The Missouri Department of Agriculture has funds available to assist Missouri beef cattle producers with the cost of testing 18,430 replacement heifers and bulls for toxic fescue endophyte tolerance. The Fescue Endophyte Tolerance Coupon Program is funded through a Beef Initiative Grant sponsored by the Missouri Agricultural Foundation.

What is fescue endophyte tolerance?

The predominant forage base in Missouri is tall fescue that contains an endophytic fungus. The fungus produces alkaloid compounds that result in a toxic effect on beef cattle that consume infected tall fescue. Responses include reduced blood flow to extremities, reduced feed efficiency, low conception rates and increased mortality rates of offspring.

Beef animals that are tolerant to the endophyte show little if any effect from eating infected tall fescue. Research indicates that beef cattle tested and determined to be genetically adapted to toxic fescue endophyte have increased feed efficiency, improved conception rates and rate of gains to their non tolerant peers. Research has shown that weaned calves are 40-50 lbs greater from cows that are determined to be tolerant of toxic fescue endophyte.

For more information about Tall Fescue Toxicosis read University of Missouri Extension publication G4669, Tall Fescue Toxicosis; http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G4669

What is the Fescue Endophyte Tolerance Coupon Program for Replacement/Bulls and Heifers?

The program provides producers a coupon worth $10 off the cost of testing replacement bulls and heifers for the genetic markers that indicate toxic fescue tolerance. Criteria/limitations:

  • Must be a Missouri beef cattle producer
  • Coupon value $10/test
  • Limited to 20 coupons per farm operation
  • Must complete and submit the application (allow up to 10 business days for processing)
  • MDA will provide producer coupon vouchers
  • Contact AgBotanica for hair testing cards (T-Snip™ Testing); https://www.agbotanica.com/t-snip.aspx
  • Complete the hair tests and send the cards and coupons to:
    • AgBotanica
      2101 W. Broadway, #103
      PMB 361
      Columbia, MO 65203
  • Producer will need to remit the coupon and remaining payment to AgBotanica

Availability:

The program is funded through a grant from the Missouri Agricultural Foundation with a total award of $184,300. Funding will allow for a total of 18,430 coupons to be provided to Missouri beef cattle producers.

Based on the receipt of the completed application by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, coupons will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until the limited program funds are exhausted.

How to apply?

Producers interested in testing replacement bulls/heifers need to complete the online application or request a paper application by contacting:

Missouri Department of Agriculture
Alan Freeman, Marketing Specialist
Fescue Endophyte Tolerance Coupon Program
PO Box 630
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0630
(573) 526-4620
Alan.Freeman@mda.mo.gov