Forage Kochia for Fall/Winter Grazing
Blair L. Waldron, USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Lab, Logan, UT
Prepared for the USU Blue Creek Field Day - July 2, 2002
Winter feeding costs have often been cited as one of the most limiting aspects to cattle ranching in the Intermountain west. Research and rancher experience suggests that using forage kochia for fall/winter grazing may help reduce winter feeding costs. Forage or prostrate kochia (Kochia prostrata) is native to the heavily grazed rangeland regions of Central Eurasia. It is a long-lived, semi-evergreen half-shrub that averages 1 to 3 feet high. It is drought, saline, and alkaline tolerant, and grows on a wide range of soils in areas receiving 5 to 20 inches of yearly precipitation. It is well adapted to marginal rangelands outcompeting cheatgrass and halogeton and stabilizing disturbed soils. It is different than the weed annual kochia (Kochia scoparia), in that forage kochia is a perennial semi-shrub, will not spread into perennial plant stands, and does not have nitrate toxicity.
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