estimated from the equations of Devendra and McLeroy (1987) thus:

 

DE (MJ) = 19.2*DOM (kg)

ME (MJ) = 0.82*DE (MJ)

Hence:

ME (MJ) = 0.82*19.2*DOM (kg).

 

The P:E (protein: energy ) ratio was calculated as crude protein intake (g/d) divided by ME (MJ/d). Feed conversion ratios(FCR) was obtained by dividing the daily DM intakes (g/d) by daily weight gain (g/d).

 
Digestibility study

 

After the live weight gain study, a digestibility and N-balance trial was carried out. Twelve sheep were randomly selected from the animals in the first study, treated against internal parasites, and randomly allocated to the 4 treatments. Each sheep was placed in a separate metabolism cage, which allowed for separate collection of faeces and urine.  A preliminary period of 10 days was adopted followed by a 7-day collection period. The amounts of hay and supplement offered were calculated on the same basis as in Experiment 1. Water was freely available.

 

During the collection period, the total faecal production for each sheep was collected and weighed at 08.00 h. After thorough mixing, about 10% of each day's collection was stored in air-tight plastic bags in a deep freeze at -5oC. Subsequently, the samples collected over the 7-day period for each sheep were combined. About 20% of the fresh sample for each animal was retained for DM  and N determination. The rest was oven-dried at 60oC for 48 h, ground to pass through a 1 mm sieve and stored in plastic bags for chemical analysis.

 

Total urine output over 24 h was collected in individual plastic containers with 20 ml of copper sulphate solution to trap gaseous nitrogen, sieved to remove foreign materials, mixed thoroughly and a 10% sub-sample stored in air-tight sample bottles in a deep freeze. Samples collected over the 7 days for each sheep were bulked before analysis for N.

 
Chemical  analyses

 

All dried samples of feeds, refusals and faeces were milled through a 1-mm screen before analysis for DM, organic matter (OM), N, ash, ether extract (EE), crude fibre (CF), Ca and P according to the standard procedures of AOAC (1990).

 

Statistical analysis

 

Data from digestibility, intake and live weight gain studies were analysed using statistical  software (SAS 1990). The live weight gain study data were analysed based on the following model:

Yij = m + Ti + b(Xij - x) + eij

Where:

            Yij = dependent variables

            m = general effect (overall mean)

            Ti = effect of the ith treatment

            b = regression coefficient (from regression of dependent variable on initial body weight)

            Xij = initial body weight of the ith sheep

            x = mean of initial body weights of all sheep

            eij = random effect.

 

The following model was followed in analysing the digestibility data:

Yij = m + Ti + eij

Where:

            Yij = dependent variables

            m = general effect (overall mean)

            Ti = effect of the ith treatment

            eij = random effect.

 

 

Results and discussion

 
Chemical composition of the feeds and experimental diets

 

The hay used in this study was low in crude protein and ether extract, and high in cell wall components. The higher levels of cell wall components in the hay refusals indicate that the sheep had selected the more nutritious components.

Table 2. Chemical composition of the feedstuffs used in the experiments (as % of DM except for DM which is as % of air-dry material)

 

Feeds

Refusals

Homily meal

MLM

CSC

Hay

M0

M33

M66

M100

DM

94.1

93.4

86.9

93.5

91.8

90.8

91.6

90.5

CP

12.0

27.7

35.3

2.5

 2.0

2.1

2.1

1.9

CF

4.3

11.5

23.2

35.1

38.1

39.1

41.8

39.3

EE

13.1

5.2

9.1

2.6

0.5

0.3

0.5

0.5

ASH

5.0

14.3

6.2

7.7

5.1

5.1

4.6

5.2

OM

95.0

85.8

93.8

92.3

95.0

94.9

95.4

94.8

NFE

59.7

34.6

13.2

45.6

46.3

44.2

42.7

43.7

ADF

11.1

20.5

25.3

50.6

53.3

51.7

54.8

49.9

NDF

30.6

28.6

32.4

74.6

78.9

75.9

76.2

78.6

 

 

