KSU Research on Forage

(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Duane is with Dr. Joseph Moyer, who talks about his research with Bermuda grass and Tall Fescue.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again for AGam in Kansas, while at the Kansas Forage and Grassland Council Annual Meeting and Winter Convention in Manhattan. A chance to catch up with Dr. Joe Moyer with K-State. And Dr. Moyer, we talk about your opportunity to visit about some of the research that’s done on forages here at Kansas State. Give us a little synopsis of what you shared with the growers today. (Joe) OK, well I shared what we’re doing in southeast Kansas because that’s what I was assigned to do, plus that’s what I’ve been the most familiar with for 37 years and are in that area where we can grow Bermuda grass and also Tall Fescue. (Duane) We think about some of those issues. We’ll start with Tall Fescue for example, for the cattle industry it presents some problems with some of the endophyte I understand, but there’s ways to deal with that. Tell us a little bit about what some of the research as shown for your area. (Joe) The endophytes, which by the way that means simply within the plant, because it’s a fungus. And it produces an ergot type alkaloid, which is a fungus which is toxic and it does affect the animals as a vessel constrictor, that means the blood circulation is cut down and this causes problems in the winter with Fescue Foot, in the summer with Summer Slump. At first we thought we wanted to get rid of the endophyte, and it can be done. But then they found out that the endophyte has some benefits. It developed with the plant and it does benefit the plant to some extent. So, through some work in New Zealand, they found out that these endophytes varied quite a bit. They were working on rye grass, but the endophytes was very similar and they found out that the toxin, the ergovaline concentration was a lot less in some types than others. Through screening they found out that certain endophytes did not produce much of this toxin. And so this has been the emphasis of several of the companies, is let’s take our varieties and let’s find one of these endophytes that are non-toxic and let’s insert those in and maintain the viability of the endophytes until it can produce a seedling that will be infected. And then we’ll get the benefit of the endophyte and yet not have the down side of the toxin. (Duane) And on the Bermuda grass side. (Joe) On the Bermuda grass side we’re looking at it now mainly as a cow pasture. We just kind of gave up the idea that it’s going to be a good stocker producer because of the low digestibility. But for cow pasture we’ve been able to extend the useful period of Bermuda grass by inter-seeding cereals into it. We ‘re now using wheat, rye, cereal rye is a good one to put in because it will produce during the winter time, in early spring when the Bermuda grass is dormant. And this basically gives us an increase in our land efficiency of about 90 percent and rather than worrying about weeds or whatever else we might have to have issues with, we can actually produce something beneficial if we put a cereal grain inter-seeded into the sod of the Bermuda grass. (Duane) Our thanks to Dr. Joe Moyer with K-State in the forage program joining us at the Kansas Forage and Grassland Council annual Meeting and Convention in Manhattan. Jamie back to you.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Duane will be back with Matt Hogan with SDK Laboratories in Hutchinson.

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