Nouala et al., 2009. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 21 (10): 163
To assess the impact of breeds and diets on animal performance in a West African production setting, pure N’Dama and N’Dama x Jersey crossbred cattle were fed two basal diets, baby corn and groundnut hay, supplemented with graded levels of either conventional concentrate or Moringa oleifera Lam leaves (moringa), to compare animal responses in productivity. In this context, moringa constitutes a potential alternative to commercial concentrate for cattle production. Twelve animals (six of each breed) were used in a cross over design. They were fed consecutively three combinations of roughage and supplement, baby corn stovers and concentrate (BCS:C), groundnut hay and concentrate (GNH:C) and groundnut hay and moringa (GNH:M), each at 5 levels of supplementation (0, 10, 20, 30 and 40%). Results from this study showed that there was a clear difference in animal response to different feeding regimes between the two breeds. When averaged over all diets organic matter intake (OMI) was higher in crossbred compared to N’Dama (94 and 87.6 g/kg 0.75 d-1, respectively). Only when the diet consisted of BCS:C, and at low levels of supplementation, N’Dama ingested more than crossbred, but the difference was not significant. With GNH:C crossbred ingested significantly more at levels of supplementation less or equal to 20%. With GNH:M crossbred ingested more, whatever the level of supplementation. Averaged over all diets and levels, organic matter digestibility (OMD) was higher in N’Dama (64.6% against 60.7 in crossbreds). Results from our study showed that N'Dama might be as efficient as their crossbred counterparts in converting feed into weight although they had the ability to ingest more of low quality feed. When moringa was used as supplement, the results on weight gain were not conclusive, however, data on intake and digestibility showed promising potential for moringa as an alternative to concentrate mixture.