The study was conducted on Jersey crossbred lactating cows maintained at the Instructional Livestock Farm, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, CSKHPKV, Palampur (Himachal Pradesh), India. The lactating cows were randomly divided into four groups, each group having six animals. T1, T2 and T3 group cows received giloy stem powder (150 g), Fenugreek seed powder (150 g), and a combination of both the herbs (75 g of each) respectively, mixed with the concentrate feed for 60 days while the control group (T0) received only the concentrate. Milk yield was recorded every 5th day from day 0 (a day before the starting of herbal treatment) to Day 75 (15 days after the stoppage of herbal feeding). Milk sampling was done fortnightly, from Day 0 to Day 75. It was found that the feeding of giloy stem powder or Fenugreek seed powder alone or in combination to lactating Jersey crossbred cows did not lead to any significant change on the milk yield and milk composition (Milk Fat, SNF, milk protein and lactose).
India is the world’s largest milk producer followed by the United States of America, China, Pakistan and Brazil. India produced 155.5 million tonne of milk, showing an annual growth of 6.27 per cent and the per capita availability was 337 gram per day in the year 2015-16 (Annual report 2016-17, GOI). The use of plants as medicine is widespread throughout the world. It is estimated that more than 35,000 plant species are being used around the world for medicinal purposes (Dandotiya et al., 2013). Ethno-veterinary and herbal medicinal products ideally have multiple effects and are helpful in a variety of disease conditions as well as for beneficial effects on the health of domestic animals. Even though the modern developments in the therapeutic field brought about a rapid decline in traditional medicine, the plant-based remedies are still having a crucial role as the potential source of therapeutic aids in health systems all over the world for both humans and animals (Chakraborty and Pal, 2012). Herbal galactogogues are medicinal plants that are used to augment milk production in animals.
Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), also known as guduchi, occupies the top spot in “Ayurvedic Materia Medica” and it has been designated as “Rasayana” (Bhattacharyya and Bhattacharyya, 2013). This plant finds mention in ancient Sanskrit literature like Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, as a potential healer of many diseases. The dietary supplementation of giloy (T. cordifolia) peripartum in 15 pregnant Karan Fries crossbred cows showed an increase (p<0.05) of milk production over 305 days of lactation. Milk composition (fat, protein, lactose and SNF) was similar for control and treatment group. A significant (p<0.05) reduction in somatic cell count was also observed during the experimental period (Mallick and Prakash, 2011). Giloy (T. Cordifolia) supplemented diet in Murrah buffalo lead to a significant increase (p<0.05) in average milk yield (kg/day) in treatment group (8.07±0.14) than the control (7.16±0.10), while the differences in milk constituents (Protein, Fat, SNF and Lactose) between the groups were non-significant (Mir et al., 2014). A similar study on production parameters of lactating Murrah buffaloes supplemented with giloy (T. cordifolia) showed the significant increase (p<0.05) in milk yield, along with no change in milk fat per cent, lactose per cent and SNF per cent. However, a significant change was observed in milk protein per cent of treatment group when fed at the dose of 120g/day/animal (Mir et al., 2015).
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graceum), locally known as methi, is one of the oldest herbs which grows throughout India and other parts of the world. Fenugreek seeds fed in the diet to dairy cows have been found to improve the profile of functional fatty acids in the milk and produced lower concentrations of cholesterol in milk without altering milk flavour or taste in a study done on dairy cows (Shah and Mir, 2004). An experimental study on lactating buffaloes concluded that milk yield, SNF and lactose were significantly (p<0.05) increased in the treatment group, while protein and fat content was similar for fenugreek-treated animals and control (Abo El-Nor et al., 2007). A higher milk yield in goats has also been reported in fenugreek fed animals (Al-Shaikh et al., 1999). A study in Saudi goats leads to an observation that goats fed with 60g/day fenugreek seed powder had significantly higher (p<0.05) milk yield than in control group (1236±38 vs. 1093±43 mL/day) (Alamer and Basiouni, 2005). A similar observation in goats fed with fenugreek was established in respect to increased milk yield (p<0.05) along with the decrease in milk fat content with an inconsistent pattern of protein, lactose and SNF (Elman et al., 2013). Ewes fed with fenugreek seeds at level 0.6 and 1.2g/kg live body weight as compared to control group showed that daily milk yield, milk protein per cent and SNF increased significantly (p<0.05), while the per cent of milk fat and milk lactose were significantly decreased (Al-Sherwany, 2015).
