Livestock Research for Rural Development 16 (6) 2004

Citation of this paper

Moringa oleifera and cottonseed cake as supplements for smallholder dairy cows fed Napier grass

 

S V Sarwatt, M S Milang'ha, F P Lekule and N Madalla

 

Department of Animal Science and Production, Sokoine University of Agriculture,
PO Box 3004, Morogoro, Tanzania
svsarwatt@yahoo.com



Abstract

 

Two experiments were carried out to evaluate the nutritive value of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM). In experiment 1, the effect of substituting Moringa oleifera for cottonseed cake (CSC) on milk yield and composition of cross bred cows fed napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) as basal diet was determined. In experiment 2, dry matter degradability (DMD) of MOLM and CSC in the rumen was determined using a nylon bag technique. Other components of supplementary rations were maize bran and minerals. Dietary treatments used in this experiment were 0.0, 0.55, 1.11 and 1.65 kg DM/day of MOLMas substitute for CSC levels of 1.23, 0.82, 0.41 and 0.00 kg DM. Four individually confined lactating dairy cows with body weights averaging 347 ± 22 kg were allocated to four dietary treatments in a balanced 4 x 4 Latin Square Design.

 

When CSC was substituted with MOLM  milk yield was significantly increased.  There were no effects of substituting CSC with MOLM on total solids, fat, milk protein and ash contents of the milk. MOLM had higher DMD (820 g/kgDM) than CSC (697 g/kg DM). DM degradability of MOLM was higher than CSC.

 

It is concluded that up to 1.65 kg DM of MOLM could substitute for 1.23 CSC in dairy cow diets without affecting the milk yield. For best performance a combination of the two with lower levels of MOLM gave higher milk yield than either protein source fed alone.

 

Keywords: Dry matter degradability, Milk yield, Milk composition, Moringa oleifera



Introduction

 

The major nutritional limitation often encountered in feeding dairy cows in Tanzania and elsewhere in the tropics is the poor quality and quantity of the feeds available leading to deficiencies of both energy and protein (Mannetje 't 1984). The situation is exacerbated during the dry season where natural pastures have matured, with low contents of protein and available energy. Therefore protein supplementation is often important to improve livestock performance and this clearly needs to be done according to requirements of the animal and the balance of other nutrients available.

 

Cottonseed cake has been widely and successfully utilised as a protein supplement for ruminants (McDonald et al 1997). However, the prices of cottonseed cake and other oil cakes have been rising continuously in recent years, while availability is often erratic due to export to neighbouring countries. Recently there has been an increased interest in the utilisation of the tree Moringaoleifera, commonly known as horseradish tree or drumstick tree, as a protein source for livestock (Makkar and Becker 1997; Sarwatt et al 2002). It is a multipurpose tree of significant economic importance with industrial and medicinal uses (Morton 1991). The leaves contain high concentrations of crude protein, essential vitamins, calcium, iron and proteins (Makkar and Becker 1997: Gidamis et al 2003). Unfortunately there is little information available on the use of this tree as a livestock fodder, especially as an alternative protein supplement for milk production.

 

The objective of the present study was therefore to evaluate the effect of substituting Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) for cottonseed cake on milk yields and milk composition of dairy cows and to determine and compare the dry matter degradability of these two high protein feed ingredients.



Materials and Methods

 
Animals and their management

 

Four individually confined crossbred lactating dairy cows (Zebu x Friesian) in the peak of their second lactation with average body weights of 347 ± 22 kg were used. One week before the commencement of each of the experiments, all animals were treated with a broad spectrum deworming agent Milsan (Levamisole and Oxclozanide, Interchem Pharma Ltd., Moshi, Tanzania) according to the manufacturers instructions. The animals were monitored for worm re-infection at monthly intervals by examining faecal samples. External parasites were controlled by spraying once a week with Dominex (Alphecypemethrin, Agrochemicals Association (K) Ltd), a broad-spectrum acaricide for control of ticks. The cows were tested for presence of mastitis using the California Mastitis Test (CMT) before the onset of the experiment and thereafter at 7 day intervals, and infected animals were treated using intramammary infusions of Terrex (Cefalaxin, Univet, Ireland).

 
Feed preparation

 

Moringa oleifera leaves and soft twigs were harvested during the month of June 2002 at pre-bloom stage at Sokoine University of Agriculture Research Farm. The harvested material was dried in the shade to about 80% DM content, milled using a hammer mill through a 1-mm screen, packed in sacks and stored in a well ventilated store. Cottonseed cake, maize bran, and minerals were purchased locally. The cottonseed cake had been processed using the expeller method and contained some seed hulls. Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) was obtained from pasture plots on the University farm and chopped to approximately 2 cm length using a tractor mounted forage chopper.

