A Comparison of the Nutritional Value of Opuntia and Agave Plants for Ruminants
A large area of northern Mexico and southern United States are located in arid and semiarid
areas. In these areas, long drought periods are common, with high summer temperatures and
low winter temperatures. These factors cause both low forage production and availability.
Fortunately, under these conditions, forage is available from plants that have adapted to these
ecological conditions, such as Agave and Opuntia plants (Borrego, 1986). Although, these plants
are generally felt to have low nutritional value, they are used in these areas as an emergency
maintenance feed and as part of the regular rations. These plants have good palatability and
high humidity content (Suñigiga, 1980).