Authors: WASIF NOUMAN, MUHAMMAD TAHIR SIDDIQUI, SHAHZAD MAQSOOD AHMED BASRA, HASNAIN FAROOQ, MUHAMMAD ZUBAIR, TEHSEEN GULL
Abstract: Dairy and meat production are very complex in dry regions due to shortages and the low quality of fodder, especially in dry months. Livestock scientists are enthusiastic to explore and investigate good quality fodder that can boost milk and meat production in an economical way. Moringa oleifera is known as one of the best fodder crops for dry regions with scanty amounts of water. Hence, the present study was designed to evaluate the potential of Moringa oleifera as a field crop by harvesting at different cutting heights (30, 90, and 150 cm). The nutritional quality (minerals like P, K, Ca, and Mg, and crude protein) was determined along with antioxidant (SOD, CAT, POD, total phenolic contents) activities. The findings show that a Moringa crop gave maximum biomass (472 g plant-1) with higher mineral content in its leaves when harvested at 30-cm cutting height in August, while the minimum biomass (113.54 g plant-1) was recorded when plants were harvested at 150-cm cutting height. Higher antioxidants, total phenolics content, and photosynthetic pigments were recorded in the hot rainy season (July and August). The seasonal variability affects mineral content in moringa leaves. The highest mineral content was found in August, followed by July. It is concluded that the moringa tree, due to its higher mineral content and antioxidant activities, can be cultivated as a field crop as a good alternate for livestock fodder.
Keywords: Antioxidant, cutting levels, minerals, total phenolic contents, pigments
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