AgWatch


Best Forage

MT. VERNON, MO.
   The main forage is Kentucky 31 fescue, but it’s not as prevalent as it once was. It often contains a fungus (endophyte) that produces a toxin (ergovaline). The toxin causes poor gain and reproductive performance in cattle eating the forage. Researchers can replace the toxin-producing endophyte with a novel or friendly endophyte that gives the fescue plant the ability to withstand diseases, insects and dry weather. Animal performance is much better than with toxin-producing Ky31.
   Legumes are still recommended in both types of fescue but do not include them in the novels for a year or two. If the field is primarily for pasture, we recommend using ladino clover. If for hay, red clover is favored. Alfalfa is still a very good addition to beef cattle diets as hay, creep feed or pasture. Don’t forget Korean lespedeza as it can enhance mid-late summer grazing. ∆
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