Enhancing the Sustainability of Tall Fescue Forage Systems for Beef Cattle Production with Non-Toxic Endophyte Technology

Final Report for GS01-010

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2001: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Major Professor:
Jane Parish
Univ. of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Expand All

Project Information

Summary:

Introduction

Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is a cool-season grass grown on over 20 million ha of pastureland and hayfields in the southeastern USA (Bouton, 2000). Despite agronomic attributes that make it an attractive forage crop, tall fescue is associated with fescue toxicosis, a condition that alters ruminant grazing behavior (Seman et al., 1999) and adversely affects cattle performance (Stuedemann and Hoveland, 1988). Animal toxicity problems result from grazing wild-type toxic endophyte-infected (E+) tall fescue. Endophytes (Neotyphodium coenophialum) within tall fescue plants impart positive agronomic qualities, e.g., enhanced drought tolerance and improved vigor. Plant breeders developed endophyte-free (E-) cultivars, which are non-toxic to livestock. However, plant persistence is lower in E- than in E+ tall fescue (Hill et al., 1991), and a higher level of management is required to maintain productive E- forage stands.

Non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophyte-infected (AR502 and AR542) tall fescue was developed by re-infecting E- tall fescue cultivars with non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophyte strains. Better stand survival than E- checks and survival similar to E+ checks has been observed in AR502 and AR542 tall fescue when subjected to close grazing in bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) sod (Bouton et al., 2002). In addition, AR502 and AR542 N. coenophialum strains have been shown to produce none of the ergot alkaloids responsible for toxicosis in grazing ruminants. Grazing research trials conducted in lambs (Fletcher et al., 2000; Bouton et al., 2002) and steers (Nihsen et al., 2000) have shown that non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophyte-infected tall fescue pastures provide animal performance similar to E- tall fescue and superior to E+ tall fescue without indications of toxicosis.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of the present study were to evaluate animal performance, toxicosis, and grazing behavior in stocker cattle grazing AR502, AR542, E-, and E+ Jesup, Georgia-5, and Kentucky-31 tall fescue pastures.

Research

Materials and methods:

Experiment 1

At the Northwest Georgia Branch Station near Calhoun, GA (latitude 34.5577 degrees N; longitude 84.8158 degrees W; elevation 209 m), four Kentucky-31 (KY-31) pasture treatments: (i) AR542-infected tall fescue, (ii) AR502-infected tall fescue, (iii) E- tall fescue, and (iv) E+ tall fescue were compared for animal toxicity and growth performance for three yr. A completely randomized design was used with two replications of each paddock treatment. The 0.81-ha paddocks were tall fescue monocultures established in October 1998. Seed supplied by J. H. Bouton was precision drilled into well-prepared seedbeds of Sequatchie loam and Pope fine sandy loam soil at a seeding rate of 33.6 kg/ha. Pastures were fertilized uniformly with 67 kg N/ha and P and K according to soil tests at establishment and in February and September of each subsequent year.

Angus crossbred cattle (mean BW = 227 kg) were randomly assigned to the treatment paddocks. Heifers were used during spring 1999, autumn 1999, and spring 2000, while steers were in the subsequent grazing seasons. The animals were supplied at all times with fresh water, free choice mineral blocks, and shade in each paddock. Cattle were treated for internal and external parasites at the initiation of each trial. In an attempt to maintain similar forage availability among paddocks, put-and-take grazing management was used. Based on forage availability, stocking rate was adjusted by removing or adding grazer animals with tester animals remaining on the paddocks for the duration of the experiment. Cattle were taken off of the experimental pastures at the conclusion of each autumn grazing period, grazed on E- tall fescue, and fed bermudagrass hay until they were reallocated to treatment pastures at the beginning of the following spring grazing period. Paddocks were restocked with new animals at the beginning of the autumn grazing seasons. Grazing was initiated when there was adequate forage available, approximately 1800 kg DM/ha. Grazing continued until forage availability dropped below approximately 1300 kg DM/ha. Precipitation and soil water holding capacity played a role in decisions regarding the management of available forage levels.

