ID

SPES-21P

Authors as Published

John Benner, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Animal Science, Augusta County; Matt Booher, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Crop and Soils, Augusta County; and John Fike, Virginia Cooperative Extension Forage Specialist, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

This publication is available in a PDF file format only.

Endophyte-infected tall fescue is the dominant forages in Virginia. As such, it is imperative to manage this important forage resource wisely. Ergot alkaloids produced by fescue’s fungal endophyte create challenges to accomplishing this. Tests for endophyte presence and alkaloid levels are important management tools that producers can use to minimize alkaloid consumption and the negative impacts of on animal performance. Consistent testing methods are important for adequately assessing alkaloid levels and for making comparisons among pastures over time. These results then can be used to develop a custom grazing strategy to avoid severe incidences of fescue toxicosis. Repeated testing during a grazing season can help determine possible benefits to pasture renovation or addition of legumes. Similar to testing forages for nutrient concentrations and devising a winter feeding and supplement plan, testing fescue-based pastures for endophyte infection level and for ergot alkaloid concentrations at various times during the year can facilitate management to reduce alkaloid consumption and also help determine if further mitigation is needed.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

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.

Publication Date

October 19, 2018