How it Works

Cactus for Fodder

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) can be used as a valuable source of fodder and livelihood. By creating a high-density planting of healthy cactus cladodes, the Prickly Pear or Nopaleas can be effectively harvested for fodder; contributing to herd weight increase per hectare; leading to higher food security and human well being, whilst countering soil erosion. Through the Prickly Pear’s high water content, 85-93%, the cactus can effectively reduce the cattle’s need for water. Each hectare replaces some hundred thousand litres of drinking water for the herd.iStock_000019265649_Medium

Our main cactus varieties are the Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) and the Nopales. The aim of the high-density plantations of both Prickly Pear and Nopales is to use land in semi-arid climates to provide dramatically higher yields of biomass for farmers. These two cactus varieties can withstand harsh conditions of drought and are preferred crops to grow in soil inadequate for other plants. Through an intensive cultivation technology of the cactus, with an annual rainfall of 300-500mm, there can be an annual production of 300-500 tons per hectare and year.

Strategic reserve

The Prickly Pear and the Nopales cactus can also be stored to create a strategic reserve for longer drought periods. For example, one hectare of Prickly Pear can provide feedstock for 100 cows to survive for 1 year during a drought. Additional fiber and small amounts of protein should be added to the herd diet, and dryGrow provides companion plants that also survive harsh conditions and provide crucial protein to the diet.

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