Paddocks were sampled for available forage on dates corresponding to animal data collection dates by clipping herbage within a 0.09 m2 quadrat from 10 randomly selected sites within each paddock. The material was dried in a forced-air oven at 60 degrees C, weighed, and kg DM/ha calculated. Rate of endophyte infection was assayed on tall fescue tillers near the onset and conclusion of each grazing season using an immunoblot procedure of Hiatt et al. (1998). Total ergot alkaloid concentration was determined using an ELISA procedure described by Adcock et al. (1992). Animal weights, blood samples, and rectal temperatures were collected at the onset of each grazing season, d 14, d 28, and then at 28-d intervals, thereafter. Initial and final animal weight were collected on two consecutive days and averaged. Approximately 7 ml of blood was collected from each animal in the caudal vein at the base of the tail. Blood samples were centrifuged at 3000 g to separate and harvest serum that was then frozen (0 degrees C). Analysis was then performed to determine serum prolactin (PRL) levels according to the RIA procedure of Mizinga et al. (1992). The intraassay CV was 9.0%, and there was no interassay CV since there was only one assay performed.

Animal days for each paddock were calculated as the sum of the days each animal, tester or grazer, spent grazing the paddock during a given grazing season. Animal ADG was computed by dividing mean tester animal gain in a particular paddock by the number of days in the grazing season. Gain/ha was calculated as the number of animal days multiplied by tester animal ADG. Mean stocking rate was computed by dividing animal days by the duration of the grazing season in days.

Experiment 2

Five pasture treatments: (i) AR542-infected Georgia-5 tall fescue, (ii) AR542-infected Jesup tall fescue, (iii) AR502-infected tall Jesup fescue, (iv) E- Jesup tall fescue, and (v) E+ Jesup tall fescue were compared for beef cattle toxicity and growth performance for three yr at the Central Georgia Branch Station near Eatonton, GA (latitude 33.3972 degrees N; longitude 83.4883 degrees W; elevation 167 m). A randomized complete block design was used with two replications of each paddock treatment. The 0.81-ha paddocks were tall fescue monocultures established in October 1998. Seed supplied by J. H. Bouton was precision drilled into well-prepared seedbeds of Pacolet sandy loam soil at a seeding rate of 33.6 kg/ha. Pastures were fertilized uniformly with 67 kg N/ha and P and K according to soil tests at establishment and in February and September of each subsequent year. During spring 1999 paddocks were stocked with cattle for 49 d.

Hereford crossbred steers (mean BW = 254 kg) were randomly assigned to the treatment paddocks. The animals were managed as described for Experiment 1. Grazing was initiated when there was adequate forage available, approximately 2700 kg DM/ha. Grazing continued until forage availability dropped below approximately 2300 kg DM/ha. Available forage, endophyte infection rate, ergot alkaloid levels, animal weights, rectal temperatures, and serum prolactin levels were sampled according to the procedures described for Experiment 1.

Experiment 3

Steer grazing behavior during spring and autumn 2001 was compared on three pasture treatments: (i) AR542 Jesup tall fescue, (ii) E- Jesup tall fescue, and (iii) E+ Jesup tall fescue. The replicated (n = 2) 0.81-ha tall fescue pastures were at a subset of the pastures used in Experiment 2. Eighteen Hereford steers (mean BW = 377 kg) were stocked on tall fescue pastures at an initial stocking rate of three steers/paddock in early March 2001. In September 2001, the pastures were restocked with a new set of eighteen Hereford steers (mean BW = 280 kg). Two steers in each paddock were designated prior to the start of each grazing season as testers, while a third steer was used as a grazer in a put-and-take grazing management system. The 12 tester steers were halter broken for ease of handling prior to the start of the trial and were a subset of the animals used in Experiment 2.

