Research Prompts New Tall Fescue Sample Handling Procedures

The UKVDL’s new sample handling procedures appear to allow for more accurate ergovaline testing results.

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Research Prompts New Tall Fescue Sample Handling Procedures
Tall fescue | Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture

In 2015, more than 300 tall fescue samples were submitted the University of Kentucky (UK) Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) for ergovaline analysis. Results from these samples were used by farm managers to make pasture management decisions and by researchers to better understand and predict tall fescue toxicity in horses and other livestock.

AnnMarie Kadnar, a senior in the Equine Science and Management undergraduate degree program, compared samples of tall fescue stored in a freezer as whole plant material or milled material. She found that milled samples often resulted in higher concentrations of ergovaline compared to the control and whole samples. In the same study, Kadnar found no influence of storage time, for up to seven days.

“The results surprised me because I would have thought time of storage would have an influence on ergovaline levels, in addition to the storage conditions.” Kadnar said

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