Materials and Methods
The study trial was conducted on Jersey crossbred, healthy cows in various stages of lactation, maintained at the Instructional Livestock Farm, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, CSKHPKV, Palampur (Himachal Pradesh). The experimental animals were maintained in loose housing system, under standard feeding and management conditions being followed at Livestock farm. The animals were fed twice daily and watered ad libitum. The major fodder provided to the cows during entire study consisted of setaria, maize, sorghum, local grass. In addition, the animals were also offered concentrate during milking time.
The lactating cows were randomly divided into four groups, each group having six animals. T1, T2 and T3 group cows received giloy stem powder (150 g), fenugreek seed powder (150 g), and a combination of both the herbs (75 g of each) respectively, mixed with the concentrate feed for 60 days while the control group (T0) received only the concentrate. The herbal treatments were administered at a fixed time daily i.e. afternoon milking hours, to all the animals till day 60 of the experimental trial. Milk yield of all the experimental dairy cows was recorded at a regular interval on every 5th day. The first record was taken a day prior to the start of the feeding herbal treatment (day 0) till 15 days after the stoppage of herbal supplementation (day 75).
Recording of milk yield was done during morning and evening milking hours. Milk from each animal was weighed on an electronic weighing balance and noted in a record register. Milk samples from experimental dairy cows were collected at regular intervals of 15 days till day 75 of the experiment. First sampling was done a day before the start (day 0) of feeding trial. Milk samples were collected in clean screw capped acid washed vials during morning and evening milking hours. All samples were taken after proper plunging of the milk from each animal to avoid aberrant sample collection. The samples were then stored at -20˚C till further analysis. Necessary precautionary measures were taken to avoid any contamination and deterioration of milk samples. The milk samples were analyzed for milk fat per cent, SNF per cent, protein per cent and lactose per cent content using automated milk analyser (EKOMILK, Milk analyzer Ultra PRO) as per the standard protocol. Statistical analysis was done analyzed using computer software ‘SAS Enterprise Guide’. The data was analyzed by using ANOVA at 5 per cent level of significance.
Results and Discussion
Milk yield (kg/day) for control and treatment groups are depicted in Fig. 1. Average milk yield (kg/day) for T0 and the treatment groups (T1,T2 and T3) was 7.06 ±1.64, 7.23 ±1.31, 7.04 ±0.80 and 7.29 ±1.02 kg/day respectively, prior to start of feeding experimental study on day 0. The values showed a declining trend around day 10. Milk yield values for all the groups tended to return towards day 0 values around day 25 of the trial. Milk yield values on day 30 for T0, T1, T2 and T3 were 6.33±1.71, 6.65±1.23, 6.81±0.63 and 6.99±0.73 kg/day respectively. The milk yield values for T0 group showed a declining trend towards the completion of experimental study trial.
Fig. 1: Milk yield (kg/day) of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control group
In giloy fed treatment (T1) group, with a decline on day 10, milk yield values were seen to return towards day 0 values and showed an increase in milk yield till day 60 of supplementation with herbal treatment. Milk yield followed a declining trend after the supplementation with herbal treatment was discontinued. The numerically higher milk yield values were evident for the T1 group in comparison to control (T0) group from day 30 onwards till completion of the experimental study. However, the difference in milk yield values between T0 and T1 was not statistically significant.
