Nutrient concentration and nutritional efficiency in ‘Gigante’ cactus pear submitted to different spacings and fertilizations

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate nutrient concentration and nutritional efficiency in ‘Gigante’ cactus pear under different chemical, organic and organomineral fertilizations, planting configurations and spacings, during three production cycles. Seventy two treatments, involving two types of configuration in the plots, three spacings in the subplots and 12 types of fertilization in the sub-subplots were arranged in a split-split-plot scheme, in a randomized block design, with three repetitions. At the time of harvest of each production cycle, 40 cladode tissue samples were collected per treatment to determine dry matter mass and nutrient concentration, which were used to calculate the coefficients of biological utilization of nutrients. Organic fertilization reduces Mn concentrations in cladodes to levels below the sufficiency range. The nutritional efficiency of N, S, P, Mn and Zn is higher with organic and organomineral fertilizations and are associated with higher dry matter yields, whereas K nutritional efficiency is higher with mineral fertilization. The absence of fertilization or application of 30 Mg ha-1 year-1 of bovine manure is insufficient to ensure nutritional status and dry matter yield above 15 Mg ha-1 in ‘Gigante’ cactus pear.