The successful reinfection of tall fescue cultivars with novel endophytes such as MaxQ demonstrates the commercial importance of this approach to improve agronomic traits of the pasture plant and performance of the grazing animal. This reinfection approach probably will continue to be used in the near future, resulting in the presence of several cultivar-endophyte strain combinations in the marketplace. However, instituting educational programs for producers that emphasize proper management and employing quality control measures that ensure endophyte viability throughout the commercialization process will be critical to obtain on-farm success. These quality assurance measures include devising and upgrading screening methods to assess amount and type of infection, conducting the requisite agronomic and animal tests before actual release of new cultivars, and maintaining endophyte viability during seed increase, conditioning, and dissemination throughout the wholesale-retail pathways. Reselection of improved cultivars from elite breeding populations infected with novel endophytes is a logical next step in cultivar development, as is the use of biotechnological approaches for improving strains or strain-cultivar combinations. Seed marketers and producers both need to realize that the commodity type approach currently found in much of the grass seed industry will not work in a technology-based seed market represented by novel endophytes, where seed prices will be higher and farmer-saved seed will not be allowed if represented as containing a specific endophyte.


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