Behavioral measurements were taken on tester steers over four 5-d collection periods during spring 2001 and three 5-d collection periods during autumn 2001 (Table 3). The onset of the March and September behavioral data collection periods coincided with d 0 of the grazing trials. Prior to beginning grazing on the treatment pastures, steers were grazed on E- tall fescue and fed bermudagrass hay. Automatic jaw movement sensors (Rutter et al., 1997), leg movement sensors (Champion et al., 1997), and data recorders (Ultra Sound Advice, London, United Kingdom) (Figure 1) were used to measure grazing time, ruminating time, number of jaw movements, number of steps taken, and lying time. During each 5-d collection period behavioral data were collected for five 24 h periods that were staggered to allow time to handle animals to change recorder data cards and batteries. Data were downloaded from recorder data cards to a portable laptop computer after every 24 h of behavioral data collection. In addition, in-line water flow meters attached to automatic watering tanks measured paddock water usage. Meter readings were recorded daily during behavioral data collection periods. Paddock water usage was converted to a steer BW water usage basis by adjusting for stocking rate and steer BW.

In order to measure forage quality, two esophageally cannulated Jersey steers were fasted overnight, fitted with plastic collection bags, and grazed in each paddock until bags were filled to collect esophageal samples of forage harvested by these steers. Esophageal extrusa samples were frozen in liquid N, lyophilized, and ground through a 1 mm screen in a Wiley mill (Arthur A. Thomas, Philadelphia, PA). Samples were analyzed for DM by drying in a forced air oven at 135 degrees C for 2 h. Crude protein was determined for extrusa samples by combustion in a Leco FP-528 Nitrogen/Protein Determinator (Leco Corp., St. Joseph, MI) and then multiplying N content by 6.25. Determination of IVDMD was performed in a DaisyII incubator (ANKOM Technology Corp., Fairport, NY) with a modification (Holden, 1999) of the ANKOM procedure. NDF and ADF were sequentially determined using the ANKOM200 Fiber Analyzer (ANKOM Technology Corp, Fairport, NY). Indigestible ADF (IADF) was determined according to the procedure of Bernard and McNeill (1991).

Controlled-release chromic oxide boli (Captec Ind., New Zealand) were orally administered as an external marker to tester steers one wk prior to each behavioral data collection period. After an 8-d equilibration period, fecal grab samples were collected for five consecutive days corresponding with behavioral data collection periods. Fecal grab samples were dried in a forced air oven at 50oC for 96 h, composited over 5-d periods by steer, ground to pass through a 1 mm screen, and analyzed for DM and IADF content according the procedures detailed for esophageal extrusa samples. Chromium content was determined using the procedure of Fenton and Fenton (1979). Daily fecal output was estimated by dividing the quantity of chromium released daily from the chromic oxide boli as supplied by the manufacturer by the concentration of fecal chromium. Forage indigestibility was calculated using IADF as an internal marker by dividing forage IADF content from esophageal samples by fecal IADF content. DMI was computed by dividing fecal output by forage indigestibility. Steer DMI was then adjusted for steer BW. Mean bite size in kg/prehension was determined by dividing mean daily DMI by mean daily prehensions. Biting rate was calculated by dividing prehensions by grazing time.

Statistical Analysis

PROC GLM/LSMEANS of SAS (SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, NC) was used to separately analyze the data from each experiment. For Experiment 1, a completely randomized experimental design was used with paddock as the experimental unit. There were two replications of each experimental unit. Main effects were endophyte treatment, season, and grazing year. For Experiment 2, a randomized complete block experimental design was used with paddock as the experimental unit and paddock exposure to deer as the blocking factor. Each treatment occurred once in each of the two blocks. Main effects were endophyte treatment, season, year, and block. Each grazing year in Experiment 1 included a spring period and the subsequent autumn period, while each grazing year in Experiment 2 included a spring period and the preceeding autumn period. Each model included main effects and their interactions. Ergot alkaloid concentration and serum PRL means showed nonhomogeneity among their variances due to some treatments having near-zero values and others possessing values in the hundreds or even thousands. Thus, these data were subjected to square root transformations to address data non-normality prior to statistical analysis.

