Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Historically, the role of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) in agricultural production systems as well other turf uses has been influenced by the presence of a fungal endophyte, Neotyphodium coenophialum (Morgan-Jones & Gams) Glenn, Bacon & Hanlin comb. nov. The endophyte has enabled the plant to be agronomically productive over a much greater zone of adaptation than what would have been possible without the endophyte. Unfortunately, most tall fescue in the USA is infected with naturally occurring endophyte strains that produce toxic ergot alkaloids that result in reduced animal performance and production. Two general approaches that are being pursued to overcome the fescue toxicosis problem. The first involves animal/pasture management or direct treatment of the animal with a feed or dietary additive, a pharmacologic agent or a vaccine. The second involves developing endophyte-free cultivars that have improved persistence and production or endophyte- infected cultivars that produce little or no toxic alkaloids. Within the first approach, no one method stands out as a universal approach for overcoming the toxicosis. Progress has been made using the second approach by inserting endophytes that do not produce toxins into available tall fescue cultivars.