Feed Value of Cactus and Cactus Silage


Abstract: The nutrient composition, and feed value of cactus were evaluated through total collection and nylon bag techniques. In the first trial conducted with 3 Chios rams, digestion coefficients of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, ether extracts, crude fiber and nitrogen-free extracts of cactus leaves (cladodes) and cactus silage were found to be 57.57, 79.20, 72.69, 79.13, 27.95 and 84.14%; 57.32, 69.40, 33.21, 90.10, 13.08 and 78.45%, respectively. The contents of digestible protein, ether exctracts, fiber and nitrogen-free extracts (dry matter basis) were as 3.55, 1.61, 6.77 and 63.33%; 2.14, 1.78, 7.71 and 52.35%, respectively. Depending upon the data above, starch unit (SU) and total digestible nutrients (TDN) of the same feeds were calculated (dry matter basis) as 58.10 and 42.80%; 61.20 and 46.37%, respectively. Dry matter degradation data of newly emerged leaves (named as young cladodes) and leaves ripened (named as old cladodes) and the silage of their mixture determined by means of nylon bag technique at 4, 8, 16, 24, 48, 72, 96 h following the rumen incubation with 3 cannulated Merino rams were 50.39, 56.36, 78.35, 77.78, 84.88, 84.95 and 82.01%; 43.58, 47.77, 50.26, 63.22, 66.23, 64.18 and 63.13%; 38.63, 39.99, 45.97, 57.58, 64.35, 67.91 and 71.77%, respectively. The in situ rumen dry matter degradation rates of young cladodes were significantly higher than those of the old ones and the silage at 4, 8, 16, 24 and 72 h at P < 0.01 and at 48 and 96 h at P < 0.05 levels. During the whole year, each months, old and young cladodes and their mixed silages were analysed in order to determine variations in their nutrient compositions. Statistical analyses indicated significant differences in nutrient compositions in terms of both young/old cladodes and months (P < 0.01). pH and organic acid determinations carried out after sensorial tests proved that old cladodes had better silage quality scores of old cladodes compared to the young cladodes. The results of this research indicated that cactus and cactus silage can be utilised efficiently as an alternative roughage in ruminant nutrition.

Keywords: Cactus, cactus silage, cladode, digestibility, dry matter degradation, nylon bag technique

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