Notes from the 2021 Fescue Renovation Workshop

When a group of interested individuals met for the 2021 Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop on March 23 at the MU Southwest Research Center looking for answers to fescue questions, they were not disappointed.

Jerry Nelson and Eldon Cole were present at the workshop to share their expertise.

The line-up of expert speakers on the subject was impressive. Opening the workshop, Craig Roberts, MU Extension Program Director of Agronomy, stated, “In forages, every once in a while, a forage comes along that makes a big difference. There is not one forage that makes as much difference as novel endophyte tall fescue. That’s why we are committed to these talks.”

The speakers included local producers, company representatives and extension specialists and researchers from across the country covering topics ranging from: fescue toxicosis, economics of renovation, testing, establishment, and management. There was even a special speaker, Jerry Nelson, who had authored many of the forage textbooks in North America.

Most farmers don’t convert all their toxic pastures at one time, so management was covered. The first step being, “What is the level of toxin in my pastures?” Anything above 60% is serious. After you know what level you are dealing with, it’s time to decide whether to convert or manage. If you decide to manage, you have to use several management decisions. “Each one will give you a bump, but you will need several bumps to see a difference,” said Roberts.

A panel of local producers spoke on their experience renovating their fields and shared insight into what worked best for them.

Plans are currently being made for summer workshops targeting extension agents and seed industry professionals, and producer-oriented workshops in early 2022.

~ Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Field Specialist in Livestock.

The Alliance for Grassland Renewal is a national organization focused on enhancing the appropriate adoption of novel endophyte tall fescue technology through education, incentives, self-regulation and promotion.  For more resources or to learn more about the Alliance for Grassland Renewal, go to www.grasslandrenewal.org

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