For Experiment 3, GRAZE (Ultra Sound Advice, London, United Kingdom), a software program designed to analyze the behavior data files (Rutter, 2000), was used to identify periods of grazing, ruminating, and lying, and to count prehensions, mastications, and steps. Forage availability, forage quality, steer performance, grazing behavior, and water intake data were analyzed with PROC GLM/LSMEANS in SAS (SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, NC) as a randomized complete block design. Paddock was the experimental unit. Main effects were endophyte treatment, period, and block. The model included main effects and their interaction.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

Publications related to this research effort are listed below:

Referred Journal Articles:

Parish, J. A., M. A. McCann, R. H. Watson, C. S. Hoveland, L. L. Hawkins, N. S. Hill, and J. H. Bouton. Use of non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophytes for alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in sheep. J. Anim. Sci. IN REVIEW.

Bouton, J. H., G. C. M. Latch, N. S. Hill, C. S. Hoveland, M. A. McCann, R. H. Watson, J. A. Parish, L. L. Hawkins, and F. N. Thompson. 2002. Re-infection of tall fescue cultivars with non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophytes. Agron. J. 94:567-574.

Experiment Station Publications:

Bouton, J. H., D. T. Wood, C. S. Hoveland, N. S. Hill, M. A. McCann, R. H. Watson, J. A. Bondurant, J. F. Newsome, V. Calvert. 2001. MaxQ fescue research – Plant performance. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. p 11.

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, and R. H. Watson. 2001. Assessment of MaxQTM for alleviating fescue toxicosis in lambs. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. pp 12-13.

Watson, R. H., M. A. McCann, J. A. Bondurant, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, and F. N. Thompson. 2001. Liveweight and growth rate of cow-calf pairs grazing tall fescue pastures infected with either non-toxic (MaxQTM) or toxic endophyte strains. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. p 14.

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, and R. H. Watson. 2001. Alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in growing steers using MaxQTM. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. pp 15-16.

Duckett, S. K., J. A. Bondurant, J. G. Andrae, J. Carter, T. D. Pringle, M. A. McCann, and D. Gill. 2001. Performance and carcass quality of cattle finished after grazing non-toxic endophyte-infected (MaxQTM), toxic endophyte-infected, or endophyte-free tall fescue. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. pp 17-19.

Watson, R. H., M. A. McCann, J. A. Bondurant, J. G. Andrae, and L. L. Hawkins. 2001. Measurement of body temperature in cattle grazing toxic and non-toxic (MaxQ) tall fescue pastures using temperature data loggers. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. pp 20-21.

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, and R. H. Watson. 2001. Effects of MaxQTM, endophyte-free, and toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue on steer grazing behavior. In: Res. Proc. Forage-Beef Cattle Field Day. Central Georgia Branch Exp. Sta. pp 22-25.

Popular Press:

Hoveland, C., M. McCann, R. Watson, J. Andrae, S. Duckett, and J. Bondurant. Is Max Q for you? Georgia Cattleman. May 2001. pp 28-29.

Abstracts and Proceedings:

Parish, J. A., M. A. McCann, R. H. Watson, N. N. Paiva, C. A. Brainerd, J. S. McCann, B. L. Upchurch, C. S. Hoveland, and J. H. Bouton. 2002. Beef steer grazing behavior on friendly endophyte-infected, endophyte-free, and wild-type endophyte-infected Jesup tall fescue. 2001 UGA ADS Annual Rep. IN PRESS.

