Moringa's Role in Livestock Feeding

Pashu Sandesh, 29 Sep 2022

Sonam Bhardwaj1 Dr Ragini Mishra2 and Dr Vikash Bhardwaj3

After China, India has the second-highest population in the world. Feed is the most important cost in the dairy production system out of all the costs. Because it is difficult to find traditional feed ingredients (grains, cereals, and oil cakes) for dairy production, and because they are more expensive elsewhere in the world. Due to the constant price of commercial concentrates, it is necessary to assess other non-traditional forage resources. As an alternative source of feeds for many livestock species, tree parts and shrubs like Azadirachta indica, Leucaena leucocephala, Morus albus, and Acacia karroo are now more widely accepted, especially when the cost is so high or the source of dietary protein is constrained. However, due to the presence of anti-nutritional elements like mimosine, alkaloids, tannins, and cyanogenic compounds, the use of these forage trees and shrubs is restricted.

Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera), a multipurpose perennial leafy tree that is native to the Himalayan region and is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, produces a high amount of biomass quickly. The benefits of Moringa oleifera include low late-stage maintenance requirements, a decreased need for fertilisers, drought tolerance, and the ability to be harvested multiple times in one season. Almost all of this plant's parts are edible and are used as a rich source of food to improve nutrition and increase food security in underdeveloped nations. It is clear that different Moringa oleifera parts, particularly the leaves, contain saponins, tannins, polyphenols, and polysaccharides that have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Given that its leaves are a plentiful source of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, iron, and proteins, it has recently come under more consideration as a substitute for feeding animals. Moringa oleifera leaves can be fed either fresh or dried, and storage did not affect their nutritional value. Due to tannin binding, the protein from Moringa oleifera has a low rate of degradation in the rumen, increasing feed intake and protein flow to the host's small intestine. Dairy cows fed Moringa oleifera have been shown to produce more milk when given dried or fresh leaves and soft twigs. Increased feed intake, improved nutrient digestibility, and enhanced ruminal fermentation all contribute to increased milk production. The addition of Moringa leaf meal was found to significantly alter the milk fatty acid profile in addition to increasing milk yield. The substantial amounts of secondary metabolites in Moringa oleifera, which were also considered as a potential feed additive to lower ruminant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, were responsible for this improved production performance.

Moringa's potential for use in animal feed is still underutilised. It is a tree with a high CP content that ranges between 179 and 268 g per kg DM and has very little tannin, trypsin, or amylase inhibitor content. Because it can be produced during times of high yields and later used for feeding during the dry season, when high-quality feed resources are limited, Moringa Leaf Meal (MLM) is an intriguing product.


Dr Sonam Bhardwaj1 (PhD Scholar- Division of Livestock Production and Management) 

Dr Ragini Mishra2 (PhD Scholar- Division of Veterinary Microbiology)

Dr Vikash Bhardwaj (M.VSc. Scholar-Division of Poultry Science)

ICAR-IVRI, and ICAR-CARI Izatnagar-243122, Bareilly (U.P.)