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.


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Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

October 19, 2018