Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Donald G. Ely

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted at the University of Kentucky, Eden Shale Farm, Owenton, KY to evaluate the use of MTB-100TM (Alltech, Inc., Nicholasville, KY) to alleviate the symptoms of fescue toxicity when lactating Angus x Beefmaster cows and their calves grazed endophyte-infected KY-31 tall fescue. Experiment 1 provided a carbohydrate based toxin adsorbent, MTB-100TM, ad libitum in a commercial mineral supplement to project a daily consumption rate of 0, 20 or 40 g of MTB-100TM per cow. Cows were weighed, assigned a body condition score (BCS) and hair coat score (HC), rectal temperatures were recorded and fecal grab samples were taken for ergovaline (EV) and lysergic acid (LA) analysis every 35 days for three grazing seasons (May to September). Calves were also weighed and assigned a HC score. Although MTB-100TM did not improve cow or calf performance, cows older than 4 years and those with greater Beefmaster breeding exhibited a higher tolerance to fescue toxicity than 2 and 3-yr-olds and cows with greater Angus breeding.

Experiment 2 was conducted to evaluate the response of lactating beef cows and their calves to strategic supplementation with MTB-100TM. MTB-100TM was mixed with a complete mineral so daily intake was projected to be 0 or 20 g/cow. The experimental period extended from May 5 to October 2 and was divided into 3 strategic periods: P1 = May 5 to July 5; P2 = July 5 to August 31; P3 = August 31 to October 2. Treatments were either 0 or 20 g•cow-1•d-1 MTB-100TM within a period (Treatment 1 = 0, 0, 0; Treatment 2 = 20, 0, 20; Treatment 3 = 0, 20, 0; Treatment 4 = 20, 20, 0; and Treatment 5 = 20, 20, 20). Cow and calf performance was measured the same as Exp. 1, but every 21 days. Supplementation early in the grazing season tended to improve cow weight gain and body condition; however, there was no effect on calf performance. Fecal output of EV and LA did not increase in either experiment with supplementation. In conclusion, strategically invoked MTB-100TM consumption can increase performance of cows grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue forage.

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