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News Release

New wheatgrass seed available for purchase

Wayne Duckwitz

BISMARCK, ND, May 15, 2014 –After years of tests and research, Manifest intermediate wheatgrass is available for conservation use. Foundation seed for increase is available from the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Bismarck, ND, and commercial seed for establishing pasture and hayland can be purchased from vendors. According to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Manifest is easy to establish and more productive than many other grasses.

“Manifest intermediate wheatgrass is a better grass variety choice for grazing or haying on many sites,” said Wayne Duckwitz, manager of the Plant Materials Center in Bismarck. “Like other intermediate wheatgrasses, it is a moderately long-lived, fast growing, sod-forming grass.”

Manifest can also be used as a single-species forage or in mixes with other species. Mixed with legumes, it produces high quality forage. Manifest has erect stems with a heavy growth of bluish-colored basal leaves, and by mid-summer, its height reaches three to four feet. Manifest is a cool-season grass, so most of its growth is produced in the spring and fall. This allows it to be managed as spring or fall pasture when moisture is favorable.

In a replicated trial by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Mandan, North Dakota, Manifest produced 4,614 pounds of forage per acre, compared to 4,474 pounds per acre for other intermediate wheatgrass varieties. “Because of its high shoot replacement ratio, Manifest is able to withstand heavy grazing,” Duckwitz said. “Manifest ‘stands tall’ when compared with many other species and/or varieties of intermediate wheatgrass.”

In addition to its growth, Manifest resists drought better than smooth bromegrass, but less than crested wheatgrass. Well-drained soils in areas with at least 14 inches of annual rainfall produce the greatest plant growth.

Manifest is a cooperative release by two USDA agencies, the Agricultural Research Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information on Manifest intermediate wheatgrass, contact the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center at(701) 250-4330 or visit the Plant Materials program website.