Field of BarOptima Plus E34.

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Forages with Beneficial Endophytes

Traditionally, forage grasses have been defined by two traits: yield and persistence. We also place a strong emphasis on a third trait; forage quality. Because forage quality has a direct effect on animal performance. Because forage quality directly effects your profitability.

What's an Endophyte?

Kentucky 31, the most extensively cultivated variety of tall fescue in the United States since its introduction in 1942, owes its widespread use to its remarkable resilience in the face of harsh weather conditions. This durability is linked to alkaloids produced by a symbiotic fungus living inside the plant. Regrettably, these same alkaloids can be harmful to grazing animals, leading to negative impacts such as increased body temperature, reduced weight gain, limping, decreased fertility, and less milk production—a set of symptoms collectively known as "fescue toxicosis," which Kentucky 31 can induce.

Eight Year Old Field of BarOptima plus E34.
Eight Year Old BarOptima +E34 Field Stubbornly Persisting
What's a Beneficial Endophyte?

Researchers at Barenbrug USA have analyzed various fescue samples with endophytes gathered from diverse global locations, identifying numerous non-toxic strains. These beneficial endophytes were integrated into select soft-leaf tall fescue plants. The resulting plants underwent analysis to assess their alkaloid content and the persistence of the endophyte. This led to the discovery of a favorable endophyte strain, named "E34." E34-inoculated plants were crossbred with superior strains, culminating in the creation of Baroptima +E34. This new variety, which has been rigorously tested in multiple harvesting and grazing studies, not only yields more forage than Kentucky 31 but also maintains the same level of hardiness, with improved persistence when grazed compared to varieties without endophytes.

 

Graph showing ergovaline levels in kentucky 31

The initial thing I noticed was that the first time I turned cattle in on BarOptima +E34, the cows ate right down the rows, there was no doubt they were selecting it, even over the wheat!

Josh Spain, MO
The Life Cycle of an Endophyte

Plants with endophytes can only pass the endophyte through their seed. The endophyte is not passed from plant to plant in a pasture.

Endophyte Life Cycle
  1. Endophyte is a fungus found in seed

  2. As the seed germinates, the endophyte grows into the emerging shoot

  3. It stays in the base of the plant

  4. In spring, as stems form, the endophyte grows up into new seed