Study of kochia (Kochia scoparia) as a forage crop

  • Mohammad Kafi
  • Majid Jami-al-Ahmadi
Conference paper


The production of halophytes using saline waters and soils, and feeding livestock with them, is one of the most sustainable ways of conserving desert ecosystems and food production for people living in these areas. Therefore, to study the possibility of growing kochia (Kochia scoparia) as a forage crop in desert environments with saline underground water, a research project was performed in Birj and, in the center of South Khorasan province, Iran. The rate and percentage of germination, radiation use efficiency (RUE), growth and ion accumulation in kochia were studied at three levels of saline irrigation water (1.5,8.6 and 28.2 dS/m), three irrigation intervals and two plant densities (10 and 20 plants/m2). The results showed that salinity negatively influenced the majority of plant‘s morphological and physiological indices, yet the dry matter accumulation in the highest salinity level reached 60% of plants in lower saline levels, and even moderate salinity caused a small stimulus in plant growth and yield performance. However, mostly no difference was observed with the lowest salinity level. The radiation absorption of kochia rose as leaf area index (LAI) increased, and 95% of radiation was absorbed with an LAI equal to 4.5-5. In general, increase in salinity caused a delay in early season development, and accelerated plant maturity at late season. Kochia’s adjustability for vegetative growth and forage yield show no response to plant density, but the seed yield increased on increasing the plant density. In conclusion, the kochia’s high production capacity, desirable digestibility and crude protein content in the presence of salinity and other desert stresses, such as high temperature and drought, make this plant suitable as a forage crop in harsh environmental conditions.


Germination Rate Seed Yield Leaf Area Index Salinity Level Forage Crop 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Kafi
    • 1
  • Majid Jami-al-Ahmadi
    • 2
  1. 1.Center of Excellence for Special CropsFerdowsi University of MashhadIran
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureBirjand UniversityIran

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