Endophytes are fungi that live inside some grass plants, most commonly tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. They have a symbiotic relationship with the grass plants they inhabit — thanks to endophytes, infected grasses have increased growth rates, increased drought tolerance, and resistance to certain insects. Unfortunately, these fungi also produce toxins that can affect livestock health.

Signs of fescue toxicosis in ruminants such as goats result from the vasoconstrictive properties of the main toxic agent, ergovaline. Signs can include lameness,

Goat Pastures Chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)



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Forage chicory is a perennial which is suited to be grown on well-drained or moderately drained soils having medium to high fertility and a pH of 5.5 or greater. Chicory has good seedling vigor and a relatively deep taproot which provides tolerance to drought. It provides both spring and summer forage growth for goats. Unlike most forage crops, it is an herb rather than either a grass or a legume. Chicory produces leafy growth which, …

Goat Pastures Multi-Species Grazing can Improve Utilization of Pastures

Multi-species Grazing Can Improve Utilization of Pastures

By Jodie Pennington, Small Ruminant Educator, Lincoln University, Newton County Extension Center, Neosho, MO 64850

Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more livestock species together or separately on the same pasture-land in a specific growing season. With an understanding of the different grazing behaviors of each species, various combinations of animals can be used to more efficiently utilize the forages in a pasture. Different species of livestock prefer different forages …

Pasture-Weed Management

Coffeeweed in a goat pasture in Alabama, USA.


Weed management is one of the important aspects for maintaining healthy, productive pastures. Any plant that emerges at an unwanted spot is called a weed. Whether a plant is considered a weed may differ from one production system to another. For example, a weed in a cattle grazing system may not necessarily be a weed in a goat grazing system, such as briers. Although goats eat a wide variety of plants …

Goat Pastures Tall Fescue

Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)


Tall fescue is adapted to all soils except the dryer sands and grows well on soils too wet for orchardgrass. Tall fescue is tolerant of soil acidity and is relatively tolerant of drought. The presence of an endophyte fungus, or Neotyphodium coenophialum, found in more than 90-percent of the old Kentucky 31 tall fescue, has been associated with persistency. Persistence of endophyte-free and MaxQ tall fescue, which contains a novel endophyte fungus not detrimental …

Goat Pastures Year-Round Management

Goat figure


Year-round grazing systems

Producers need to be aware that there is no one grazing plan that fits all situations, and many factors need to be considered. Factors such as soil types, topography, climatic conditions, type of livestock operation, labor resources, capital, available machinery and specific objectives will define the grazing system to be implemented. Other factors such as control of gastrointestinal parasites of goats will also influence the choice of some forages to incorporate into the grazing system. The seasonal …

Goat Pastures Parasites

Parasites and pastures

One of the major components of an effective parasite control program is reducing the number of parasites to which goats are exposed.  One way to accomplish this is to manage  pastures in a way that will reduce parasite load. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Take a hay crop from the pasture area.  This can be incorporated into a dose-and-move program in which goats are grazed on one pasture in the early grazing season and then

Goat Pastures Renovation

Renovation of pastures

Given that goats are the most versatile of livestock in terms of the variety of plants it consumes, many of them considered weeds although of extremely high quality, assessing the plant community and its productivity is a “must” before considering and investing the total renovation of a pasture. A pasture considered not sufficiently productive for beef cattle of horses because of “weeds“ and brush invasion could be highly productive for goats. Therefore, total pasture renovation should be …

Goat Pastures Establishing Mixed-Plant

Establishing mixed-plant communities as pastures

If given a choice, the daily ration of a goat is made up of 20% grasses, 20% “weeds” (many are forbs of very high quality) and 60% browse. Thus, plant diversity needs to be optimized to provide goats the forage quality and quantity necessary to meet their nutritional requirements. One approach is to plant a community of high quality perennial forages (a mix of grass, legume and forb such as orchardgrass or tall fescue with …