Interpretive Summary: Fescue toxicosis: a detrimental condition that requires a multiapproach solution
By: Gastón F Alfaro, Sonia J Moisá
Tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort.) is a widely used cool-season forage among beef cattle, horses, and sheep farmers worldwide. The popularity of tall fescue relies on the superlative productive characteristics, such as biomass production and nutrient quality in different climatic and edaphic conditions. A clear example of the importance of this pasture in beef production, more specifically in cow-calf operations, is observed in the predominance of tall fescue in spring calving season among producers, in which dams have access to high-quality forage provided by this grass (Kallenbach, 2015). Furthermore, dams not only can utilize tall fescue during the lactation period, but also during the dry period as stockpiled. As discussed, tall fescue represents one of the most used pastures, being present in more than 15 million hectares in the United States alone. However, the superlative aptitudes of tall fescue rely on the symbiotic relationship with an endophyte called Epichloë coenophiala (Chai et al., 2020).
The objective of this review is to present, from a multiapproach perspective, the current knowledge on the efforts to dampen the negative impacts of Fescue Toxicosis (FT) on beef cattle production. First, we will describe the current investigation on the effect of ergovaline consumption on the gut microbiome; second, we will present recent evidence of hematological responses to FT; third, we will discuss the relevance of the utilization of genetic test for identifying FT resistance in cattle; and lastly, the impact of FT on liver immunological status from a transcriptome standpoint.
Read the full article in Animal Frontiers.