Immigrant Forage Kochia, see also Snowstorm Forage Kochia
Immigrant Forage Kochia or prostrate kochia is native to the heavily grazed rangeland regions of Central Eurasia. It is a long-lived, perennial, semi-evergreen half-shrub that is well adapted to Western U.S. rangelands. It 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 thrived during hot dry conditions.
Immigrant Forage Kochia is a Great Basin Seed specialty. The first selections and studies were performed at the Great Basin Experimentation Station 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 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.
Forage kochia (Bassia prostrata AKA Kochia prostrata) is different from the weedy Annual Kochia (Kochia scoparia) that many despise. They are NOT the same and should not be confused. Snowstorm Forage Kochia (Bassia prostrata grisea) is a new release that boasts tall stems that rise above snowpack that would otherwise bury the Immigrant variety.
Because Immigrant Forage Kochia is a perennial, it is non-invasive to native perennial plant communities, and it does not cause nitrate or oxalate toxicity. Forage kochia out-competes many noxious annual weeds including halogen and cheatgrass. Once it has replaced cheatgrass, perennial native species can re-establish in the stand of forage kochia, thus leading to diverse, stable perennial plant communities.
Sowing is best done in the winter months, generally mid December through mid February. Condition (harrow or some form of agitation) your ground in the fall as weather permits then sow seed over snow or in cold bare ground. Sowing at any other time of year is not recommended.
Our Kochia is collected every fall (November) and stored in freezers to preserve germination.
Scientific Name: Bassia prostrate ssp. vivescens or Kochia prostrata