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Establishment of forage kochia in seeding mixtures with perennial grasses

Aryal, Parmeshwor, Islam, M. Anowarul
Grassland science 2019 v.65 no.3 pp. 147-154
Bassia prostrata, annual weeds, autumn, cool season grasses, environmental factors, forage, forage production, indigenous species, monitoring, perennials, plant density, planting date, sowing, spring, summer, winter, Wyoming
Forage kochia (Bassia prostrata L.) can persist in disturbed areas and provide high‐quality forage even during fall and winter months. However, information is needed on the effect of planting time and subsequent environmental conditions on forage kochia establishment. A field study was initiated in 2014 in Wyoming to determine the optimum planting time for successful forage kochia establishment and examine its performance in seeded mixtures with perennial cool‐season grasses in areas dominated by annual weeds. The experiment was carried out using split‐plot in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The main plots consisted of three planting times (late winter, early spring and summer), and subplots included eight seeding mixture treatments. Species included in mixtures were forage kochia, four native grasses and two nonnative grasses. The summer (May) planting failed completely, and early spring (April) planting resulted in greater plant density for forage kochia and grasses than late winter (March) planting. Although, forage kochia monoculture had greater forage kochia density than other treatments, forage kochia stands were satisfactory when seeded in mixtures with perennial grasses. By the year after planting, plant density of forage kochia and grasses was reduced to about one‐third of 2014 density. During initial establishment stage, it is thought that forage kochia and perennial grasses were affected by dense cover of annual weeds. However, greater plant density was observed for April compared to March plantings, and forage kochia monoculture had good stands despite dense stands of annual weeds, even in 2015. The results suggest that successful establishment of forage kochia is possible when it is planted in early spring under conditions of this study. However, monitoring stands the following years is needed to determine the persistence and forage production of different seeding mixtures of forage kochia and perennial grasses.