Endophyte-Infected Tall Fescue and its Effect on Broodmares

Tall fescue produces a toxic alkaloid that causes disorders in broodmares that consume the forage.
Please login

No account yet? Register


Tall fescue is a ubiquitous forage grass that became popular because of its drought tolerance, hardiness, and good forage performance. However, in the 1970s scientists discovered a high percentage of tall fescue harbors an endophyte that produces a toxic alkaloid with the ability to cause disorders in ruminants and horses that consume large amounts.

Garry Lacefield, PhD, UK plant and soil sciences extension forage specialist refers to the Mid-South region, which includes Kentucky, as the "tall fescue belt" due to tall fescue quantity in the area.

Tall fescue covers an estimated 35 million acres in the United States, including pastures, high-traffic foot paths, golf courses, and backyards. A majority is endophyte-infected (EI). An endophyte is a fungus that lives symbiotically within the host plant and is not visible to the eye. The endophyte produces toxic alkaloids that, when eaten, cause different disorders including tall fescue toxicosis.

Tall fescue toxicosis causes problems in broodmares during the last third of gestation. Thus, understanding and managing tall fescue is important, particularly as the foaling season approaches

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What signs does your horse show when he has gastric ulcers? Please check all that apply.
45 votes · 102 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!