Animals gain just as well on tall fescue infected with toxin-free endophytes as on endophyte-free varieties – and stand persistence may be better.

That’s according to University of Arkansas researchers. They grazed beef steers in three groups. One group consumed fescue containing toxin-free, also called novel, endophytes. Another group grazed endophyte-free fescue, and the third group was on fescue with toxin-producing endophytes.

Average daily weight gains from novel endophytes were the same as those of endophyte-free fescue and nearly double those of toxic fescue. Early results also show that novel endophytes tended to improve stand persistence over endophyte-free fescue.