UK helps producer renovate hayfield

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

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 into the ground, which meant the existing grass stand was a mixture of Kentucky 31 tall fescue and weeds. Continue reading

Warm winter could affect tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares

by Krista Lea, University of Kentucky

Mild weather this winter is likely the cause of higher than average concentrations of a toxic substance in tall fescue called ergovaline that has been observed in Fayette and Bourbon pastures in Central Kentucky, according to University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment experts,. Tall fescue toxicosis in broodmares, which is caused by ingesting ergovaline, is rare in the early months of the year due to typically cold winter temperatures.

Naturally occurring tall fescue is often infected with an endophytic fungus that can produce ergovaline, a known vasoconstrictor – something that causes the narrowing of blood vessels. This has been blamed for prolonged gestation and low milk production in late term pregnant mares. The UK Horse Pasture Evaluation Program sampled three farms in Fayette and Bourbon counties this year and found a handful pastures with higher than average ergovaline concentrations for the time of year. Continue reading