A new orchardgrass variety is expected to double the longevity of orchardgrass pastures in the Midsouth. Named Persist, it's also expected to extend the grazing season by at least 30 days.
Persist was developed by plant scientists at the University of Tennessee Ag Experiment Station.
“We think we can extend orchardgrass pastures from two to three years of productive grazing to five or six years, maybe longer,” says plant geneticist Bob Conger.
In an experiment at Grand Junction, TN, a greater than 90% stand of Persist still exists after five years of grazing.
The variety may be a suitable replacement for fungus-infected tall fescue. Currently, tall fescue is preferred over orchardgrass because it's better at withstanding grazing pressure and stresses such as drought.