सहजन MORINGA:- ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF FODDER FOR LIVESTOCK IN INDIA
India possesses the highest livestock population in the world, which is growing at the rate of 4.8% per year. Accordingly, the country’s feed requirement to feed such a large livestock population is also increasing. Regular supply of adequate and nutritious feed and fodder is essential for the development of livestock sector. Fodder crops are the main and cheapest source of roughage feed for livestock. However, shortage of quality fodder, particularly during lean periods is a major factor contributing to lower livestock productivity.
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Currently, the country faces a net deficit of 35.6% green fodder, 10.95% dry fodder, and 44% concentrate feed ingredients. The demand for green and dry fodder will reach to 1012 and 631 million tonnes by 2050. Therefore, to meet out this deficit, fodder supply has to grow at 1.69% annually to sustain livestock husbandry. Since last two decades, the static area under cultivated fodder is only 8.4 m ha (less than 5%).
Forage has an important role to play in ruminant nutrition in providing energy, protein and minerals and fiber for chewing. Tree fodders could be a good option to meet the fodder demand of livestock in areas having a perennial shortage of green fodder. Research efforts have confirmed the potentiality of browsing plants to provide an alternate source of nutrition for ruminants in tropics. There is a huge list of such browse trees and shrubs with potential use as fodder, which may go even up to more than 300 species.
One such tree which gives fodder for ruminants is Moringa, popularly known as “drumstick tree” for its pods that are used by drummers, and also known as “horseradish tree” for the flavor of its roots. Drumstick scientifically called Moringa Oleifera and is called Sahjan(सहजन) in Hindi. This fast-growing tree is grown throughout the tropics for multi-purpose use viz.
Human food, livestock forage, medicine values, dye, water purification, and for its wide adaptability and ease of establishment. Moringa leaves contain a good amount of beta-carotene, protein, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Since Moringa leaves are rich in protein, so can be used as a supplemental fodder for milch animals. Rather, its leaves contain much higher protein than conventional protein supplements like coconut meal, cotton seed cake, groundnut cake, sesame cake, sunflower cake etc.
Besides these, the leaves possess antioxidant and antimicrobial properties against several fungal species such as E. Coli, S. Arous, P. Aeruginosa, and B. Cereus. Moringa can be grown as hedge, fence, and multi-cut forage, etc.
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Macronutrients like P, K, Ca, and Mg plays key roles in balancing the physiological, metabolic, and biochemical processes of livestock. Cattle suffer from low blood Mg during lactation, which causes low milk yield due to deficiency of mg. Moringa leaves contain a high amount of macronutrients Mg and K and can be effectively used to fulfill the dietary and nutritional requirements of livestock animals by mixing of moringa leaves with other fodders or grasses.
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Fodder Production Potential:-
The biomass production of moringa is affected by the climatic condition, spacing, cutting height, planting pattern, geometry and cutting frequencies. Highest Crop growth rate (CGR) was in narrow spacing. Highest fodder yields of moringa from plants are obtained when spaced at 30 x 40 cm. In the rainy season, harvesting the crop at an interval of 4 to 6 weeks at a height of 150 cm gives the highest yields. In the dry season, 12-week harvest interval gives highest biomass yields with a cutting height of 100cm. On an average 4.2 to 8.3 t ha-1, dry matter yield can be obtained.
Effect of Moringa Fodder on Growth & Milk Yield:-
Moringa fresh foliage can be included in the dietary roughage component for ruminants. It has shown positive effects on feeding behavior of goat, the increased growth rate in sheep and increased milk yield in dual-purpose cows. MLM (moringa leaf meal) can be included in the diet of fish, laying hens and cross-bred dairy cows.
Moringa supplementation resulted in a highest average weight gain of 20.83 g/animal/day in goats feed and protein was efficiently utilized by animals when moringa leaves were used as a fodder supplement. Moringa contains 0.20 g P and Na /100 g DM, which is higher than diet requirements of goats viz. (0.07 g/100 g DM). Moringa diet had the highest efficiency of protein utilization, nutrient digestibility, nitrogen utilization. It improves the milk yield of ruminants as it has a good rumen bypass protein characteristics. In fact, MLM can be used as a substitute for other oil cakes.
