Test soon for fescue endophyte

Livestock producers often hear there is no silver bullet for fescue toxicosis.

Livestock problems with reproduction, weight gain, immunity, weaning weight and more disappear when cows graze on novel endophyte fescue.

Producers can learn more about this silver bullet in March at workshops held by the Alliance for Grassland Renewal in seven states in the Fescue Belt. The Missouri workshop is March 25 at the MU Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon. Visit www.grasslandrenewal.org/education.htm for details.

The one-day schools offer help to convert Kentucky 31 tall fescue fields to novel endophyte varieties, Roberts says. Topics include livestock health and performance, grass establishment practices, soil fertility, weed control, stand maintenance and variety selection. Instructors from across the United States and from New Zealand will give hands-on training in drill calibration and conduct pasture walks to see different novel endophyte varieties.

Roberts says fescue remains a dependable ground cover and feed source for livestock. However, it is toxic half of the year, primarily late spring and fall. Toxins drop in late February and early March in Missouri, and in January through February in southern states.