Edible spineless cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica): A promising alternative forage source for livestock
Indian journal of dairy science
Spineless cactus (Opuntia fcus-indica) is a fast growing xerophytic plant well adapted to arid conditions. It remains green even during summer and can serve as a feed resource during scarcity. Its productivity is high in fertile soils and with irrigation facilities but it also grows in poor soils and with little water. It doesn't need well-drained soils and tolerates salinity to a higher extent. Cactus can produce a biomass of 20-200 tonnes DM/ha/year. Cactus pear has the advantage of being a
... antage of being a source of water for animals particularly during the dry season. The adaptations enable cactus to convert water 4-5 times more efficiently to DM than the most efficient grasses. Cactus cladodes are high in water, sugars, ash, vitamins A and C but they are low in crude protein and fibre. They exhibit a high Ca: P ratio and are highly palatable. Spineless cactus can be used as a source of alternative green fodder for the livestock particularly in small ruminants and has the capability to combat extreme draught conditions with round the year availability. Though many varieties/clones of spineless cactus have been developed but their potential as animal feed need to be investigated further.