The group T2, fed with fenugreek seed powder followed a similar trend to that of the control group. With a decline in milk yield values on day 10, an increase in milk yield values was evident up to day 35 of feeding with herbal treatment. Later, the group showed a declining trend in milk yield post day 35 of the till day 75. The milk yield values for group T2 were slightly higher than the corresponding values of control group (T0) but the differences were statistically non-significant. A similar trend was observed in group T3 too. After a decline on day 10, milk yield values were observed to return towards day 0 milk yield values around day 30. During the course of herbal feeding, the milk yield values remained higher than the corresponding values of the control group but the variation remained non-significant. Mir et al. (2014) reported average milk yield (kg/day) in giloy (T. cordifolia) supplemented group (8.07±0.14) was significantly (p<0.05) higher than the control (7.16±0.10) in Murrah buffalo. Similar findings were reported by Mir et al. (2015) where giloy (T. cordifolia) supplementation increased milk yield by 10.10 per cent in Murrah buffalo. Mallick and Prakash, (2011) documented an increase in milk yield on giloy (T. cordifiolia) supplementation in Karan Fries cattle. Abo El-Nor et al. (2007) reported a higher milk yield in buffaloes fed with fenugreek. Al-Shaikh et al. (1999), Alamer and Basiouni, (2005) and Elman et al. (2013) reported similar finding in the study conducted on dairy goats.
In the present study milk yield in all the treatment groups was observed to be numerically higher in comparison to control group from day 30 onwards. However, the values did not differ significantly. Neither any significant difference was observed between the treatment groups. The decline in milk yield which was evident on day 10 can be attributed to fact that the animals were vaccinated* on day 5 from the start of the trial. Post-vaccination decline in milk yield in dairy animals has also been reported by Scott et al. (2001) and Bergeron and Elsener (2008). The results indicate that the herbal supplementation tended to bring the milk yield values back to day 0 values after the post-vaccination decline in milk yield. In contrast, milk yield values in control group showed a declining trend during the trial.
The milk fat per cent of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control are tabulated in Table 1.
Table 1: Fat (%) in the milk of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control group (Mean±S.E.)
|Group||Day 0||Day 15||Day 30||Day 45||Day 60||Day 75|
|T0||4.31a ±0.06||4.25a ±0.03||4.18a ±0.04||4.31a ±0.08||4.30a±0.08||4.29a±0.18|
|T1||4.41a ±0.16||4.26a ±0.17||4.42a ±0.19||4.45a ±0.12||4.58a ±0.09||4.33a ±0.09|
|T2||4.36a ±0.21||4.25a ±0.19||4.26a ±0.14||4.32a ±0.15||4.43a ±0.14||4.34a ±0.10|
|T3||4.36a ±0.15||4.31a ±0.07||4.43a ±0.11||4.49a ±0.17||4.52a ±0.13||4.40a ±0.17|
Figures with different superscripts (a, b, c) differ significantly (p<0.05) between rows; Figures with different superscripts (x, y, z) differ significantly (p<0.05) between columns; T0-Control, T1– Giloy, T2-Fenugreek, T3-Both (Fenugreek+Giloy)
Milk fat per cent was found to be in the range between 4.18±0.04 to 4.58±0.09 per cent for control and treatment groups. The control group (T0) animals did not show much variation in the milk fat per cent during the course of experimental study. The milk fat values in the treatment groups (T1, T2 and T3) also did not show any significant change. However, an increasing trend in milk fat per cent values was seen in the treatment groups during the second month of the trial. The slight decline in milk fat per cent was seen when herbal supplementation was stopped in the treatment groups. These variations were statistically non-significant.
The findings of this study are in concurrence with reports documented by Mallick and Prakash, (2011), Mir et al. (2014) and Mir et al. (2015). These workers found no significant change in milk fat per cent on giloy (T. cordifolia) supplementation. Similarly, Abo El-Nor et al. (2007) observed no change in milk fat per cent in fenugreek fed buffaloes. Contrarily, Elman et al. (2013) and Al-Sherwany, (2015) reported a decline in milk fat levels on fenugreek supplementation in goats and ewes respectively. Milk SNF per cent values ranged between 7.90±0.15 and 8.31±0.13 per cent for the control and treatment groups (Table 2). The milk protein per cent varied between 2.90±0.06 and 3.05±0.05 per cent (Table 3) whereas the lactose per cent values were between 4.57±0.07 and 4.35±0.08 per cent (Table 4) for control and treatment groups. Milk composition (SNF, protein and lactose per cent) was found to be similar for control and treatment groups. No significant effect on the milk composition can be attributed to herbal supplementation.