Drylands offer a good scope for development of agroforestry, social forestry, Horti-Silvi-pasture and other similar systems which will not only supply food, fuel to the village people and fodder to the cattle also a suitable vegetative cover for ecological maintenance. These fodder trees are gaining more attention due to low maintenance and fewer input requirements and their capability to provide good quality forage during the periods of food scarcity. Moringa is one of the best nutritious trees which can provide sufficient fodder for livestock during the dry season. Once their roots have developed and established it is even resistant to frequent cuttings in drought situations.
It is a fast-growing tree with the efficient capability of re-growth after pruning and capacity to produce good quality higher leaf biomass per unit area and can tolerate long dry spells up to 6 months during the dry season and grow well with annual rainfall between 250‒1500 mm per year and temperature ranging from 19 to 28 ºC. It is best suitable for agroforestry systems such as Home garden and multi-storied cropping system with plantation crops in dryland farming areas of southern India.
In Degraded & Desertified Lands
Land degradation and desertification are complex phenomena caused by both natural and anthropogenic factors. Silvipastoral system is the most prominent agroforestry system suitable for these degraded and desertified areas. The system is characterized by integrating trees with forage and livestock production. Moringa is the best protein-rich multipurpose tree can be planted on these areas for cut and carry fodder production to meet the fodder requirements of livestock during the fodder deficit periods.
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In arid and semi-arid regions annual rainfall is not sufficient to leach down salt to the deeper layers of soil. Moringa is a drought tolerant plant that can be grown in diverse soils, except those that are waterlogged. Slightly alkaline clay and sandy loam soils are considered the best media for this species due to their good drainage. Moringa can be introduced as a fodder crop in these salt-affected areas.
Low Fertility Soils
The major limiting factor of fodder production in the tropics is the deficiency of soil nutrients which affects the growth, nutrient content, and uptake of the plant, Due to low levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon. Fodder production in these areas mainly dependent on the application of high amount NPK based fertilizers.
Moringa can be grown as a fodder crop on marginal lands with high temperatures and low water availability. It requires fertilizer application only during initial stages of growth. Moringa can be grown in versatile conditions including hot, humid, dry tropical and subtropical regions, except waterlogged soils. It can perform better under marginal conditions with ample nutritional quality.
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Amazing benefits of DRUMSTICK / Moringa (सहजन ) in use as animal feed:-
Feeding your animals with Moringa leaves and green stems can increase cattle’s weight gain up to 32% and increases milk production 43-65%.
Moringa also improves the digestibility of other food that cattle eats and improves the health of your animal
Even if a fraction of these results could be reproduced in the ﬁeld, it would be a great boon to people in developing countries. This possibility needs to be investigated further and various aspects examined before the concept can be popularized. Trees for Life would like to help promote and foster such research.
Moringa as Livestock Fodder Supplement
The population explosion in most parts of the world puts a hitherto unknown pressure on the agricultural industry but there are ethical and healthier intervention paths than what presently obtains. Both livestock and pets can be fed healthy foods and the highly nutritious Moringa plant is strategically poised to play a major part in this wise.
Cattle Fodder Supplement
These two studies in Nicaragua showed that supplementing cattle feed with the leaves and green stems of Moringa can increase milk production by 43-65%, and increase daily weight gain in cattle by up to 32%. These studies also demonstrated that Moringa can be grown intensively as a ﬁeld crop:-
- One single planting lasts for several years.
- Foidl, et al. have been able to harvest it up to 9 times a year from irrigated and well-fertilized land, producing per year.
- 650 to 700 metric tons of green mass.
- Equivalent to 100 to 110 metric tons of dry mass.
- 17.5 metric tons of pure protein.
- 7000 kg of lipids, with 65% being omega-3 fatty acids.
- 10 metric tons of fermentable sugars.
- Approximately 8 metric tons of starch.
- Approximately 45 metric tons of hemicellulose and cellulose.
Dr. Sanchez’s study was done without irrigation and with much less fertilizer, and resulted in a total of 100 tons of green mass harvested from four crops in a year. However, milk production and cattle weight increased substantially in both studies.
