The endophyte fungus in tall fescue can severially damage herd performance during hot summer months. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the negative effects of endophyte toxicosis.

* Dilute the fescue with other forages, especially legumes. Some good choices include white clover, red clover, annual lespedeza. Generally, a 30 percent to 40 percent legume pasture will dilute the fescue enough to overcome some of the toxicity. Diversifying the pasture with warm season grasses for summer grazing or interseeding winter annuals like rye can also dilute the intake of infected fescue.

* Fertilize pastures properly. Excess nitrogen will increases toxicity.

* Make sure all other herd health concerns are taken care of when cattle are grazing endophyte positive fescue.

"When a herd has a problem, we first try to make sure we have eliminating all other problems such as parasites so that the only thing they are dealing with is fescue toxicosis," says Bob Larson, extension veterinarian on the University of Missouri Beef Focus Team.