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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR PASTURES AND RANGELANDS IN THE TEMPERATE SEMIARID REGIONS OF THE WESTERN U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: 'Snowstorm' a new forage kochia cultivar with improved stature, productivity, and nutritional content for enhanced fall and winter grazing

Authors
item Waldron, Blair
item Larson, Steven
item Peel, Michael
item Jensen, Kevin
item Mukimov, Tolib -
item Rabbimov, Abdulla -
item Zobell, Dale -
item Wang, Richard
item Smith, Rob
item Harrison, R -
item Davenport, Burke -

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Registrations
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 18, 2013
Publication Date: March 7, 2013
Citation: Waldron, B.L., Larson, S.R., Peel, M., Jensen, K.B., Mukimov, T.C., Rabbimov, A., Zobell, D.R., Wang, R., Smith, R.C., Harrison, R.D., Davenport, B.W. 2013. 'Snowstorm' a new forage kochia cultivar with improved stature, productivity, and nutritional content for enhanced fall and winter grazing. Journal of Plant Registrations. 7(2): 140-150. doi: 10.3198/jpr.2012.08.0020crc.

Interpretive Summary: 'Snowstorm' forage kochia (Bassia prostrata) was released by the USDA-ARS and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. It was developed as a tall statured, productive, protein-rich, semi-shrub adapted to the semiarid rangelands in the Intermountain West, Great Basin, and Northern Great Plains regions of the western United States. Winter feeding costs often account for 50 to 70% of yearly input costs of livestock production in the western U.S. and it has been shown that stockpiled grasses do not meet minimum protein levels needed during this time of the year. Snowstorm was compared to 'Immigrant' forage kochia because research has shown that Immigrant can increase rangeland productivity by 3 to 6-fold and provides critical protein (>7%) during the fall and winter for livestock and wildlife, but is easily covered by snow due to its short stature. In field comparisons, Snowstorm was similar to Immigrant in establishment and adaptation on arid rangelands, but was 64% taller, produced 68% more forage, and had higher protein and digestibility. Snowstorm is named as such for its ability to extend the grazing season and recommended to ranchers and land managers as a new, taller, more productive, more nutritious forage kochia cultivar with expanded potential for fall and winter grazing by livestock and wildlife.

Technical Abstract: 'Snowstorm' forage kochia (Bassia prostrata [L.] A.J. Scott) (synonym=Kochia prostrata [L.] Schrad.) (Reg. No. CV-_____, PI _____) was released on March 22, 2012, by the USDA-ARS and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. Snowstorm was evaluated as OTVSEL and Otavny-select, and was developed as a synthetic cultivar using two cycles of recurrent selection for stature, forage production, and adaptation to semiarid environments. Snowstorm was compared to the standard forage kochia cultivar, Immigrant, and other ARS experimental forage kochia populations. Research has shown that Immigrant can increase rangeland productivity by 3 to 6-fold and provides critical protein (>70 g kg-1) during the fall and winter for livestock and wildlife; however, Immigrant is easily covered by snow due to its short stature. In field comparisons to Immigrant, Snowstorm was similar to Immigrant in establishment and adaptation arid rangelands, but was 64% taller (77 versus 47 cm), produced 68% more forage (2526 versus 1504 kg ha-1), had 22% higher protein content (79 versus 65 g kg-1), and 4% higher digestibility (674 versus 648 g kg-1) (P<0.05). Furthermore, DNA fingerprinting showed that Snowstorm, Immigrant, and experimental populations were genetically unique and distinct from each other. Snowstorm is named as such for its ability to extend the grazing season into the fall and winter, and provides ranchers and land managers a new, taller, more productive, more nutritious forage kochia cultivar capable of increasing carrying capacity and nutritional content of fall and winter grazinglands, including where snow cover had limited forage kochia use in the past.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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