All these factors may make Moringa leaves and green stems very attractive and inexpensive as a cattle fodder supplement. Two possible methodologies for testing Moringa animal feed
Moringa animal feeding Methodology:-
Growing Moringa for 10 Cattle
- If irrigated and fertilized: 1 ha.
- If non-irrigated: minimum 2 ha.
Plant Moringa seeds at a spacing of 10 x 10 centimeters
10 m3 of cow dung spread evenly after every cutting in the harvested area Planting and harvesting.
Sahjan green tops can be cut every 35 days.
Separate your plot into 35 growing areas. Each day, plant one growing area. Do this for 35 days. This will allow for fresh Moringa to be available for cutting every day on a 35-day cycle.
Moringa Feeding cattle:-
- Average per cow and day is 35 kg of fresh moringa (whole plant) plus grazing during the day. The only thing we add is vitamins and salt.
- Slowly introduce the Moringa into the cattle’s diet over a period of 10 days, to avoid indigestion or diarrhea. Each day, increase the ratio of Moringa slightly until the full amount is given on the 10th day.
- The first day the cattle are given the full amount of Moringa is considered the first day of the study.
Moringa Feeding Sheep:-
- To find the quantity, let them eat as much as they want during 15 days, adding some molasses in the first 3 days to raise the appetite.
- Weigh the quantity given every day, and then weigh what is left the next morning. Be sure you add some hay or give them pasture additionally so they don’t have a lack of fiber. In case of milk-producing animals, some extra energy is always welcome (sugarcane, etc.).
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Moringa animal feeding Methodology:-
Growing Moringa for animal feed:-
No irrigation or fertilization
- Planting density:- 500,000 plants/ha
- Spacing:- 40 cm between rows and 5 cm between plants.
- Cutting frequency:- Every 60 days, cut at 25 cm height from the soil. Cutting can be done by hand with machete or scissors, or eventually by machinery.
The yield of Sahjan leaves and green stems are 99 tons (Fresh Matter) per ha per year. From here you can calculate how much area you need in order to feed 10, 100 or 1000 animals.
Moringa Feeding cattle:-
- Amount to feed: Around 10 – 15 kg fresh matter per head per day, as a supplement to the regular diet.
The formula for this is: Amount of fresh Moringa is 3.75% of body weight.
- Moringa forage should be offered after milking, to avoid transfer of smell or abnormal taste.
The formula is: Amount of fresh Moringa is 6.25% of Body Weight. To be given as a supplement, using Brachiaria hay as a base diet, mixed with sugarcane molasses.
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Moringa Feeding sheep:-
Use 5 kg fresh Moringa forage per animal per day as a supplement to regular feed.
Studies performed claim that milk and production can be increased dramatically when livestock feed is supplemented with moringa leaves, Moringa leaves are packed with protein, calcium and other important components of a balanced diet for livestock, and they can be grown with much less fertilizer and pesticides than traditional forage crops.
Trial results using Sahjan leaves as livestock feed for beef and milk cows, swine, and poultry When Moringa leaves constituted 40-50% of the feed, milk yields for dairy cows and daily weight gains for beef cattle increased by about 30%. Milk production was 10 liters/day when cows were fed Moringa, compared to 7 liters/day without Moringa. With Moringa feed, daily weight gain of beef cattle was 1,200 grams/day, compared to 900 grams/day without Moringa feed.”
Whether used as food or feed for livestock, the benefits of the Moringa have become increasingly obvious
Moringa is a rich source of nutrients and metabolizable energy can be considered as alternative fodder for livestock. It can be grown in most of the tropical climatic zones and have a low demand for soil nutrients and water. In the dairy farming system, it can sustain green fodder availability round the year without extra efforts. Its versatile nature makes it fit in various cropping systems because it can be grown as crop or tree fences in alley cropping systems, in agroforestry systems, and even on marginal lands with high temperatures and low water availabilities where it is difficult to cultivate other agricultural crops.
Compiled & Shared By-
DR RAJESH KUMAR SINGH
Mob. – 9431309542
Post no-649 Dt-21/04/2018