Steer and pasture responses for a novel endophyte tall fescue developed for the upper transition zone

J. M. Johnson, G. E. Aiken, T. D. Phillips, M. Barrett, J. L. Klotz, F. N. Schrick

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22 Scopus citations


A 2-yr grazing experiment was conducted with crossbred steers (8 to 10 mo and with initial BW of 304 kg ± 34 kg in 2008 and 277 kg ± 24 in 2009) to evaluate animal performance and pasture responses of a late maturing tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh; KYFA9301] population infected with the AR584 novel, non-toxic endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum; NE9301) as compared with Kentucky 31 fescue infected with the common toxic endophyte strain (KY31), 'Jesup' MaxQ fescue infected with the AR542 endophyte (MaxQ), and endophytefree KYFA9301 (EF9301). Treatments were assigned for seeding in 1.0-ha pastures in a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Pastures were grazed from 6 May to 23 July in 2008 (76 d) and 2 April to 25 June in 2009 (84 d). Each pasture was grazed with 4 tester steers and put-and-take steers were used to maintain forage mass at 2,500 ± 250 kg DM/ha. Shrunk BW was taken at initiation and termination of grazing each year. Rectal and skin temperatures were recorded, and jugular blood was collected each year at approximately d 28, 56, and study completion. Forage samples were collected at 2-wk intervals for analyzing CP, IVDMD, ADF, and NDF. Responses were analyzed with mixed models, and preplanned orthogonal contrasts were used to compare KY31 with non-toxic fescues, EF9301 vs. novel endophyte fescues, and NE9301 vs. MaxQ. All steer responses were similar (P > 0.10) among the nontoxic fescues. Average daily gains and total BW gain/ ha for the 3 non-toxic fescues were greater (P < 0.001) than for KY31. Rectal/skin temperatures for the 3 nontoxic fescues were less (P < 0.001) and serum prolactin concentrations were greater (P < 0.01) than for KY-31. Pasture carrying capacity was greater (P = 0.003) for KY31 than the 3 non-toxic fescues and was greater for EF9301 (P = 0.017) than the 2 novel endophyte fescues. However, stocking rates (kg BW/ha) at the initial and midpoint days of grazing were similar (P > 0.40) among endophyte-fescue combinations, but by the end of the grazing season, stocking rate was greater (P < 0.001) for KY31 than for the non-toxic fescues and was greater (P = 0.053) for NE9301 than for MaxQ. Results indicated that NE9301 is as effective as EF9301 and MaxQ in improving BW gain and alleviating fescue toxicosis and that NE9301 can provide greater carrying capacities than MaxQ in late June and July.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2402-2409
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Beef cattle
  • Ergot alkaloids
  • Fescue toxicosis
  • Novel endophytes
  • Tall fescue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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