Dow AgroSciences and Barenbrug USA announced Aug. 23 that Dow will co-promote Barenbrug's new tall fescue forage grass, BarOptima PLUS E34.

The fescue features a nontoxic endophyte, a naturally occurring fungus in fescues that can cause health problems in livestock that graze on the grass.

The fungus improves stand life and performance in tall fescue, in part by providing grasses with drought and pest tolerance. Tall fescues without endophytes have not performed well, according to industry sources.

Pennington Seed in 2001 released the first tall fescue with a nontoxic endophyte, called Jesup MaxQ. It has since released a second variety with nontoxic endophyte, called Texoma MaxQ II.

The BarOptima release is believed to be the only other tall fescue on the market with a nontoxic endophyte.

Two other varieties, involving collaborations between private companies and universities, are close to being released, according to industry reports.

"This agreement with Dow AgroSciences will enhance our effort to bring improved pasture genetics to producers in the U.S.," said John Walther, a vice president for Barenbrug USA.

Dow's expertise on livestock productivity and its expansive infrastructure will help Barenbrug establish BarOptima as a top option for livestock producers, Walther said.

--Mitch Lies

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