Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #277963

Title: Tall fescue management: Pasture and cattle responses to endophyte and fertilization

item Franzluebbers, Alan
item STUEDEMANN, JOHN - Former ARS Employee

Submitted to: USDA-ARS Research Notes
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2006
Publication Date: 4/10/2006
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A. 2006. Tall fescue management: Pasture and cattle responses to endophyte and fertilization. USDA-ARS Research Notes. JPC Research Note 12. 2006.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Yearling heifers grazing tall fescue pastures had greatest performance in winter and spring on endophyte-free and novel endophyte associations, because of high forage quality and lack of ergot alkaloids produced by a common “wild” tall fescue-endophyte association. Pasture and cattle responses were only slightly affected whether fertilization was from inorganic or broiler litter sources. However, timing of nutrient availability could affect quality of forage, thereby affecting cattle performance. Long-term research will be needed to validate these results. Persistence of tall fescue with novel endophyte was as good as with wild endophyte and greater than with endophyte-free pastures, at least during the first three years. More years of research are needed to better assess persistence of novel endophyte associations. Cattle performance on tall fescue with novel endophyte association was similar to that on endophyte-free pastures, both of which were greater than on wild endophyte association. However, cattle production per land area was not different among endophyte associations, because pastures with wild endophyte had a higher stocking rate than endophyte-free or novel endophyte associations. The smaller performance gaps of cattle grazing pastures with wild endophyte compared with endophyte-free association in winter and summer suggest that close grazing in winter and early spring with pasture deferment later in spring and restocking of pastures again in summer might be a possible avoidance strategy to get better overall performance of beef cattle on tall fescue pastures with wild endophyte association. More research is needed to better understand how tall fescue pastures with wild endophyte might be managed to avoid fescue toxicosis. This experiment has been designed for long-term research to better understand how pasture management and tall fescue-endophyte associations might affect soil and water quality on a landscape level.