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The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree have become known for their high nutritional content and potential benefits for human consumption. However, because these leaves are high in protein and other essential nutrients, they may also provide benefits in livestock feed.

Test by Mr. Nikolaus Foidl

Mr. Nikolaus Foidl, an Austrian scientist living in Nicaragua, has been testing the use of these leaves as fodder for animals. He and his colleagues have been conducting research on various uses of Moringa since the early 1990s. He has collaborated with the University of Hohenheim, Germany and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

In one test by Foidl and his coworkers, cattle were fed 15-17 kg of Moringa leaves daily, mixed with their regular feed. The results were:

  • 43% increase in milk yields
  • 32% increase in daily weight gains for beef cattle
  • 3-5 kg increase in birth weights  (for Jersey cows, whose average normal birth weight is 22 kg)

Mr. Foidl and his group are currently working with a large cattle ranch in Bolivia where Moringa leaves will be fed to several thousand heads of cattle.

Study by Dr. Nadir Reyes Sanchez

In 2006 a study was completed by Dr. Nadir Reyes Sanchez at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. In this study, Dr. Reyes compared the milk production of dairy cattle fed hay only with that of cattle fed hay supplemented with Moringa. The results were:

  • Hay only: 3.1 kg milk per day
  • With 2 kg Moringa: 4.9 kg milk per day (increase of 58%)
  • With 3 kg Moringa: 5.1 kg milk per day (increase of 65%)

Further Studies Needed

If Moringa leaves can increase livestock weight gain and milk production on a consistent basis, it would be a great boon for farmers around the world, especially in developing areas. It would be a very low-cost method for increasing food production in areas that need it greatly, thus helping many thousands of hungry people.

Further studies are needed to explore this potential benefit of Moringa leaves.

 

References

Foidl, N., Makkar, H.P.S. and Becker, K. (2001) The potential of Moringa oleifera for agricultural and industrial uses, pp 45-76, In: The Miracle Tree: The Multiple Uses of Moringa (Ed) Lowell J. Fuglie, CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Fuglie, Lowell (2000) New uses of Moringa studied in Nicaragua. ECHO’s Tropical Agriculture Site. Available at: http://www.echotech.org/network/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=194

Reyes, S.N. (2006) Moringa oleifera and Cratylia argentea: potential fodder species for ruminants in Nicaragua. Doctoral thesis. ISSN 1652-6880, ISBN 91-576-7050-1. Available at: http://diss-epsilon.slu.se/archive/00001027

Disclaimer: Content on this article are works of individual users, and do not necessarily reflect the work of Trees for Life Journal, its editorial board or board of trustees.


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