AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

February 24, 2017

Toxic Tall Fescue Renovation
School in Mt. Vernon March 7

MT. VERNON, Mo. - Livestock producers have known for many years about the animal production issues associated with toxic Kentucky 31 (KY-31) tall fescue. The endophyte fungus that grows between infected plant cells produces chemicals harmful to animals, but the fungus is beneficial to the fescue plant.

Researchers developed varieties of tall fescue that did not have the endophyte fungus, but these endophyte free varieties lacked persistence required for strong pasture stands in Southwest Missouri.

Additional research has discovered novel or friendly endophytes. These novel endophytes do not produce animal toxins, but provide plant protection benefits, and have the potential to be more persistent than their endophyte free counterparts.

"New tall fescue varieties have been developed that contain these friendly endophytes and are available to livestock producers," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The toxic KY-31 tall fescue must be killed before the new fescue variety can be seeded and the novel endophyte tall fescue established.

Information about this renovation process has been condensed into a one-day school.

During 2017, renovation schools are being held in Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky and are being sponsored by the Alliance for Grassland Renewal with additional support from the University of Missouri, Kansas State University, and the University of Kentucky.


The Novel Tall Fescue Renovation School is a day-long program on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon.

School attendees will review fescue toxicosis symptoms and cause, economics, the establishment of the novel varieties, incentives and how to transition from toxic to non-toxic varieties.

The $60 per person registration covers the noon meal, refreshments, and the school proceedings. Late registration will cost $75.

For more information or to register, contact the University of Missouri Extension Center in Mt. Vernon at 417-466-3102, email Cole at or visit the school website at


The Alliance for Grassland Renewal was formed in 2012. Participants include partners from universities, government, industry (including producers, seed companies, testing labs) and nonprofit groups. The current board members are from Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Missouri.

The goal of the Alliance for Grassland Renewal is to work together in replacing toxic tall fescue grass with a tall fescue that hosts a nontoxic endophyte. This goal is pursued through four objectives: education, seed quality control, incentives, and promotion.

The renovation school is developed by the Alliance to help forage producers understand why fescue renovation is important, and the steps required for a successful transition from toxic to non-toxic tall fescue pastures and hay fields.

More registration information and forms are available on the Alliance for Grassland Renewal website

Source: Eldon Cole, (417) 466-3102

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