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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246710

Title: Perennial Forage Kochia for Improved Productivity of Grass Dominated Winter Grazing Pastures

item GREENHALGH, LINDEN - Utah State University
item OLSON, KENNETH - Utah State University
item ZOBELL, DALE - Utah State University
item Waldron, Blair
item MOULTON, ALICIA - Utah State University
item DAVENPORT, BURKE - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)

Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/25/2008
Publication Date: 6/26/2008
Citation: Greenhalgh, L.K., Olson, K.C., Zobell, D.R., Waldron, B.L., Moulton, A.R., Davenport, B.W. 2008. Perennial Forage Kochia for Improved Productivity of Grass Dominated Winter Grazing Pastures. American Society of Animal Science.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Grazing forage kochia (Kochia prostrata) during fall/winter has been shown to improve livestock health and reduce winter feeding costs. The objectives of this study were to compare the differences of traditional winter pastures versus pastures with forage kochia. Fifty mature, pregnant, Black Angus crossbred cows were body condition scored (BCS) and randomly divided into two groups of 25 head. One group was placed in a forage kochia/crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum) pasture, the other (control) group in a crested wheatgrass/cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) pasture. Both groups were placed in the pastures on 10/02/07 and removed on 01/03/08. Upon removal, cows were combined in one group and condition scored. Forage availability measured by the double sampling method showed the control and study pastures to contain 496 kg/ha and 3370 kg/ha of forage, respectively. Crude protein was 2.5 and 9.8 percent for crested wheatgrass and forage kochia, respectively. Estimated carrying capacities were 0.66 AUM/ha for the control and 4.46 AUM/ha for the forage kochia pasture. Initial (control = 5.33, kochia = 5.09) and final (control = 5.64, kochia = 5.63) BCS were similar (P>0.10) among treatment groups. Although not statistically significant (P=0.12), there was a trend for greater increase in BCS for the kochia pasture (+0.54) compared to the control pasture (+0.31). Overall, this study found that both pastures had adequate forage to maintain body condition; however, carrying capacity was almost seven times greater in the forage kochia pasture than the crested wheatgrass pasture. This study further indicates that winter grazing can be enhanced by including forage kochia as one of the plant components.