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Registration of `Persist' orchardgrass. (Registrations Of Cultivars).

`Persist' orchardgrass [Dactylis glomerata (L.)] (Reg. no. CV-16, PI 618722) was developed by the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station and released 15 Dec. 2000. Persist was tested under the experimental designation TN-OG-SYN-2.

Persist is a six clone synthetic that traces to a collection made from 1959 to 1961 from 6-yr-old or older stands of orchardgrass throughout Tennessee (Fribourg and Burns, 1961). Seeds were collected from 97 ecotypes (strains) in 45 counties. The seeds were used to establish single solid-seeded rows 6 m long and 0.9 m apart. Each strain was replicated twice at the Knoxville, Plateau (Crossville), and West Tennessee (Jackson) Experiment Stations (Gray and Fribourg, 1966, p. 15-18). After the first year establishment, the plants were subjected to a severe treatment of clipping or grazing to a height of approximately 2.5 cm three or four times during the spring and summer for 4 yr. No fertilizer was applied to the plots during this period. Individual surviving plants were selected from each of the three locations and multiplied. Clones comprising Persist originated from individual plant selections at the West Tennessee Experiment Station. Ten replicates of each of 42 clones were established in a crossing block at Knoxville in September 1976. Data were recorded on an individual plant basis for flowering date, vigor, and incidence of disease, primarily stem rust (caused by Puccinia graminis Pers.: Pers.) and leaf rust (caused by Puccinia coronada Corda). Seed was also harvested on an individual plant basis and yield data were recorded. Seed was bulked within each clone and used to establish progeny tests at Jackson and Knoxville. On the basis of performance of both parents and progeny, the six most outstanding clones that were synchronous in flowering date were chosen as the parental clones of Persist.

Persist is a productive and persistent cultivar that is adapted from the northern to the extreme southern range of the mid-southern USA. It is similar in maturity date to `Potomac' and `Benchmark', but consistently produces more forage later in the season. Persist is easily established and has excellent seedling vigor.

Persist and six other orchardgrass cultivars were tested for forage yield at the Highland Rim Experiment Station (Springfield) for 4 yr and at Knoxville for 5 yr. The yield of Persist exceeded that of the mean in each year and was significantly greater in the last 2 yr at Knoxville, indicating longer persistence. In trials at Lexington and Princeton, KY, in 1993 and 1994, which included 22 cultivars and experimental breeding lines, Persist produced the highest yield over the 2 yr at both locations. Persist was also included in forage yield trials for 3 yr at Tangent, OR. Forage yield was not significantly different than that of the other entries in the trial indicating wide adaptation. Seed yield of Persist was 116.4% of Potomac over a 2-yr period, 1997 and 1998. Although not significantly different, it was the highest ranking of five entries for seed yield in 1998. Persist was equal to Benchmark, Potomac, `Haymate', and `Warrior' in crude protein, acid detergent fiber, and neutral detergent fiber concentrations.

In an experiment at Ames Plantation in Southwest Tennessee, in which the performance of early-weaned steer calves was compared on pastures containing Persist and Benchmark, with and without clovers, the performance of calves grazing Persist was equal to that of those grazing Benchmark (Waller et al., 2001). Persist also produced more available forage, both with and without clover. The most significant and important attribute of Persist is persistence. After 4 yr of the grazing experiment, in which there was additional grazing and drought stress during the last 2 yr, there was a 70 to 80% stand of Persist compared to a 0 to 10% stand of Benchmark in the pastures that were initially seeded in pure stand (without clovers).

It is expected that Persist will be adapted throughout the USA where orchardgrass is grown, but that it will have superior adaptation, compared to currently available cultivars, in southern regions.

The six parental clones will be maintained by the University of Tennessee. Breeder seed (Syn 1) is being released to Smith Seed Services, Halsey, OR. Smith Seed Services will be responsible for producing Foundation, Registered, and Certified classes of seed. U.S. Plant Variety Protection of Persist has been applied for (PVP Application no. 2002000147).


Fribourg, H.A., and J.D. Burns. 1961. New orchardgrass from old strains? Tenn. Farm and Home Sci. Prog. Rep. No. 40.

Gray, E., and H.A. Fribourg. 1966. Progress report: Tennessee orchardgrass strains evaluation. Tenn. Farm and Home Sci. Prog. Rep. No. 60.

Waller, J.C., H.A. Fribourg, C. Dixon, A.E. Fisher, and B.V. Conger. 2001. Orchardgrass pastures for early-weaned beef calves. Proc. XIX Intern. Grassland Cong. p. 839-840. In J.A. Gomide et al. (ed.) Proc. XIX Int. Grassland Cong. Sao Pedro, Brazil. 11-21 Feb. 2001. Brazilian Soc. Anim. Husbandry, Piracicaba, Brazil.


Dep. Plant Sci. & Landscape Systems, 2431 Center Dr., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561. Registration by CSSA. Accepted 31 July 2002. * Corresponding author (
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Author:Conger, B.V.
Publication:Crop Science
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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