Snyder believes other
beef producers will
start establishing novel
endophyte acres once
they realize the value it
adds to their operation.
Glyphosate is used to
suppress regrowth of old
fescue stands before a
novel endophyte is drilled
into a pasture.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION
it down so low that we see bare spots.
The cows like it so well that you have
to watch them. If there’s a fence down
anywhere they’ll crawl through it to
get to that new planting.”
SPEAKING OF BENEFITS
Cow approval isn’t the only benefi
t of the new endophytes Snyder has
established. He’s also seen higher production
volumes overall, with most
fertilized fi elds producing between
4,400 and 4,500 pounds-per-acre
when its cut for hay.
“In a second cutting we probably see
between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds per
acre,” Snyder says. “We’re not bashful
about fertilizing, because these novel
endophytes, unlike Kentucky 31, produce
more leaves than stems.”
The fi ne, leafy characteristics of the
novel endophytes means it takes longer
to dry and traditional bales don’t
hold their shape.
“It doesn’t pack inside a bale like a
stemmier forage does,” Snyder says.
“That’s why we’ll use a plastic wrap
this year and avoid excessive spoilage.”
The average cost for each reseeded
pasture is between $225 and $240 per
acre. Since he eliminated the cover
crop, Snyder has reduced reseeding
costs to some extent. Considering the
fact that the cows seem to prefer the
grass to their grain rations, he believes
his return-on-investment is recovered
within about three years.
“It depends on weather factors
each year,” Snyder says. “When we
fi rst put cattle on the new growth
of Bar Optima, it took about a week
to get them back to the feed bunk.
They weren’t interested in the grain.
They were getting most of what they
needed from the grass.”
Two other novel endophyte cultivars
Snyder has used are Jessup
(MaxQ) and Texoma. With new cultivars
emerging every year, Snyder isn’t
limiting himself to these varieties.
“We’ll continue transitioning about
100 acres each year,” Snyder adds.
“We’ve completed about 350 acres so
far. When we cut and bale it, we’re
storing and feeding right at that fi eld.”
Snyder has noticed that local wildlife
enjoys the novel fescue cultivars,
too. Turkey and deer haven’t damaged
any fi elds, but their presence there is
“We’ve cut our grain bill by about
50% since we started using novel
endophytes,” Snyder says. “I believe
that once we’ve transitioned all the
pastures, we’ll reduce grain costs
Snyder believes other beef producers
will start establishing novel
endophyte acres once they realize the
value it adds to their operation.
“It’s not always easy to change
what you’ve been doing for decades,”
Snyder says. “However, there’s a
wealth of evidence that these new
cultivars are far superior to Kentucky
31. The initial cost of reseeding is
pretty quickly recovered and the cattle
are much healthier.”
34 I WORKING RANCH I JUNE / JULY 2019