Ryegrass endophyte

What is endophyte?

Ryegrass endophyte is a fungus called Neotyphodium lolii that greatly affects animal health and performance. It is found only in perennial, long rotation and a few hybrid ryegrasses.  It lives completely within the plant and is only visible under a microscope.  Endophyte occurs naturally, and is found in many old pastures.


Why have endophyte?

Endophyte protects plants from a range of insects. In summer dry situations ryegrass containing endophyte consistently out-yields and persists better than ryegrass without endophyte.


Why do you need to know about endophyte?


  • The traditional standard endophyte reduces animal production and can cause ryegrass staggers
  • New endophyte Plus AR1, Plus NEA2 and AR6 stop staggers and improve animal performance
  • Where ryegrass with Plus AR1 or Plus NEA2 advanced endophyte is sown, the resultant plants will always have Plus AR1 or Plus NEA2 endophyte
  • If seed without endophyte is sown, the resultant plants will never have endophyte. It does not transfer from plant to plant, or from the soil

Ryegrass endophyte options

There are different endophyte options available, make sure that the endophyte you are getting is the best for your situation. Barenbrug advanced endophyte options:





Plus AR1  Alto
 Peramine  Improves animal health and performance over standard endophyte. Provides insect resistance. Recommended for all areas.
Plus NEA2 Bealey
Impact 2
Low level of Ergovaline
Improves animal health and performance over standard endophyte. Provides insect resistance. