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Feeding Moringa oleifera fresh or ensiled to dairy cows—effects on milk yield and milk flavor

Abstract

Moringa oleifera, either fresh or ensiled, was compared with Elephant grass as a main feedstuff for dairy cows. To test the effects feed had on milk yield, milk composition, ration digestibility, and the organoleptic characteristics of milk, six lactating dairy cows were used in a Changeover 3 × 3 Latin Square experiment, replicated twice. With equal intake of metabolizable energy the intake of protein and fiber differed (p < 0.001) between all diets where fresh Moringa had the highest and the Elephant grass diet had the lowest intake. Compared with the control diet, ensiled Moringa had higher digestibility (P < 0.05) of both protein and fiber. With the exception of DM digestibility, no digestibility differences were found between fresh Moringa and Moringa silage treatments. Milk yield did not differ between any of the treatments and averaged 13.7 kg cow day−1. Milk composition was similar among all treatments. Milk from the fresh Moringa treatment, however, had a grassy flavor and aroma, significantly different from the other two treatments, even though it was normal in color and appearance. No organoleptic differences were found between milk from the control treatment and the Moringa silage treatment. The conclusion is that Moringa silage can be fed to dairy cows in large quantities to produce the same quantity and quality of milk as traditional diets.

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Acknowledgments

The funding for this research, provided by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), is gratefully acknowledged. Börje Ericsson, is also acknowledged for his help and support throughout the laboratory analysis.

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Correspondence to Rolf Spörndly.

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Mendieta-Araica, B., Spörndly, E., Reyes-Sánchez, N. et al. Feeding Moringa oleifera fresh or ensiled to dairy cows—effects on milk yield and milk flavor. Trop Anim Health Prod 43, 1039–1047 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9803-7

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Keywords

  • Fresh Moringa
  • Silage
  • Dairy cows
  • Milk yield
  • Organoleptic characteristics