 
Experiment 1
 
Treatment rations

 

The experimental cows were fed ad libitum a basal feed composed of fresh chopped Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and one of the concentrate mixtures. Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) and cottonseed cake (CSC) were mixed with maize bran and minerals to make the four supplemental rations. Thus the dietary treatments consisted of 0.0 (M0), 0.55 (M10), 1.11 (M20) and 1.65 (M30) kg DM/day of MOLM in the concentrate which was intended to be equivalent to about 0%, 10%, 20% and 30% of DMI from concentrate respectively (Table 1). Corresponding levels of CSC were 1.23, 0.82, 0.41 and 0.00 kg DM/.day (Table 1).

Table 1. Treatment rations (kg DM/day)

 

M0 M10 M20 M30

MOLM

0.0

0.6

1.1

1.7

CSC

1.2

0.8

0.4

0

Napier

------------------- Ad libitum -----------------

Maize bran

4.2

4

3.9

3.7

Minerals

0.150

0.150

0.150

0.150

The amounts of MOLM were calculated so that the concentrate contained about 16.5% CP (Table 2), while the amounts of fibre components varied.

Table 2. Chemical composition of treatment rations (g/kg DM)

 

M0

M10

M20

M30

DM

918

912

911

903

OM

880

858

844

825

Ash

40

55

66

78

CP

166

165

168

169

NDF

507

525

471

465

ADF

96

134

112

120

Chemical composition of individual feed ingredients is shown in table 3. The rations were balanced to meet the expected nutrient requirements of cows of 325 - 369 kg and producing 8 kg of milk per day (ARC 1990).

Table 3.    Chemical composition of individual feed ingredients (g/kg DM except for DM which is on air-dry basis))

 

MOLM

CSC

Napier

MB

DM

898

954

229*

877

OM

704

901

853

839

CP

274

320

82

110

NDF

320

448

784

602

ADF

320

343

540

66

ASH

194

53

87

38

ME**, MJ /kg DM

12

10

6

11

MOLM= Moringa oleifera leaf meal CSC = Cotton seed cake, MB = Maize bran; * as fed; ** Calculated

The experiment was laid out in a 4 x 4 Latin Square design. The animals were allocated to the four treatments in four periods (Table 4). Each period comprised 21 days of data collection and 14 days adaptation period to eliminate carry over effects.

Table 4.   Allocation of dietary treatments in four periods

Period

Animals

1

2

3

4

1

M0

M10

M20

M30

2

M10

M20

M30

M0

3

M20

M30

M0

M10

4

M30

M0

M10

M20
Data collection

During a preliminary 14 days adaptation period the treatment rations were introduced to the animals gradually. This was followed by a 21 day of measurement period. The daily rations were offered in two equal meals daily (0530 and 1600 hrs). The basal forage and water were given ad libitum. Amounts offered and refusals were collected and weighed before a new meal was given. Cows were hand milked and amount of milk obtained weighed. Milk yields were recorded twice each day at 0700 and 1800 hrs. Pre- treatment milk yields and DMI for each individual cow were recorded during the 14day adaptation period and this data was subsequently used as covariate to correct for differences among amounts in milk yield and DMI. Milk samples from each cow were taken on day 14 of each period, bulked and frozen (-27°C) pending analysis.

 
Chemical composition

 

Dried samples of basal diet, the treatment rations and refusals were ground through a 2mm sieve before analysis. Ash and dry matter contents were analysed using the AOAC (1990) procedure. The CP content was determined using the Kjedahl method (AOAC 1990) while neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) contents were analysed as described by Van Soest et al (1991). Protein content of milk was analysed using the Kjedahl method according to the AOAC (1990) procedures. Milk was analysed for fat using the Gerber method (Marth 1978), while total solids and ash content were analysed according to the AOAC (1990) procedures.

 
Statistical analysis

 

Data for voluntary intake, milk yield and milk composition were analysed according to the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of Statistical Analysis System (SAS 1996). Covariance analysis to remove the effects of initial milk yield, composition and DMI was used as described by Snedecor and Cochran (1989) for a 4x4 Latin square design.

 
Experiment 2
 
Degradability study

 

Four dairy cows fitted with permanent rumen cannulae (12 cm diameter) were individually penned and fed a basal diet composed of urea-treated rice straw ad libitum, concentrate (333 cottonseed cake: 667 g/kg maize bran) and 150 g of minerals (Macklic, Cooper Company Ltd. Nairobi, Kenya). The concentrate mixture was offered at 2 kg/cow/day in equal amounts at 0800 and 1600hrs. Samples of MOLM and CSC were ground to pass through a 2 mm sieve and 2 g weighed into the plastic nylon bags (270 x 115 mm, pore size of 40 µm). The bags were incubated in the rumen for 12, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hrs according to the method of Ørskov et al (1980). Degradability at zero hours for each sample was determined by soaking duplicate bags in warm water for 2 hours. Bags were dried (48 h at 600C) and weighed. The DM degradability of each sample at each incubation time was calculated from the differences of DM from the nylon bags. Degradation characteristics of dry matter (DM) were calculated using the NAWAY computer program (The Rowett Research Institute) based on the equation (Ørskov and McDonald 1979):


p = a + b (1- ℮-ct)

 

where:

            p is the actual degradation after time t,

            a is the intercept of the degradation curve at zero time,

            b the potential degradability of the protein component which will be degraded at time t and

            c is the rate constant for the degradation of b.