Parish, J. A., M. A. McCann, J. H. Bouton, R. H. Watson, J. S. McCann, J. H. Bouton, and C. S. Hoveland. 2002. Steer grazing behavior on non-toxic endophyte-infected, endophyte-free, and toxic endophyte-infected Jesup tall fescue. J. Anim. Sci. 80(Suppl. 2):11. (Abstr.).

Parish, J. A., R. H. Watson, M. A. McCann, C. S. Hoveland, and J. H. Bouton. 2001. Stocker cattle growth performance trials. Tall fescue toxicosis workshop. Southern Extension and Research Activity Information Exchange Group-8, Chapel Hill, TN. pp 11-14.

R. H. Watson, J. A. Parish, M. A. McCann, C. S. Hoveland, and J. H. Bouton. 2001. Productivity of cow-calf pairs grazing either toxic or MaxQTM tall fescue pastures. Tall fescue toxicosis workshop. Southern Extension and Research Activity Information Exchange Group-8, Chapel Hill, TN. pp 9-11.

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, R. H. Watson, and J. G. Andrae. 2001. Non-toxic endophyte (MaxQTM) use for alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in stocker cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):220. (Abstr.).

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, J. S. McCann, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, R. H. Watson, and J. G. Andrae. 2001. Steer grazing behavior on endophyte-free, toxic endophyte-infected, and non-toxic endophyte-infected (MaxQTM) tall fescue. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):457. (Abstr.).

Duckett, S. K., J. A. Bondurant, J. G. Andrae, J. Carter, T. D. Pringle, M. A. McCann, and D. Gill. 2001. Effect of grazing tall fescue endophyte types on subsequent feedlot performance and carcass quality. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):221. (Abstr.).

Watson, R. H., M. A. McCann, J. A. Bondurant, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, and F. N. Thompson. 2001. Liveweight and growth rate of cow-calf pairs grazing tall fescue pastures infected with either non-toxic (MaxQTM) or toxic endophyte strains. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):220. (Abstr.).

Watson, R. H., M. A. McCann, J. A. Bondurant, J. G. Andrae, and L. L. Hawkins. 2001. Use of temperature data loggers to measure body temperature in cows grazing toxic or non-toxic tall fescue. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):458. (Abstr.).

Andrae, J. G., M. A. McCann, D. R. Tolleson, J. A. Bondurant, R. H. Watson, and J. W. Stuth. 2001. Relationship of clipped diet samples to fecal NIRS diet quality predictions of cattle grazing tall fescue pastures in Georgia. J. Anim. Sci. 79(Suppl. 2):28. (Abstr.).

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, R. H. Watson, and J. G. Andrae. 2001. Alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in stocker cattle using non-toxic endophytes. 2000 UGA ADS Annual Rep. pp 155-162.

Bondurant, J. A., M. A. McCann, J. H. Bouton, C. S. Hoveland, L. L. Hawkins, R. H. Watson, and J. G. Andrae. 2001. Alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in sheep using non-toxic endophytes. 2000 UGA ADS Annual Rep. pp 149-154.

Watson, R. H., M. A. McCann, J. A. Bondurant, F. N. Thompson, J. H. Bouton, and C. S. Hoveland. 2001. Reproductive performance of cow herds grazing tall fescue pastures infected with either the novel endophyte AR542 (MaxQTM) or wild-type endophyte. 2000 UGA ADS Annual Rep. pp 197-200.

Andrae, J. G., M. A. McCann, D. R. Tolleson, J. A. Bondurant, R. H. Watson, A. Norman, and J. W. Stuth. 2001. Predicting the diet quality of beef cattle grazing tall fescue pastures using fecal near infrared reflectance spectra. 2000 UGA ADS Annual Rep. pp 123-126.

Bouton, J. H., J. A. Bondurant, N. S. Hill, R. N. Gates, L. L. Hawkins, C. S. Hoveland, M. A. McCann, F. N. Thompson, R. H. Watson, S. Easton, L. Fletcher, G. Latch, and B. Tapper. 2000. Alleviating tall fescue toxicosis problems with non-toxic endophytes. Tall fescue toxicosis workshop. Southern Extension and Research Activity Information Exchange Group-8, Chapel Hill, TN. pp 9-15.

