Yield and Composition of Kochia Forage as Affected by Salinity of Water and Percent Leaching
New Mexico has some 15 billion acre-feet of saline to brackish underground water. Salt tolerant crops are necessary to utilize this resource. Kochia scoparia (L.) was grown under controlled conditions to determine its yield and forage composition under various watering regimes. Irrigation waters of 1,000, 4,250, 7,500, 10,750 and 14,000 ppm total dissolved solids were applied at 5, 15, 25 and 35 percent leaching for three harvest cycles.
Dry matter yield and protein content were not significantly affected by the water treatments applied. This finding indicates and confirms that kochia is a very salt tolerant plant that may provide a good source of livestock forage through use of saline irrigation water. Oxalate levels were significantly decreased by increasing salt levels. Alkaloid levels were increased in the first clipping but tended to be decreased in the second and third clippings, indicating a general lowering of toxicity levels as the salt levels increased.