Farmer Success with Novel Endophyte Fescue

When Anderson County livestock producer Mike Wilson bought a 60-acre hayfield in Franklin County, he knew he had a lot of work in front of him. The previous owners had let people cut hay for nearly 30 years without putting any nutrients back in the ground, which meant the existing grass stand was a mixture of Kentucky 31 tall fescue and weeds. Mike was interested in how to bring the stand back into full production with a high quality forage. After attending the KY Grazing School he decided  to plant a novel endophyte tall fescue variety that shows good stand life without the toxins in KY-31. Mike applied for and was accepted to receive USDA-NRCS cost share to complete the project.

The field was planted to two varieties of novel endophyte fescue 4 1/2 years ago and Mike has been pleased with the improved hay production and  animal performance. In a recent interview with UK ‘s Jeff Franklin and Katie Pratt, Mike related the following:  “I think my cows are doing better on it. It seems like they maintain their weight better. They just hold their body condition better through the winter on novel endophyte fescue hay.”

To help more farmers learn how to renovate their pastures and hayfields with a novel endophyte variety, UK has partnered with the Alliance for Grassland Renewal to host a Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop March 9 at UK’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Spindletop Research Farm.

The video interview with Mike and county agent Tommy Yankey can be found here.   Discounted registration ends March 6, register online here. ~ Katie Pratt