Current Commercially Available Varieties: Seed companies in the Alliance have agreed to regulate themselves by setting quality control standards for endophyte in all tall fescue varieties. Those varieties that meet the quality control standards label their seed bags with an “Alliance” logo (see below). Testing is conducted through a laboratory endorsed by the Alliance.
The standard assures endophyte purity & viability in seed. The endophyte strain in all seed lots must be 95 percent pure, which means 5 percent or less of the seed can contain a toxic (wild-type) endophyte such as those in Kentucky 31. In addition, 70 percent of all seeds must contain viable (live) endophyte. This is an important verification because the endophyte can die during seed storage, even though it is still present in living seed. The Alliance standard of 70 percent viable endophyte ensures that seed from each company has the potential to result in highly infected fields.
Development of New Varieties: The Alliance has adopted standards and a protocol to test new strains of endophyte in tall fescue varieties for safety to grazing cattle and sheep. The Alliance requires the testing protocol be conducted by an independent third-party evaluator to confirm that the combination of endophyte and variety does not cause toxicosis in livestock.