Table 3. Chemical composition of the experimental diets

Parameter

Treatments

M0

M33

M66

M100

DM, %

89.9

90.2

88.9

88.3

As % of DM        

CP

14.5

14.7

14.8

14.4

CF

9.3

7.6

7.9

6.4

EE

7.1

7.6

7.5

7.4

ASH

6.0

7.2

7.1

8.7

OM

83.9

83.0

81.8

79.6

NFE

53.1

53.3

51.8

51.3

NDF

39.4

35.5

39.4

34.2

ADF

12.2

12.5

12.7

12.9

ME, MJ/kg DM

13.6

13.6

15.1

13.8

Ca, mg/kg

2973

3952

4373

6205

P, mg/kg

8376

8526

8922

8086

 
Feed intake
 

Intake of hay, and therefore of the total diet,  increased in accordance with the degree of substitution of CSC by MLM (Table 4). This could be due to an improved rumen ecosystem due to introduction of MLM, leading to higher intakes.  Addition of fresh grass (Guttierrez  and Elliott 1984) or leucaena hay (Kabatange and  Shayo 1991) to a diet low in N and of low digestibility,  improved the rumen ecosystem and fibre digestibility in sheep.

 

Table 4. Effect of replacing cottonseed cake (CSC) with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MLM) on feed intake (DM basis) of Black Head Persian sheep (Least square means SEM)

 

Treatments

M0

M33

M66

M100

DM intake, g/day

 

 

Hay, g/d

3239.3b

3378.8b

33712.3b

3558.9a

Supplement, g/d

2454.1

2453.9

2425.4

2423.9

Total, g/d

5688.6b

5828.6b

57911.4b

5978.3a

Total, g /kg W0.75

64.21.01b

64.80.95b

67.21.3a

68.20.96a

P:E ratio#

8.800.04a

8.860.04a

8.270.05c

8.530.04b

ab Means within rows without letter in common are significantly different (P>0.05).
#
Protein: energy ratio (g/MJ of ME)

Live weight gain

 

Growth rate was higher when MLM replaced all the CSC in the supplement (Table 5). Considering the type of hay fed, the rates of live weight gain (52 to 62 g/d) are acceptable and fall in the range of 40 to 65 g/d reported for BHP sheep from birth to 72 weeks on Chloris gayana hay supplemented with Leucaena leucocephala (Das and Sendalo 1991; Kifaro et al 1996). Surprisingly, the feed conversion was poorer on the diets of M66 and M100 compared with M0 and M33.

 

Table 5. Effect of replacing cottonseed cake (CSC) with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MLM) on live weight gain of sheep fed a basal diet of Rhodes grass hay (Least square means SEM)
 
Treatments
 

M0

M33

M66

M100

SEM
Live weight, kg
 
 
 
Initial
16.3
16.9
16.8
16.3
0.48
Final
20.7
19.4
21.5
21.5
1.74
Growth rate, g/d
51.9a
52.7a
56.6a
62.1b
3.10

FCR

10.80.1a

10.50.1a

13.20.1b

13.80.1b

 

ab Means within rows without letter in common are significantly different (P>0.05).
FCR Feed conversion ratio: kg feed DM/kg live weight gain
.

Digestibility

 

Digestibility of DM, OM and cell wall constituents were higher on the diet with the M100 supplement compared with diets having lower levels of MLM (Table 6). 

Table 6. Effect of replacing cottonseed cake (CSC) with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) on nutrient digestibility (%) of a basal diet of Rhodes grass hay

 

Treatments

 

M0

M33

M66

M100

SEM

DM

60.4b

67.8ab

62.7ab

70.1a

2.50

OM

57.0

64.9

59.3

61.9

4.60

Crude protein

65.0

65.6

69.6

68.0

1.43

NDF

66.4b

72.6ab

69.4ab

75.2a

2.07

ADF

64.4b

71.5ab

67.8ab

73.5a

2.21

ab Means within rows without letter in common are significantly different (P>0.05).

 

 

Nitrogen balance

 

There were no significant (P>0.05) differences in N intake and N utilisation (Table 7).

Table 7. Effect of replacing cottonseed cake (CSC) with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MLM) on nitrogen utilisation

 

Treatments

 

M0

M33

M66

M100

SEM

N balance, g/day

 

 

 

 

 

Intake

6.22

6.48

6.67

6.42

0.68

Retained

1.51

1.75

1.50

1.40

0.16

N retained as % of:

N intake

20.8

27.5

30.5

22.5

6.05

N digested

29.2

38.1

39.3

34.9

7.69

 


Conclusions

 

Replacing cottonseed cake with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (20% of the diet) in a diet for growing sheep based on maize bran resulted in a 20% improvement of growth rate but poorer feed conversion.

 


Acknowledgements

 

The authors thank the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) through Tanzania Agricultural Research Project (TARP II) for funding this study. In addition, we thank the Department of Animal Science and Production of Sokoine University of Agriculture, for providing the experimental animals and laboratory analyses.



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Received 11 July 2003; Accepted 18 September 2003

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