MINERAL NUTRITION EFFECT ON CACTUS (OPUNTIA FICUS SPP.) GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Cactus pear (
spp.) is an important resource in arid and semi-arid areas because of its ecological and socio-economic roles.
The Moroccan newly implemented agriculture sector strategy Morocco Green Plan, Plan Maroc Vert included cactus as a major crop in many regions.
In Morocco, because of a lack of research results, farming practices are very basic even if yields can significantly be improved.
On the other hand research conducted in other countries (Italy, Mexico, etc.) showed that mineral nutrition is beneficial and largely soil type related.
In order to improve agronomic practices INRA Agadir developed and implemented an agronomic research program on Cactus at Melk Zhar Experiment Station of INRA-Agadir.
Mineral nutrition management is a key component of this project.
The objective of the study was to determine the effect of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium amount on yield and quality of Opuntia ficus-indica. The treatments, applied on existing orchards and on newly planted ones, are: 0,
80 kg N/ha combined with 120 kg K/ha and 60 kg Mg/ha.
The testing was conducted on 14 best ecotypes selected out of the national germplasm collection (with more than 200 ecotypes). The tests were conducted on a sandy soil with low organic matter content.
The variables measured are: plant height, flowering, fruit yield component (weight, number/plant) and fruit sugar content.
In general, the results indicate that measured variables showed differences among treatments.
Nitrogen had significant impact on growth.
Fertilization increased number of nopalitos three times, flowering started 5 to 15 days earlier compared to control.
Regarding fruit quality, mineral nutrition improved Brix 1.5%. Finally, the different impacts induced by mineral nutrition improved general net return 15 to 25%.
Mimouni, A., Ait Lhaj, A. and Ghazi, M. (2013). MINERAL NUTRITION EFFECT ON CACTUS (OPUNTIA FICUS SPP.) GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT . Acta Hortic. 995, 213-220
cactus, cactus pears, mineral nutrition, Morocco