ARS scientists conducted research to determine if America’s agricultural system is safe from COVID-19.
Cattle Thank Their Lucky Clovers
Scientists with the ARS Forage-Animal Production Research Unit in Lexington, KY, found that introducing red clover into cattle diets could give the animals an additional defense against fescue toxicosis, a health condition caused by the consumption of fungus-infected tall fescue (a common grazing grass). Characterized by tightened blood vessels, infertility, weight loss, and lowered milk production in livestock animals, fescue toxicosis is estimated to cost the U.S. livestock industry $2 billion every year.
Because red clover contains isoflavones, special compounds that dilate constricted blood vessels and improve blood flow, the team successfully hypothesized isoflavones’ ability to mitigate symptoms of fescue toxicosis. Cattle that consumed grasses from pastures interseeded with red clover exhibited increased blood flow and greater growth. Additionally, red clover is an extremely palatable but low-cost source of high-quality protein, which makes it an ideal supplement for cattle diets.
Explore Other Discoveries
Scientists Test Farm Animals for COVID-19
Fighting the Invasive Tawny Crazy Ant
ARS scientists and the Foundation for the Study of Invasive Species in Argentina, conducted research to further understand tawny crazy ant behavior.
Fungus Compounds May Help Fight Fish Disease
ARS researchers and Villanova University researchers looked at compounds called pyranopyrans that have significant antibacterial properties against a certain fish pathogen.
Improved Computer Modeling Can Help Predict Future Outbreaks
ARS researchers used computer modeling to predict the limited potential of livestock transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Boosting Atlantic Salmon Production
An improved genome reference sequence for the North American Atlantic salmon and the first DNA chip enables the use of genomic information in breeding strategies.
Protecting U.S. Swine from a Looming Animal Disease Threat
ARS scientists at the Plum Island National Animal Disease Research Center are preparing countermeasures in case of the arrival of African Swine Fever in the United States.