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Mechanical Despining of Plains Pricklypear

D. M. Mueller and J. R. Forwood
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 47, No. 5 (Sep., 1994), pp. 410-412
DOI: 10.2307/4002340
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4002340
Page Count: 3
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mechanical Despining of Plains Pricklypear
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Abstract

Plains pricklypear cactus (Opuntia polyacantha L.) is abundant on the Central Great Plains, producing dry matter yields from 1,500 to 2,000 kg/ha. Although pricklypear is high in energy and palatable, long sharp spines make it, and vegetation immediately surrounding it, unavailable to livestock. The possibility of simultaneously controlling and feeding plains pricklypear led to development of machinery for harvesting and despining cactus. The mechanical despiner described here adequately removed spines from pads during periods of low relative humidity. Softening of cactus spines due to high relative humidity resulted in failure of the despiner to adequately remove spines. Cattle readily ate despined cactus in the winter when green forage was unavailable.

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