“Animals become what ‘they’ eat, and we, in turn, become what we eat through them”
It had been several years since Moringa had become part of our daily diet. All parts of Moringa are consumed as food. The plant produces leaves during the dry season and during times of drought and is an excellent source of green vegetable when little other food is available.
Moringa is mainly grown for its leaves in Africa, and much appreciated for its pods in Asia. Leaves, pods, roots and flowers can be cooked as vegetables.
The roots have been used as a substitute for horseradish but may be slightly toxic. The leaves are very nutritious and rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C, and minerals.
They are highly recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers as well as young children they are generally cooked (boiled, pan-fried) and eaten like spinach or put in soups and sauces. Moringa leaves are also eaten as a salad or dried and ground to make a very nutritious leaf powder. Its powder is used to aid the restoration of infants suffering from malnutrition. Even the flowers are used to make tea, added into sauces or made into a paste and fried.
The young pods are prepared and taste like asparagus. Older pods can be added to sauces and curries in which their bitterness is appreciated).
The immature seeds can be cooked in many different ways while the mature seeds are roasted and eaten like peanuts. Moringa seeds contain about 30-40% of an edible oil (ben oil), which is used for salad dressing and cooking and can replace olive oil. Ben oil is resistant to rancidity and provides substantial amounts of oleic acid, sterols and tocopherols
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 ?eld, 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 popularised. Trees for Life would like to help promote and foster such research.
Moringa as livestock 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 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 ?eld crop:
- One single planting lasts for several years.
- 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.
The study was done without irrigation and with much less fertiliser 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
Studies performed claim that milk and production can be increased dramatically when livestock feed is supplemented with Moringa leaves, but there is some conflicting information.
Another factor to consider is that Moringa Oleifera grows much more intensely than traditional livestock feeds so that even if Moringa doesn’t convert to weight gain as efficiently as traditional feeds, it is immensely cheaper to produce. Alfalfa produces on average, around 7 tons per acre, Oats produce as much as 2.5 tons per acre and Soybeans grown with perfect conditions can produce as much as 6.5 tons of nutritious protein-filled beans per acre. With perfect conditions and all the inputs at optimum levels, the record production of an acre of alfalfa is at 11 tonnes per acre.
Moringa has been reported to produce more than 280 tons of green matter per acre. Approximately %70 percent of that total is reported to be stems and wood, which can be used for paper production or biomass power production. Traditional feed crops require fertiliser, pesticides and weed killers, which are all expensive. Inputs required for Moringa production are significantly lower.
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 fertiliser and pesticides than traditional forage crops.
Moringa leaves are a valuable source of protein for ruminants. Its protein and organic matter are readily digestible in the rumen and/or in the intestine.However, the available data are highly variable and reported in vitro and in vivo OM digestibilities range from 40 to 80%, possibly due to the large variability in fibre content. Moringa leaves and stems contain low amounts of tannins with no or low amounts of condensed tannins.
The levels of glucosinolates found in Moringa leaves were not reported to impair ruminant nutrition However, they contain saponins, which may impair palatability.
Moringa leaves seem to promote rumen microbial protein synthesis due to the substantial contents of readily fermentable nitrogen and energy. Rumen in Sacco DM degradability of the leaves ranging from 82 to 95.6% have been reported were observed in different animal species and different pore size of the nylon bags.
In Nigeria, including Moringa leaf meal in ruminant diets reduced their metabolizable energy content, OM digestibility and production of short chain fatty acids
How to cultivate Moringa
If Moringa is cultivating as a fodder, National Dairy Development Board suggests planting trees 30*10 centimetre distance. Watering in the first month will help the saplings keep the roots strong in soil. For 1 acre of cultivation, 300-ton manure will be needed. When sawing the seeds, add 40kgm of Di-Ammonium Phosphate. At the time of seed germination add 40kgm of Murate of Potash. Harvest can be done after three or four months. After another 40 or 60 days, the second section of harvest can be done. In one year, we can undergo seven sections of harvesting. After every harvesting should add 25kg of Urea.