May Sneak Peek

Fescue, The Quiet Killer

by Les Blondino

Fescue was introduced into the United States from Europe. Dr. E. N. Fergus of the University of Kentucky first observed tall fescue growing in Menifer County, Kentucky in 1931. Dr. Fergus collected seed and tested it in various Kentucky locations. Eventually fescue was named Kentucky 31, referring to 1931 when Dr. Fergus first observed tall fescue.

Fescue is hardy by nature and highly adaptive to a wide variety of conditions. Heat and drought have little effect on fescue. It also does well in a variety of soil types. Fescue thrives in acidic, poor or rich soil. Fescue is a cure all for erosion and other problems. Since fescue has all these survival qualities, it has been planted in large areas throughout the country. Fescue has been planted on 35 million acres. So, regardless of where you live, you probably have fescue.

Since fescue has all these survival qualities, when introduced to a new area, it relentlessly takes over. Fescue’s root structure and toxicity kills off the native grasses, weeds and other plants that are highly beneficial to rabbits and other wildlife.

The problems with fescue are caused by endophytes. Webster’s Dictionary defines endophytes as any plant that grows within another plant. Endophytes are organisms, fungi and bacteria living in some fescue, not all fescue have endophytes. However, when fescue does have endophytes, a variety of problems arise. Fescue often causes reproduction problems with cattle and other animals that graze it. Cattle grazing on fescue have been known to develop lameness and have lost part of their hooves and tails. This condition is referred to as “Fescue Foot”. Mares grazing tall fescue will sometimes abort or produce still born foals. In addition to this, they often fail to produce an adequate amount of milk. Along with these problems, studies have been conducted for pregnancy rates in cattle on fescue with endophytes and found to have a much lower pregnancy rates. There are a host of other problems, such as, weight gain, decreased milk production, rough half coat and elevated body temperature. An estimated $500 million dollars is lost to the livestock industry yearly from fescue.

Be sure to check out the full article starting on page 32 of our May issue!

Towanda Correction

There was a mistake in the Towanda ad that appeared in our April issue. The trial is also a Purina Points Trial. All judges are incorrect. The cost should be $12/dog. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may have been planning to attend this trial.

April Sneak Peek

Rabbit Hunters Need To Embrace Quail Restoration

by Paul E. Moore

There is currently a big push for bobwhite quail restoration going on across much of the country. State wildlife agencies, various organizations, companies, and individuals are leading a charge to turn the tide on the decline of one of America’s most treasured game birds and a generations-old tradition of quail hunting. Many rabbit hunters are disconnected from this movement and others are indifferent, but everyone who loves to hear the hound music of a good race needs to jump on the quail restoration bandwagon and ride it wholeheartedly.
There could be many reasons put forth for this including helping fellow hunters, supporting hunting traditions, and being good stewards of our lands and game populations. But the selfish reason, for lack of a better term, rabbit hunters should support and push for quail restoration is a simple one. It is all about habitat. Quail restoration is virtually 100 percent reliant upon habitat restoration and every gain in habitat acquisition and improvement will directly boost rabbit numbers.
Both bobwhite quail and eastern cottontail rabbits have been on the decline over the past few decades in most areas of the country. Some people claim it is because of the increase in predators ranging from the influx of coyotes east of the Mississippi River to bobcats, feral cats, and birds of prey. Certainly these play a factor, but the underlying main cause is loss of suitable habitat.
John Morgan is the Small Game Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). He said, “Rabbits and bobwhite have declined over the last several decades due to widespread habitat loss. Clean, expansive farming, development, and managing for appearance have negatively impacted both populations.”

For the remainder of this article, check out our April issue!

Bellwood Beagle Club Correction

There was a mistake in the Bellwood Beagle Club ad on page 50 of our April issue. It is NOT a Purina Points Trial! It is a PBGA NEBGF Derby Trial. It will be on April 26, 2014. Alternating classes. Please pass this information on to anyone you know who may have been planning to attend this trial. We apologize for any inconvenience.