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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321318

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Interseeding forage kochia into established Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to improve fall and winter grazing potential

Author
item Waldron, Blair
item BANKS, JEFFREY - Utah State University
item NEWHALL, ROBERT - Utah State University
item SNYDER, DONALD - Utah State University
item THORNTON, K - Utah State University

Submitted to: Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2016
Publication Date: 8/11/2016
Citation: Waldron, B.L., Banks, J.E., Newhall, R.L., Snyder, D.L., Thornton, K.J. 2016. Interseeding forage kochia into established Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to improve fall and winter grazing potential. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. 2:doi: 10.2134/cftm2015.0200.

Interpretive Summary: Highly erodible and environmentally sensitive farm acres coming out of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts could remain in perennial species and be used for fall and winter grazing if wheatgrass monocultures could be renovated by interseeding nutritious forage species. This on-farm study evaluated the success of interseeding forage kochia into established wheatgrass stands, and measured the effect on forage mass, forage nutritive value, and economic return on investment. Tillage treatments of either one or two passes with a chisel plow were used to thin existing grass stand, and 'Immigrant' forage kochia was broadcast seeded by plane (winter 2007) over the tilled areas. Establishment, forage mass, and nutritive value were determined four consecutive years (2010-2013) during the fall grazing season. Forage kochia successfully established, with nearly double (179% greater) plant frequency in the 2-pass chisel plow treatment compared to the 1-pass treatment. The 2-pass treatment forage mass of 2,991 lb acre-1 was 161% and 303% greater than the 1-pass and control treatments, respectively, and resulted in stocking rates of 2.6, 1.6, and 0.9 animal unit months (AUM) acre-1, respectively. Interseeding forage kochia improved the nutritive value of the stockpiled forage, with crude protein concentrations of 8.8, 7.8, and 4.5% for the 2-pass, 1-pass, and control treatments, respectively. Based upon estimated added grazing value, the 2-pass treatment had the highest yearly net return of $35.84 acre-1, as compared to $19.17 and $12.26 for the 1-pass treatment and control, respectively. This research documented that interseeding forage kochia into established CRP land can increase the potential for fall/winter grazing by livestock.

Technical Abstract: Highly erodible farm acres coming out of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts could remain in perennial species and be used for fall and winter grazing if wheatgrass monocultures could be renovated by interseeding nutritious forage species. This on-farm study evaluated the success of interseeding forage kochia into established wheatgrass stands, and measured the effect on forage mass, forage nutritive value, and economic return. Tillage treatments of one or two passes with a chisel plow were used to thin existing grass stand, and 'Immigrant' forage kochia was broadcast seeded (winter 2007) over the tilled area. Establishment, forage mass, and nutritive value were determined four consecutive years (2010-2013) during the fall grazing season. Forage kochia successfully established, with nearly double (179% greater) (P<0.05) plant frequency in the 2-pass chisel plow treatment compared to the 1-pass treatment. The 2-pass treatment forage mass of 2,991 lb acre-1 was 161% and 303% greater (P<0.05) than the 1-pass and control treatments, respectively, and resulted in stocking rates of 2.6, 1.6, and 0.9 animal unit months acre-1, respectively. Interseeding forage kochia improved (P<0.05) the nutritive value of the stockpiled forage, with crude protein concentrations of 8.8, 7.8, and 4.5% for the 2-pass, 1-pass, and control treatments, respectively. Based upon estimated added grazing value, the 2-pass treatment had the highest yearly net return of $35.84 acre-1, as compared to $19.17 and $12.26 for the 1-pass treatment and control, respectively. This research documented that interseeding forage kochia into established CRP land can increase the potential for fall/winter grazing by livestock.