June 2017
Farm & Field

Beware of Summer Slump

Management Options for Fescue Pastures


An Angus cow shedding a discolored winter coat stands in fescue.

Tall fescue has long been associated with a syndrome known as summer slump (aka fescue foot or fescue toxicosis). An endophyte fungus within the fescue plant produces alkaloids causing adverse symptoms including decreased weight gains, weight loss, decreased feed intake, reduced milk production, higher body temperature, increased respiration rates, rough hair coat, unthrifty appearance, loss of blood flow to extremities, excessive salivation and poor reproductive performance. Symptoms seem to be worst during hot summer months.


Dealing with Summer Slump

There are several management options available to cattle producers to help lessen the symptoms of summer slump:


How Can My Cattle Avoid Fescue Toxicity?

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that will allow you to avoid the negative effects of the fescue endophyte in all situations. However, by using a combination of the management techniques mentioned in conjunction with a good mineral/vitamin supplementation program, you can reduce the negative impacts of summer slump on your cattle herd.

The SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer line offers premium nutrition especially designed to combat the negative effects of fescue forages in a variety of product forms for your convenience. For those who prefer a loose mineral, we offer SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer with Mag Mineral. For those who prefer the convenience of pressed blocks, SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer with Mag Block and SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer Protein Block with Mag are available.

SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer products have been scientifically formulated to take into account the unique biological factors associated with fescue forages. Supplement bioavailablity is crucial, especially those in areas with high levels of antagonists in the water or soil. Research has shown a combination of organic and inorganic copper was as effective at maintaining liver copper levels during antagonism as feeding five times the National Research Council’s requirement from copper sulfate. For this reason, SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer products contain BioPlex, an organic source of copper, zinc, manganese and cobalt, and Sel-Plex, an organic selenium as well as inorganic source for optimum bioavailability and performance. SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer products also contain FEB-200 to help support overall performance and help cattle attain maximum genetic potential on fescue forages.

SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer products have all been designed to deliver enhanced magnesium levels and deliver NRC-recommended levels of essential trace minerals. Due to known factors associated with copper and zinc, these products deliver twice NRC levels of copper and zinc in accordance with those findings.

Any cattle producers who utilize fescue pastures and observe rough, discolored hair coats (red tinge on black hair or loss of pigment around the eyes); slow-shedding winter coats; decreased conception rates; increased days open; hoof problems and/or depressed immunity should consider use of one of the SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer products. Ask for the SWEETLIX Fescue Balancer by name at your local Quality Co-op. Visit www.sweetlix.com to learn more about this and other SWEETLIX supplement products for cattle.


BioPlex, Sel-Plex and FEB-200 are registered trademarks of Alltech

SWEETLIX is a registered trademark of Ridley USA Inc.


Jackie Nix is an animal nutritionist with Ridley Block Operations (www.sweetlix.com). You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-800-325-1486 for questions or to learn more about SWEETLIX mineral and protein supplements for cattle, goats, horses, sheep and wildlife. References available upon request.