Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Husbandry

Major Professor

Charles S. Hobbs

Committee Members

M. C. Bell, George M. Merriman


Experimental results and field observations in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia indicate that fescue contains a toxic agent that is detrimental to cattle of both beef and dairy breeds.

Tall fescue grass (Festuca arundinacea) has been recommended and used extensively as permanent pasture in Tennessee, Kentucky, and other states for the past several years. The acreage of fescue grass, in spite of the possible detrimental effects, is still increasing.

Observations at the Middle Tennessee Experiment Station, at Alcoa, and possibly at Calderwood, as well as correspondence with other stations, indicate that the disease now known as fescue poisoning may be a serious problem to some Tennessee cattlemen and dairy farmers.

Tha fescue problem in livestock feeding is one of increasing importance. Fescue poisoning could develop into a problem of major importance.

It is significant that fescue lameness has been noted on farms where there is a heavy soil or a soil heavily fertilized.

Symptoms of fescue poisoning in cattle area: loss of condition, rough or unshed hair coat, humped back, loss of coordination of tha hind limbs, and loss of hair on the hind limbs on an area extending from the Coronary band about one-half of the way to the hook joint. ln this same area, inflammation of the skin and a general swelling of the tissues are sometimes noted. In advanced stages of the disease, there may or may not be severe lesions about the hoof, which makes it very difficult for the animal to stand. Symptoms of this condition are not consistent.

In view of these facts, and experiment was set up in an attempt to experimentally reproduce the disease and to study the clinical and hematological pictures in this disease.

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