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ABOVE-GROUND BIOMASS ESTIMATION OF OPUNTIA FICUS-INDICA (L.) MILL. FOR FORAGE CROP IN A MEDITERRANEAN ENVIRONMENT BY USING NON-DESTRUCTIVE METHODS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2016

CARLOS MANUEL GASPAR REIS
Affiliation:
Departamento de Ciências da Vida e dos Alimentos, Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, Escola Superior Agrária 6001–909 Castelo Branco, Portugal Research Centre for Natural Resources, Environment and Society (CERNAS-IPCB), Bencanta, 3045–601 Coimbra, Portugal
LUIZ CARLOS GAZARINI
Affiliation:
Departamento de Biologia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, ICAAM – Instituto de Ciências Agrarias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, Universidade de Évora, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
TERESA FIDALGO FONSECA
Affiliation:
Department of Forest Sciences and Architecture Landscape, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000–801 Vila Real, Portugal
MARIA MARGARIDA RIBEIRO*
Affiliation:
Departamento de Recursos Naturais e Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, Escola Superior Agrária 6001–909 Castelo Branco, Portugal Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
*
§§Corresponding author. Email: mataide@ipcb.pt

Summary

In marginal lands Opuntia ficus-indica (OFI) could be used as an alternative fruit and forage crop. The plant vigour and the biomass production were evaluated in Portuguese germplasm (15 individuals from 16 ecotypes) by non-destructive methods, 2 years following planting in a marginal soil and dryland conditions. Two Italian cultivars (Gialla and Bianca) were included in the study for comparison purposes. The biomass production and the plant vigour were estimated by measuring the cladodes number and area, and the fresh (FW) and dry weight (DW) per plant. We selected linear models by using the biometric data from 60 cladodes to predict the cladode area, the FW and the DW per plant. Among ecotypes, significant differences were found in the studied biomass-related parameters and several homogeneous groups were established. Four Portuguese ecotypes had higher biomass production than the others, 3.20 Mg ha−1 on average, a value not significantly different to the improved ‘Gialla’ cultivar, which averaged 3.87 Mg ha−1. Those ecotypes could be used to start a breeding program and to deploy material for animal feeding and fruit production.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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ABOVE-GROUND BIOMASS ESTIMATION OF OPUNTIA FICUS-INDICA (L.) MILL. FOR FORAGE CROP IN A MEDITERRANEAN ENVIRONMENT BY USING NON-DESTRUCTIVE METHODS
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ABOVE-GROUND BIOMASS ESTIMATION OF OPUNTIA FICUS-INDICA (L.) MILL. FOR FORAGE CROP IN A MEDITERRANEAN ENVIRONMENT BY USING NON-DESTRUCTIVE METHODS
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