Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. David L. Harmon


Fescue toxicosis is problematic for ruminant livestock, causing weight loss and low productivity when fed endophyte-infected forages. Complete underlying mechanisms of toxicosis are unknown therefore; the objective of the study was to determine if ruminally dosed ergot alkaloids impact rumen motility. Cannulated steers were pair-fed a forage diet and ruminally dosed with endophyte-free (E-) or endophyte-infected (E+) tall fescue seed. An 8-h period of rumen motility collection began 4-h after feeding by monitoring pressure change via a wireless telemetry and transducer system. In experiment 1, steers were paired by weight and assigned to E- or E+ treatment. Overall, E+ steers had more frequent contractions. On d 7 - 9, both treatments had lower frequencies and E- steers had greater amplitude of contractions, which corresponded with decreased DM intake. In experiment 2 steers remained in pair, but switched treatment. During the 57 d E+ steers received titrated levels of ergovaline + ergovalinine. There was no difference between treatments for frequency or amplitude of contractions, but increasing dosage, decreased frequency (d 1 - 44) and amplitude, coinciding with lower DM intakes. Alteration in rumen motility associated with changes in intake may be responsible for the decreased productivity in ruminants consuming E+ forages.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)