tall fescue, grazing, ladino clover, interseeding, stocker, endophyte, steers, stocker cattle


Tall fescue, the most widely adapted cool-season perennial grass in the United States, is grown on approximately 66 million acres. Although tall fescue is well adapted in the eastern half of the country between the temperate north and mild south, presence of a fungal endophyte results in poor performance of grazing livestock, especially during the summer. Until recently, producers with high-endophyte tall fescue pastures had two primary options for improving grazing livestock performance. One option was to destroy existing stands and replace them with endophyte-free fescue or other forages. Although it supports greater animal performance than endophyte-infected fescue, endophyte-free fescue has been shown to be less persistent under grazing pressure and more susceptible to stand loss from drought stress. In locations where high-endophyte tall fescue must be grown, the other option was for producers to adopt management strategies that reduce the negative effects of the endophyte on grazing animals, such as diluting the effects of the endophyte by incorporating legumes into existing pastures or providing supplemental feed. In recent years, new tall fescue cultivars have been devel­oped with a non-toxic endophyte that provides vigor to the fescue plant without nega­tively affecting performance of grazing livestock. Interseeding legumes into tall fescue cultivars with the non-toxic endophyte should be an effective way of increasing gains of cattle grazing tall fescue. However, these cultivars lack the competitiveness of high-15 endophyte Kentucky 31 and their competitiveness with legumes could be a potential problem. Objectives of this study were to evaluate forage availability, stand persistence, and performance of stocker steers grazing tall fescue cultivars with non-toxic endophyte and high- and low-endophyte Kentucky 31 with and without ladino clover.


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