Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) is not only best for lactating mothers, it is also one of the scientifically-proven forage species that improves lactation in dairy cattle.
Touted by scientists as a “miracle vegetable,” malunggay has high calcium content (four times the calcium in milk) and has been promoted by the World Health Organization for the past 20 years as a low-cost health enhancer in poor countries around the globe ().
Banking on the “miracles” of this vegetable, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) funded a Science and Technology-based Farm (STBF) Project to demonstrate the value of malunggay foliage as feed supplement to increase milk production on dairy cows and its production as a livelihood option to rural farmers.
In this project, the best practices of the Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) and the prescribed science and technology (S&T) interventions were compared.
MS practice involves feeding milking cows with concentrates and the forage available in the farm.
On the other hand, S&T practice includes feeding milking cows with concentrates and farm-grown grasses plus supplementation of malunggay foliage at 5 kg per day.
S&T versus MS’ practice
To compare milk production using S&T interventions and MS practice, five cows per practice were used. Initially, average milk production in MS was higher (10.6 kg) compared with S&T (10 kg). However, early lactation was higher in S&T with 15.8 kg compared with MS practice with only 11.3 kg.
During middle lactation, cows fed with malunggay still yielded more with 9.4 kg average production while the MS practice only yielded 8.2 kg.
A lower rate of decrease of 6% was also observed during the middle lactation in the S&T practice compared to the MS practice, which had a decrease rate of 22.6%.
This shows that supplementing malunggay foliage to dairy cows can increase milk production considerably during early lactation (1st 100 days) and lower the rate of decrease in milk yield during middle lactation (2nd 100 days).
More milk, more money
Supplementing malunggay foliage to milking cows gave an increased income equivalent to milk production per cow per day of 4.3 kg, 2.75 kg, and 1.74 kg at early, middle and late lactation, respectively.
This means an additional income of P93.81 per cow per day during early lactation, P60.50 for middle, and P38.41 for late lactation.
Computing the P93.81 net income change per day for 100 days would mean additional profit of P9,381 per cow. Also, the additional P60.50 per cow per day for 200 days would mean a net income change per cow of P12,100.