 


Results

 
Experiment 1

 

Crude protein contents were high in Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) and cottonseed cake (CSC) (Table 2 and 3). Fibre components (NDF and ADF) were lower in Moringa oleifera than in cottonseed cake; ash content was observed to be higher. The differences in the chemical contents of the feed ingredients had an influence on the chemical composition of the experimental rations fed as shown in Table 2.

 

Table 5. Comparison of least square means for intake of CP, ME (g/kg), milk yield (kg/day) and milk composition (g/kg DM)

 

M0

M10

M20

M30

SED

Signif.

Crude protein intake,  g/day

Forage

522b

535b

547a

542a

8

*

Conc.

913

900

916

915

 

NS

Total

1434b

1435b

1463a

1457a.

8

*

Milk parameters 

 

 

 

Milk yield, kg/day

7.8c

9.2a

8.7b

8.6b

0.15

***

Total solids, %

10.7

11.1

10.8

11.2

0.36

NS

Milk fat, %

3.4

4.7

3.9

3.1

0.22

NS

Crude protein, %

3.0

3.1

2.9

3.1

0.11

NS

abc Means without common superscript along rows are different at P<0.05

 

There appeared to be advantages in a combination of  CSC with MOLM as the M10 treatment (0.55 kg as MOLM and 0.8 kg as CSC) gave the highest milk yield (Table 5). Milk yield when only CSC was given (M0) was lower than on all the treatments that incorporated MOLM. There were no differences among the treatments in milk composition.

 
Experiment 2

 

MOLM had significantly higher DM degradability parameters than CSC (Table 6).

Table 6.  Comparison of Least Square Means of dry matter degradability of  CSC and MOLM and their degradation constants (g/kg DM)

Parameters

Degradation characteristics

CSC

MOLM

S.E

Signif.

DM

a

311a

407.1b

1.1

**

 

b

423a

454.5b

1.4

**

 

a + b

734a

861.5b

2.4

NS

 

c

0.22b

0.65a

0.01

*

 

Degrad. 48h

697b

820a

1.1

*

 

 

Discussion

 

The crude protein content of the napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) provided as the basal feed, was 81.6 g/kg DM which was higher than that reported by  Machibula (2000) and Abdulrazak et al (1996) but lower than that reported by Mpairwe et al (1998). It was, however, within the recommended range of 70 to  80 g/kg DM for efficient functioning of rumen microorganisms (Van Soest 1994).

The cotton seed cake used in this study contained cottonseed hulls as a result of poor processing during de-hulling. This had a diluting effect on the crude protein content. The crude protein of the MOLM was similar to that reported by Makkar and Becker (1997) and Sutherland et al (1996) ( 264 and 270 g/kg DM, respectively). The Moringa leaves used in this study were harvested during the early rainy season just before flowering. The low dry matter degradability of cottonseed cake relative to MOLM could have been due to the differences in their cell wall contents (Table 2).

Before the beginning of the experiment the cows were producing an average of 7.11 kg/day. By the end of the experimental period, the range of milk yield  was from 7.84 to 9.23, with higher yields when MOLM was part of the concentrate.  CSC protein is known to have good rumen bypass characteristics and the fact that partial replacement of CSC with MOLM improved the milk yield implies either that MOLM had a positive effect on the rumen environment, leading to increased rumen microbial output, or that the protein in MOLM also has good rumen bypass characteristics. The former is the more likely explanation in view of  the known benefits of small amounts of tree leaves (leucaena hay) on the rumen environment leading to improved utilization of a low quality roughage diet (Kabatange and Shayo 1991).


Conclusions

 

Meal made from the sun-dried leaves of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) appeared to be slightly superior in value to cottonseed cake for milk production, while combinations of  the two supplements in the ratio of  40MOLM: 60CSC  were superior to either supplement fed alone.

 

It is hypothesised that the beneficial effects of the MOLM may have been due to its positive action at the level of the rumen environment.


Acknowledgement

 

The authors thank the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) and Sokoine University of Agriculture for the financial support to conduct this study.

 


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Received 12 March 2004; Accepted 12 April 2004

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