Ag notes, Benefits to grazing novel endophyte tall fescue March 6

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and pastures are no exception. If you plan to renovate a field this year, consider replacing your existing stand with a novel endophyte tall fescue variety.

Novel endophyte tall fescue varieties have been on the market for about 20 years. Recently, the University of Kentucky released a novel endophyte tall fescue variety, Lacefield MaxQ II. It was available to producers in 2017 and is expected to be more widely available this fall.

Novel endophyte tall fescue varieties do not produce the ergot alkaloids that can cause fescue toxicosis, a disease that primarily affects cattle but can also negatively impact pregnant mares and milk producing goats. They also retain some of the positives of KY-31 tall fescue including the ability to survive drought, cold, overgrazing, insects and diseases. In fact, UK has some Lacefield MaxQ II research plots more than 10 years old that still are in good shape.

Email newsletter signup

Cattle producers that replace KY-31 tall fescue pastures with a novel variety consistently have higher conception rates and higher average daily gains. A UK summary of numerous studies found that cattle fed a novel endophyte tall fescue variety gained 0.75 extra pounds per day on stockers during the first half of the grazing season. Conception and weaning weights were also higher.

The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is hosting a Novel Tall Fescue Workshop March 8 in Lexington that will cover all aspects of establishment and management of novel endophyte tall fescue varieties. For more information or to register visit or contact the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service.