Forage Kochia seed and plant description
Scientific Name: Bassia prostrata or Kochia prostrata
Forage Kochia or Immigrant Forage Kochia is one of our specialties. The first selections and studies of Forage Kochia were performed at the Great Basin Experimentation by A. Parry Plummer and Richard Stevens, Great Basin Seed family member and plant botanist for the Utah Fish & Game. Those selections were later planted at various locations in Utah and Nevada where we now harvest them in a wild land setting every fall. Great Basin Seed is one of the largest purveyors of Immigrant Forage Kochia in the United States.
One major challenge for beef producers in the Western United States is the high cost of winter feed and quality forage. During winter, dormant grasses are high in energy (fiber) but low in protein. Forage Kochia provides a solution to this winter feed conundrum. It is high in protein and has good digestibility. Forage Kochia is considered a wintergreen, blossoms late summer and sets seed in November. It remains green throughout the winter months and starts new leaves in late December. It is unrivaled for winter range feed value. It produces well in arid conditions.
Forage kochia is drought tolerant and will grow on as little as 6 inches annual precipitation. It is salt and alkali tolerant. We recommend it as a component of mixes for saline badlands or challenging soil conditions.
Forage Kochia is fire resistant and a key component in the fight against cheet grass wildfires in the west. It will compete with cheet grass for early spring moisture but it is not invasive and does not spread aggressively. Where Kochia is established it will out compete cheet grass and create visible borders, simultaneously creating a green fire break and reducing the overall flammable biomass. It is an evergreen and has succulent leaves most of the year but reaches peak greenery late summer when annual grasses and understory dry out and become a fire hazard. It is very effective and valuable for green-striping on western rangelands.