Table 2: SNF (%) in the milk of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control group (Mean±S.E.)
|Group||Day 0||Day 15||Day 30||Day 45||Day 60||Day 75|
|T0||8.13a ±0.28||8.15a ±0.22||8.16a ±0.10||8.10a ±0.03||8.01a ±0.09||8.18a ±0.04|
|T1||8.06a ±0.18||8.19a ±0.05||8.20a ±0.06||8.20a ±0.08||7.90a ±0.15||8.07a ±0.12|
|T2||8.17a ±0.07||8.03a ±0.19||8.21a ±0.23||8.09a ±0.25||8.25a ±0.15||8.31a ±0.13|
|T3||8.16a ±0.14||8.13a ±0.16||8.04a ±0.14||7.90a ±0.38||7.99a ±0.38||7.84a ±0.35|
Table 3: Protein (%) in the milk of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control group (Mean±S.E.)
|Group||Day 0||Day 15||Day 30||Day 45||Day 60||Day 75|
|T0||2.98a ±0.10||2.99a ±0.08||3.00a ±0.04||2.97a ±0.01||2.94a ±0.03||3.00a ±0.02|
|T1||2.96a ±0.07||3.01a ±0.02||3.01a ±0.02||3.01a ±0.03||2.90a ±0.06||2.96a ±0.04|
|T2||3.00a ±0.03||2.95a ±0.07||3.01a ±0.09||2.97a ±0.09||3.03a ±0.06||3.05a ±0.05|
|T3||2.99a ±0.05||2.98a ±0.06||2.95a ±0.05||2.90a ±0.14||2.93a ±0.14||2.88a ±0.13|
Table 4: Lactose (%) in the milk of lactating cows treated with herbal supplements and control group (Mean±S.E.)
|Group||Day 0||Day 15||Day 30||Day 45||Day 60||Day 75|
|T0||4.47a ±0.15||4.48a ±0.12||4.49a ±0.06||4.45a ±0.02||4.41a ±0.05||4.50a ±0.02|
|T1||4.43a ±0.10||4.51a ±0.03||4.51a ±0.03||4.51a ±0.04||4.35a ±0.08||4.44a ±0.07|
|T2||4.49a ±0.04||4.41a ±0.11||4.51a ±0.13||4.45a ±0.14||4.54a ±0.08||4.57a ±0.07|
|T3||4.49a ±0.07||4.47a ±0.09||4.42a ±0.08||4.35a ±0.21||4.40a ±0.21||4.31a ±0.19|
Figures with different superscripts (a, b, c) differ significantly (p<0.05) between rows; T0-Control, T1– Giloy, T2-Fenugreek, T3-Both (Fenugreek+Giloy)
Other research workers have reported varied effects of herbal supplementation on milk composition (SNF, Protein and Lactose) in dairy animals. Mallick and Prakash, (2011) observed no significant change in the values of SNF, Protein and Lactose in the milk of Karan Fries cattle after T. cordifolia supplementation. Elman et al. (2013) also did not observe any specific pattern in the values of SNF, Protein and Lactose in the milk of fenugreek fed Nubian goats. Contrarily, significantly higher (p<0.05) milk protein was reported by Mir et al. (2015) in Murrah buffaloes treated with T. cordifolia. Abo El-Nor et al. (2007) reported no significant change in milk fat and protein in fenugreek fed buffaloes but found an increase in SNF and Lactose (%).
It can be concluded from the present study that the feeding giloy stem powder or fenugreek seed powder alone or in combination to lactating Jersey crossbred cows did not lead to any significant change in the milk yield, however numerically higher values were observed in treated groups during second month of feeding with herbal supplements. Also, the milk composition parameters (Fat, SNF, milk protein and lactose) did not change to any significant extent after feeding of giloy or fenugreek or both the herbs in lactating Jersey crossbred cows.