Research Article

Methods of storing cactus pear genotypes for animal feeding


Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate storage methods of cactus pear as a way of conservation for use in animal feeding. The randomised experimental design composed twelve treatments and three replications. Three cactus pear genotypes, Nopalea cochenillifera genotype Doce and Baiana and Opuntia tuna genotype Orelha de Elefante Mexicana (OEM), were stored in natura (0, 30 and 60 days after harvest) and as silage. There was a significant difference (p < 0.05) on the chemical and mineral composition of the material stored in natura versus silage. OEM cactus pear presented the highest crude protein content when stored in natura for 0, 30 and 60 days. The highest lignin content was observed in cactus pear OEM when stored in natura for 30 and 60 days after harvest. Macro- and micronutrient contents were within the recommended ranges for ruminant feeding regardless of the cactus pear genotype and storage method. The cactus pear genotypes Doce and Baiana, and genotype OEM can be stored as silage and in natura form for up to 60 days after harvest without compromising the quality of the feed for ruminants.

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