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UK to host tall fescue pasture renovation workshop

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time around livestock or forages knows tall fescue is a double-edged sword. University of Kentucky forage specialists are teaming up with the Alliance for Grassland Renewal to host a workshop to teach producers how to renovate their old tall fescue pastures with a novel endophyte variety.

The Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop will take place March 9 at UK’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and UK Spindletop Research Farm.

Producers have widely used tall fescue in pastures for decades, because it survives well under many conditions including drought, cold, overgrazing, insects and diseases. However, the most common variety, KY-31, also contains toxins that can severely affect cattle and horse performance.

“Now, with a growing number of novel or friendly endophyte tall fescue varieties on the market, there is a solution to fescue toxicity,” said Ray Smith, forage extension specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “UK’s own novel endophyte variety, Lacefield MaxQ II, will be available in the fall 2017.”

During the workshop, participants will hear from UK specialists as well as those from the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Forage-Animal Production Research Unit, University of Missouri, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Missouri Forage and Grassland Council’s Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, producers and industry representatives. While this will be the first time the workshop is in Kentucky, the Alliance for Grassland Renewal has hosted similar workshops in Missouri and surrounding states.

“This will be one of the most practical workshops available to Kentucky livestock producers in 2017,” Smith said.

To register or for more information visit the UK Forage Extension website at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/.

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