Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum ([Morgan-Jones and Gams] Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin) causes fescue toxicosis in cattle grazing the forage, but effects of the endophyte were considered to be abated soon after removal of the animals from pastures. Tasco-Forage, a proprietary extract from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum, is a known source of cytokinins and has increased anti-oxidant activity in both plants and the animals that graze the forage. Tasco was applied at 0 and 3.4 kg/ ha to infected and uninfected tall fescue pastures in Virginia and Mississippi. Forty-eight steers grazed the pastures at each location during each of 2 yr (n = 192) before being transported to Texas for feedlot finishing. On arrival at the feedlot, steers from Tasco-treated pastures had higher (P < 0.01) monocyte phagocytic activity and tended (P < 0.07) to have higher major histocompatibility complex class II expression than steers that grazed the untreated pastures. A depression (P < 0.05) in monocyte immune cell function due to grazing infected fescue was detected throughout the feedlot finishing period but was reversed by Tasco. Rectal temperatures were elevated (P < 0.07) in steers that had grazed the infected tall fescue when they arrived in Texas, but by d 14 no difference was detected. However, by d 28 the temperature effects of infected tall fescue were reversed. Steers that had grazed infected fescue had lower (P < 0.01) rectal temperatures on d 112 of the feedlot period, demonstrating a much longer-lasting effect of the endophyte on thermoregulatory mechanisms than previously thought. Steers that had grazed Tasco-treated pastures had higher (P < 0.01) rectal temperatures on d 56 than steers that had grazed untreated fescue. Steers that had grazed the Tasco-treated pastures had higher marbling scores (P < 0.05) regardless of the endophyte, but no effect of Tasco or endophyte on gain was measured. Our data suggest that Tasco application to tall fescue pastures alleviated some of the negative effects of tall fescue toxicity.
- Carcass Characteristics
- Immune Response