Intake and milk yield of Zebu cows fed Moringa forage ensiled with cassava peel
Poor nutrition of Zebu cattle grazing low quality native pastures is still a major constraint to milk production in Nigeria. High protein Moringa oleifera silage fed to these animals has potential to improve local milk production. In this study, moringa forage (MF) was ensiled with cassava peel (CSP) at 30, 50 and 70 % inclusion and fed to twelve Sokoto Gudali cows as supplements to grazing. Physical characteristics of silage, dry matter (DM) intake, daily milk yield and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of cows were evaluated using a completely randomized design. At 21 days of ensiling, pH of silages ranged from 3.70 – 4.10. The colour, smell and texture of all silages were within acceptable range. Crude protein content of silage (11.02 –18.50 %) increased with higher proportion of MF in the silage mixture while DM content (28.60 – 24.50 %) reduced. There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in DM intake, milk yield and FCR among the treatments. DM intake was 3.16, 3.68 and 3.81 % of body weight while milk yield was 6.06, 5.21 and 4.13 kg/d for MF-CSP 70:30, 50:50 and 30:70 respectively. The FCR increased from 2.11 to 3.34 with increasing
proportion of CSP in the mixture. Milk yield and feed utilization by Sokoto Gudali cows improved with higher proportion of moringa forage in the supplementary silage while cassava peel improved silage characteristics
and energy concentration in the mixture.
Key words: milk production, Zebu cattle, moringa forage, cassava peel, silage