McCann, M. A., J. A. Bondurant, L. L. Hawkins, N. S. Hill, C. S. Hoveland, F. N. Thompson, G. C. M. Latch, and J. H. Bouton. 2000. Alleviating tall fescue toxicosis with non-toxic endophytes. J. Anim. Sci. 78(Suppl. 1):123 (Abstr.).

Oral presentations of this research data are listed below:

“Potential for alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in Arkansas with friendly endophytes” presented at 10 county-level beef cattle/forage producer meetings/field days in Arkansas to date.

“Steer growth performance and grazing behavior on MaxQ tall fescue” presented at the Southern Pastures and Forage Crop Improvement Conference in Athens, Georgia in April 2002.

“Steer grazing behavior on non-toxic endophyte-infected, endophyte-free, and toxic endophyte-infected Jesup tall fescue” presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science in Orlando, Florida in February 2002.

“Stocker cattle growth performance trials” presented at the Southern Extension and Research Activity Information Exchange Group-8 Tall Fescue Toxicosis Workshop in Chapel Hill, Tennessee in November 2001.

“Non-toxic endophyte (MaxQ) use for alleviating tall fescue toxicosis in stocker cattle” presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Science in Indianapolis, Indiana in July 2001.

“Steer grazing behavior on endophyte-free, toxic endophyte-infected, and non-toxic endophyte-infected (MaxQ) tall fescue” poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Science in Indianapolis, Indiana in July 2001.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophyte-infected (AR542 and AR502) tall fescue pastures provide similar cattle growth performance as endophyte-free (E-) tall fescue pastures and may be an effective forage management option for alleviating fescue toxicosis in beef cattle. Growth performance of cattle on AR542, AR502, and E- pastures was superior to that of animals on wild-type endophyte-infected (E+) tall fescue. Steers on AR542 and E- tall fescue exhibited grazing behavior that supported superior growth performance over steers on E+ tall fescue. Furthermore, beef cattle grazing AR542, AR502, and E- tall fescue pastures did not exhibit depressed PRL levels or elevated rectal temperatures indicative of fescue toxicosis as did in cattle on E+ pastures. These findings have immediate application for livestock producers, since tall fescue infected with the AR542 endophyte strain is commercially available as MaxQ tall fescue (Pennington Seed, Inc., Madison, GA).

Farmer Adoption

Non-ergot alkaloid-producing tall fescue evaluated in this research effort is commercially available as MaxQ tall fescue (Pennington Seed Inc., Madison, Georgia). Initial farm plantings took place in the autumn of 2001. Many more farms will plant MaxQ in the autumn of 2002, thus expanding MaxQ acreage across the southeastern United States. Proper establishment practices are critical to minimize contamination of MaxQ pastures with toxic tall fescue. Other management considerations to prevent contamination of MaxQ tall fescue pastures with toxic tall fescue plants include avoiding feeding toxic tall fescue hay on MaxQ pastures and utilizing a minimum 3-day cleanout period when moving animals from toxic tall fescue pastures to MaxQ pastures. In addition, proper grazing management that avoids overgrazing MaxQ tall fescue pastures will help ensure productive forage stands.

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

Long term effects of non-ergot alkaloid-producing endophytes on tall fescue plant persistence under intensive grazing management need to be assessed relative to endophyte-free and wild-type toxic endophyte-infected controls. This would allow more accurate estimates of forage stand life and would improve economic analysis of tall fescue forage options. In addition, commercially available non-ergot alkaloid-producing tall fescues (MaxQ and ArkPlus) need to be compared directly for livestock performance and plant persistence. This would provide producers with useful information when choosing a non-ergot alkaloid-producing tall fescue product for pasture renovation.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.