ArkPlus, a new tall fescue, could help beef cattlemen increase their profits dramatically, according to Craig Roberts.
Roberts, a University of Missouri (MU) extension forage specialist, says the tall fescue “could conservatively put 200 more pounds on every steer than a toxic-endophyte fescue. That's about $150 more per steer, and if you have 50 steers, that's $7,500 more profit.”
ArkPlus is the latest tall fescue to contain “novel endophytes,” Roberts says. “The problem isn't really the endophyte itself, it's the toxin in the endophyte. What goes into the ArkPlus cultivar is a fungus that doesn't produce these toxins. That allows cattle to put on more weight.”
The tall fescue was developed by University of Arkansas researchers using germplasm from MU. Field-tested for three years under grazing conditions, it seems to have 90% the stand density of Kentucky-31 and the same resistance to stress.
“That allows you to keep clover and other legumes on it. They're high in protein and fix nitrogen, so they improve pasture all the way around.”