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Doctoral thesis, 2011

Moringa oleifera as an alternative fodder for dairy cows in Nicaragua

Mendieta-Araica Bryan


The four studies comprising this thesis characterised Moringa oleifera as a fodder for dairy cows under dry tropical conditions in Nicaragua. An agronomy study examined, two planting densities (D1=100,000 and D2=167,000 plants ha-1) and four fertilisation levels (N1=0, N2=261, N3=521 and N4=782 kg N ha-1). The D2 density gave significantly higher yields of total dry matter ha-1 (TDMY) and fine fraction dry matter ha-1 (FFDM) compared with D1. There were significant interactions between fertilisation level and the variables year and cut with regard to TDMY and FFDM. However, fertilisation levels N3 and N4 gave the highest yield in both years and among all cuts. A study on Moringa leaf meal (MLM), as a protein source in concentrates to dairy cows found no significant difference in milk production when comparing isocaloric and isoproteinic concentrates with or without MLM. In an ensiling experiment, Moringa was ensiled alone with 10 g kg-1 fresh matter (FM) molasses and compared with several mixtures with Elephant grass and sugar cane. Pure Moringa biomass produced silage with a higher crude protein (CP) content and had a favourable effect on silage pH, with higher lactic acid concentrations, but the presence of Moringa decreased time to spoilage by 67 h (22%) compared with the Elephant grass silages. Feeding Moringa as the sole roughage, either fresh or ensiled, compared with feeding Elephant grass resulted in higher digestibility of both CP and fibre but milk yield did not differ (13.7 kg cow day-1). No differences in milk composition were found between treatments but when fresh Moringa was fed a grassy flavour and aroma was detected in the milk. In conclusion, to maintain high biomass yield of Moringa over time, the best planting density-fertiliser combination was D2 and N3. MLM can successfully replace commercial concentrate ingredients for dairy cows. Furthermore, Moringa ensiled alone, with only 10 or 50 g kg-1 FM molasses added, produces good quality silage that can be fed to dairy cows in large quantities while maintaining the same milk production level and milk quality as for cows fed conventional roughages.


moringa oleifera; dairy cows; milk yield; milk production; silage; feeds; nicaragua

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:34
ISBN: 978-91-576-7569-9
Publisher: Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Mendieta-Araica, Bryan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

URI (permanent link to this page)