Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Chicory
Additional chicory information via the Forage Information System (FIS)
Characteristics & Adaptation of Forage Chicory
Forage chicory (Cichorium intybus L) is a perennial plant that is suited to well or moderately drained soils with medium to high fertility levels and a pH of 5.5 or greater. Chicory produces leafy growth which is higher in nutritive and mineral content (if managed properly) than alfalfa or cool- season grasses. It has a relatively deep taproot which provides tolerance to drought conditions. Chicory provides both spring and summer forage with average growth rates from April through October of 50 lb per acre per day. During peak growth periods chicory produced 73 lb per acre per day. While chicory is a relatively new forage crop in the United States it has been used in other countries for over 300 years. Although it originated in Central Europe, much of the breeding for improved forage characteristics has been completed in New Zealand.
Forage chicory is a low growing rosette plant with broad leaves in the winter, very much like dandelion. With warm temperatures in the spring, it rapidly produces large numbers of leaves from the crown. In late spring, after the establishment year, a few flower stems begin to develop from the crown and will reach heights of 6 ft if ungrazed. The thick tap root of chicory can be exposed and damaged by overgrazing, excessive hoof traffic, and frost heaving.
Adapted Chicory Varieties
'Puna' is the only variety of chicory that is currently sold in the U.S. and approved for sale by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This variety was developed in New Zealand under grazing conditions and has been very productive in Pennsylvania. Other chicory varieties are being developed and evaluated in New Zealand but are not yet available in this country.