Main content area

Fodder potential of Opuntia ficus-indica

Tegegne, F.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.581 pp. 343-346
Opuntia ficus-indica, animal performance, ash content, calcium, cladodes, digestibility, feces, feeds, fruits, greenhouses, magnesium, mineral content, nutrient requirements, ruminants, sodium
The objective of this study was to investigate the fodder potential of Opuntia ficus-indica. Samples taken from a plant grown in a greenhouse were analysed for DM, ash, CP, CF, NFE and EE and mineral concentrations. The in vitro DM digestibility (IVDMD) was assayed by the faeces liquor technique. Moisture concentration was extremely high (93%), while ash content was low (7.43% of DM). Fruits and young cladodes had significantly (P<0.05) higher CP than middle-aged and old cladodes, but CF did not vary with age. Age also had a significant effect on NFE, Ca, and P concentrations and significantly (P<0.001) reduced IVDMD values. IVDMD could be predicted by the regression equation: IVDMD= 74.1-4.12 age-0.009 CP+0.482 CF-0.91 EE+0.989 ash; r2 = 93.6 (P<0.001). Compared with ruminant nutrient requirements, O. ficus-indica was moderate in CP, Ca, Mg and P, and low in Na and K contents. It was highly digestible. Based on these nutritive characteristics, it was estimated that O. ficus-indica has a high-energy value. For any true evaluation and in order to incorporate it into feeding systems, its combination with other feeds and its effect on animal performance should be investigated.