Fescue toxicity

Cattle problems.
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Logan52
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Re: Fescue toxicity

Postby Logan52 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:11 pm

It is the endophyte that is responsible for the toughness and persistence of fescue and the endophyte free varieties are notorious for being short lived. Some varieties have been developed with an endophyte that is not as harmful to livestock, but they are not as persistant as old KY 31.
I live not far from Ky Hills and in similar country, only my hills are a little steeper. During the Depression the ridges had lost their fertility and the hillsides grew continuous corn, plowed with a team of mules and a hillside plow. KY 31 fescue was discovered growing as a local variety in nearby Menifee County and promoted by the university. With World War 11 coming many left the farm and the hillsides were sown in KY 31. Old-timers tell me we would not have any soil left if it had not come along. Some strains naturalized to the farm are of not as high as others in the harmful endophyte.
Like KY Hills, with good grazing management I have a lot of native white clover and bluegrass in my pastures that dilute the most harmful effects. Mostly what I see is that the cattle stay in the woods and hollows all day in hot weather. Some cattle tolerate it better than others. It is great feed in the early winter.
Without KY 31 I do not see how raising cattle here would be profitable.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: Fescue toxicity

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:33 pm

Logan - thank you for that explanation. Very interesting.
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