• Plains Pricklypear Is a Good Forage for Cattle

      Shoop, M. C.; Alford, E. J.; Mayland, H. F. (Society for Range Management, 1977-01-01)
      Singed plains pricklypear was assessed as a cattle forage. In an 84-day feeding trial, six pairs of heifers were individually fed a basal ration of hay and cottonseed meal at 2.3% of initial bodyweight. One heifer in each pair also ate singed pricklypear offered ad libitum. Pricklypear increased total dry matter consumption 43% and weight gain 72%. The heifers experienced no digestive problems during the trial or ensuing 60 days on pricklypear range. Chemical analyses and microdigestion trials indicated that digestibility of pricklypear was equal or superior to that of high quality alfalfa hay. Pricklypear contained about 40% more soluble carbohydrates than alfalfa hay, but contained only 3.4% digestible protein. Therefore, rations containing pricklypear would usually require protein supplementation. We concluded that singed pricklypear was a palatable and nutritious feed and should be evaluated as an additional forage on shortgrass range.