Tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh. = Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort.], a native of Europe, was introduced to the United States in the 1800s but was not planted widely until the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately, this persistent and productive grass caused serious toxicity problems in livestock. The cause of these problems was discovered in the late 1970s to be from alkaloids produced by endophytic fungi [Neotyphodium coenophialum (Morgan-Jones and Gams) Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin]. Removal of the fungi eliminated the toxicity problem but resulted in a weakened plant. Research showed that the endophyte was beneficial to the plant in improving drought and grazing tolerance, water and N-use efficiency, and resistance or tolerance to some pests. Practical solutions to reduce the fescue toxicity problem include (i) dilution of the forage with legumes, other grasses, and weeds; (ii) replanting with endophyte free tall fescue (E-); and (iii) replanting with cultivars containing novel endophyte. Such cultivars furnish excellent animal performance since their endophyte strains are nontoxic and improve plant persistence over E- tall fescue.
Keywords: Grazing, yield distribution, stockpiling, fertilization, toxicosis, alkaloid management.
Abbreviations: E+, infected by wild Neotyphodium endophyte.
See Related Information In:
Chapter 2: Classification within the Grass Family
Chapter 3: Creating The Tall Fescue Suitability Map
Chapter 15: The Fungal Endophyte—What Do We Measure?
Chapter 18: Fescue Foot, Ryegrass Staggers, and Fescue Toxicosis
Chapter 19: Origin of Tall Fescues