AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Alabama livestock producers know grazing toxic tall fescue can have negative impacts on both their animals and the operation’s bottom line. Toxic tall fescue often hinders livestock weight gains and lowers their reproductive performance. If this occurs, producers are left with thinner livestock and fewer head to sell at the end of the season.
Leanne Dillard, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System forage specialist, said to combat these issues, professionals in the forage industry have been working to increase the adoption of planting novel tall fescue varieties.
“Forages are big business in Alabama so it’s vital that we help producers improve their operations,” Dillard said. “Groups like the Alliance for Grassland Renewal are working with forage producers to replace these toxic varieties with ones that have a nontoxic endophyte (an organism that lives within a plant).”
Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop
As part of the education efforts of the alliance, Alabama Extension is hosting the Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop for forage producers. The workshop is Tuesday, March 28 at the Calhoun Community College Advanced Technology Center in Tanner, Alabama. Also, as part of the workshop’s afternoon sessions, professionals will conduct field tours and hands-on activities at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina, Alabama.
The workshop will feature many speakers, including local producers and Extension professionals from across the country. Topics discussed will include symptoms and causes of fescue toxicosis, stand establishment, incentive and cost share opportunities and more.
“The workshop is a great opportunity for producers to interact with some of the Extension and industry professionals that are leading the way on this topic,” said Gerry Thompson, an Alabama Extension animal sciences and forages regional agent.
The workshop will kick off at 8:15 a.m. and will last until 4:30 p.m. The cost to attend the workshop is $40 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments. To register for the Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop, visit TallFescueAL23.eventbrite.com. For more in-depth information on the workshop and to view a full agenda, visit the 2023 Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop web page at www.aces.edu.