Seasonal Prickly Pear Production Under Drip Irrigation in an Agricultural Region of Mexico


  • Arnoldo Flores-Hernández
  • Ricardo Trejo-Calzada
  • Jesús G. Arreola-Avila
  • Ignacio Orona-Castillo
  • Bernardo Murillo-Amador
  • Miguel Rivera-González
  • J. Guillermo Martínez-Rodríguez
  • Elías A. García-Gallegos



Prickly pear bud, irrigation system, production, evaporation.


In the last decade, the prickly pear (Opuntia spp) crop has acquired great importance because of its multiple attributes, emphasizing its greater alimentary demand and its water-use efficiency. In the experimental field of the CENID-RASPA in Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico, the seasonal production of four cultivars of prickly pear was evaluated under a drip irrigation system in three different levels of humidity (30, 45 and 60% of the monthly accumulated evaporation) during May to November in years 2000 and 2001. The average production of “nopalitos” in the year 2001 was 3,807 g m-2, significantly greater than in the year 2000 with 2,187 g m-2, with high effect of the age of the plant. A highly significant difference in the monthly production was detected, emphasizing in both years the warmest months, July (124 t ha-1) and August (122 t ha-1). The best level of humidity was 45% (100 mm in average monthly) for both years with an average production of 3,140 g m-2, while the level with more water output was 60% with an average production of 2,800 g m-2. In yield by cultivar, the cv. 69 (Opuntia ficus-indica) was superior to the other cultivars in both years, showing an average production of “nopalitos” of 3,630 g m-2. Therefore, cv. 69 is recommended for vegetable production in the Comarca Lagunera of México.






Scientific Papers