Increasing Financial Sustainability on the Farm by Employing Moringa as a Drought Tolerant, Cost-Reducing Lamb Feed Supplement

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2023: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Padilla Farm LLC DBA Yahweh's All Natural Farm and Garden
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Diana Padilla
Padilla Farm LLC DBA Yahweh's All Natural Farm and Garden

Information Products


  • Additional Plants: trees, moringa
  • Animals: sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage

    Proposal summary:

    Statement of the Proposed Solution


    Moringa oleifera is a rapidly growing, high-protein, drought tolerant plant that has been tested successfully as a lamb feed supplement. Researchers tested Moringa leaf and found it contains 28.91% dry matter, 16.52% crude protein, 5.78% ethereal extract, 11.14% ash, 13.14% crude fiber, 30.27% neutral detergent fiber, 20.03% acidic detergent fiber, 5.4% acidic detergent lignin, 10.78% hemicelluloses, 14.63% cellulose, and 1.81% tannins, making Moringa nutritionally compatible to the necessities of growing lambs’ diet (Allam et al. 2015).


    In an experiment testing the effects of Moringa seeds as feed additive on the growth and blood biochemistry of Barki sheep at the University of Alexandria in Egypt, researchers found that the average final body weight of lambs supplemented with Moringa seed for 45 days was significantly higher than control lambs (initial live weight of lambs in both conditions was 25.3+0.9 kg, final weight of lambs was 34.5+1.4 kg in Moringa condition compared to 31.5+1.6 kg in control condition, P < 0.001). Researchers also observed that total protein concentration in the blood was higher in the Moringa feeding condition compared to the control feeding condition (5.63±0.16 mg/dL in Moringa condition compared to the control 5.15±0.08mg/dL, P=0.01). Furthermore, researchers observed that all components of collected blood serum were within the normal range for lambs in both conditions, highlighting that Moringa seeds are safe to use as lamb feed supplement (EL-Hedainy et al. 2020). 


    Similarly, a study at Fayoum University in Egypt testing the effectiveness of Moringa in replacing soybean meal at rates of 0%, 7.5%, 15% and 30% for a period of 90 days found that lambs fed soybean with Moringa supplement cost less to feed and resulted in heavier lambs when compared to lambs fed strictly soybean supplement (relative costs of feed consumed/head/period were 100%, 97.19%, 94.69% and 87.32% for rations of R1=0%, R2=7.5%, R3=15% and R4=30% respectively. The relative percentages of net revenue were 100%, 56.45%, 171.83% and 125.6%). Likewise, researchers observed that all measured blood parameters for all conditions were in the normal range, emphasizing that Moringa leaves are also a safe feed supplement for lambs. Researchers concluded that their results highlight that feeding moringa leaves to growing lambs decreases feed costs and increases economic return (Allam et al. 2015).


    In our experiment, we plan to compare the cost of bringing lamb to market with our standard diet of grass and commercial sheep supplement pellets to the cost of bringing lamb to market with a diet of pasture supplemented with meal made from Moringa oleifera that we currently grow on the farm. 


    The objective of this experiment is to identify if we can maximize the return on our livestock investment by incorporating Moringa oleifera into our lamb feed. 


    In the end, we plan to calculate the price that we need to sell our lamb at in both control and experimental feeding conditions to keep our agriculture business financially resilient through drought and inflation. 




    Allam SM et al. (2015). “Use of Moringa Leaves (Moringa oleifera) in Fattening Lambs Rations.” Egyptian Journal of Nutrition and Feeds, 18(2) Special Issue: 11-17.


    Bhokre SM et al. (2020). “Effect of Feeding of Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Leaf Meal Based Diets on the Biometry and Body Condition Score of Deccani Lambs.” International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences



    EL-Hedainy DK, El-Wakeel E, Rashad AMA (2020). “Effect of Moringa Seed Meal as a  Feed Additive on Performance of Fattening Male Barki Sheep.” International Journal for Veterinary Science & Research 6(2): 184-187. DOI: 10.17352/ijvsr.000072. 


    Project objectives from proposal:

    Approaches and Methods 

    Lambs in both conditions will be rotationally grazed on pasture for equal amounts of time. In the control condition, lambs will be fed their regular pasture and pellet diet, with 0% of their diet being Moringa. However, in the experimental conditions, we are replacing pellet feed by weight at rates of 15%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% with ground Moringa meal feed grown on the farm.

    Moringa meal will be comprised of 80% Moringa leaves and 20% stems. The Moringa meal will be ground and pelletized for feeding. 

    Lambs all conditions will be fed in individualized feeding pens to ensure that all lambs eat their full serving of the assigned feed supplement. Lambs in all conditions will be fed their assigned feeding condition until they are taken to market. All lambs in this experiment will be born on our farm and be randomly assigned to a feeding condition immediately after weaning.

    Variables to Measure

    The live weight of the lambs in both conditions will be measured prior to being randomly assigned to a feeding condition. 

    Live weight will be measured once per week during the experiment, before feedings, and at the end of the experimental trial. 

    Final market weight after meat processing will also be measured. 

    Feed supplements in both conditions will be weighed and packaged prior to feeding lambs to measure and track the amount of feed supplement consumed by each lamb. 

    Time spent prepacking feed will be measured to calculate costs of labor associated with control and experimental feeding conditions. 

    Financial Sustainability Calculations 

    By tracking costs associated with watering pasture, feed pellet supplements, and labor associated with preparing Moringa pellets as well as feeding and herding lambs, we will be able to calculate and graph the cost of feed for each condition throughout the life of the lamb.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.