Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246718

Title: Perennial Forage Kochia for Increased Production of Winter Grazed Pastures

item GREENHALGH, LINDEN - Utah State University
item Waldron, Blair
item ZOBELL, DALE - Utah State University
item OLSON, KENNETH - South Dakota State University

Submitted to: Joint Abstracts of the American Dairy Science and Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2009
Publication Date: 9/1/2009
Citation: Greenhalgh, L.K., Waldron, B.L., Zobell, D.R., Olson, K.C. 2009. Perennial Forage Kochia for Increased Production of Winter Grazed Pastures. Joint Abstracts of the American Dairy Science and Society of Animal Science.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Grazing forage kochia (Kochia prostrata) during fall/winter has improved livestock health and reduced winter feeding costs. The objectives of this study were to compare forage production/quality and livestock performance of traditional winter pastures versus pastures with forage kochia. Two kochia pastures were established in Tooele County, Utah, in January 2005. Mature, pregnant, crossbred cows at both locations were body condition scored (BCS) and randomly divided into groups, then placed in either forage kochia/crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum) or crested wheatgrass/cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) pastures. Grazing lasted for 60 days in 2007 and 84 days in 2008. Cows were combined and condition scored. Data were analyzed using the mixed procedure of SAS considering pasture treatments (improved with forage kochia vs. control) as fixed and each location by year combination as random blocks. Forage production data showed control and study pastures with 441 kg-ha-1 and 2586 kg-ha-1 of forage, respectively. The nutritional quality of forage kochia plants was compared to that of grass plants (primarily crested wheatgrass). In vitro true digestibility was similar (P>0.50) for crested wheatgrass and forage kochia (63.0% and 64.0%. respectively), but crude protein was significantly greater (P<0.001) for forage kochia than for crested wheatgrass (11.7% and 3.1%, respectively). Cattle on improved ranges with forage kochia had a greater (P<0.01) increase (+0.65) in BCS than cattle on unimproved rangelands (+0.39) comprised mostly of crested wheatgrass. Overall, this study found that both pastures had adequate forage to increase body condition; however, the most noteworthy result is the nearly six-fold increase in production (which translates to increased carrying capacity) in the forage kochia pastures.