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Anti-quality components

Cool-season grass species with potential anti-quality issues include reed canarygrass and tall fescue [GIS-6, GIS-7, GIS-16]. Old cultivars of both species have very bad reputations, with good reason, particularly if being considered as lactating dairy cow forage. Wild-type reed canarygrass contains a high indole alkaloid content, resulting in poor palatability and poor animal performance. Tryptamine alkaloids can result in neurologic "staggers" in ruminants that can result in death. While this was a significant problem in the past, almost all, if not all, reed canarygrass seed for sale is now low-alkaloid. Old stands, however, may still be a high alkaloid type. Old tall fescue cultivars contain an endophytic fungus that makes the plants healthier and stronger, but makes the forage unpalatable for dairy cows due to production of alkaloids, primarily ergot alkaloids. New endophyte-free tall fescue cultivars do not have these palatability problems.