Improving economic sustainability of beef cow enterprises in the Midwest by mitigating tall fescue-related heat stress and determining the value of shade in grazing systems [XP2016-08]

Project Description: 

This project will determine the impact of tall fescue concentration, endophyte infection, alkaloid concentrations, and shade presence on economic and production efficiency in pasture-based beef cow-calf systems. Endophytes, found in tall fescue, impair the cow’s ability to dissipate heat through dilation of blood vessels. The project will be conducted on 10 cow-calf operations in south-central Iowa with varying proportions of tall fescue as well as available shade. Researchers will determine best management practices to mitigate production losses resulting from heat stress associated with the consumption of endophyte-infected tall fescue.

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Lead Investigator: 
Patrick Gunn
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Patrick Gunn has been an assistant professor of animal science at Iowa State University since 2013. He earned his Ph.D. in beef reproduction and nutrition from Purdue University in 2013. He holds master and bachelor degrees from Purdue University. Gunn also is part of the Iowa Beef Center, specializing in cow-calf, nutrition-reproduction issues. 


Co Investigators: 

James Russell, ISU Animal Science
Steve Ensley, ISU Veterinary Science
Joe Sellers, ISU Extension Beef Specialist