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Tall fescue, the base forage for Virginia livestock production systems, typically contains alkaloids produced by a fungal endophyte. These cause numerous health problems collectively known as fescue toxicosis. Conditions associated with alkaloid consumption include fescue foot, summer slump, and bovine fat necrosis. Alkaloids also cause reductions in milk production and can lower reproductive success. Horses should be moved from toxic-laden fescue in late gestation to reduce the risk for lower milk production at foaling. Virginia pastures typically have alkaloid levels greater than the presumed 400 ppb-threshold that causes clinical symptoms of fescue toxicosis in cattle. Sampling may be the first step in understanding the severity of the issu
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
April 12, 2019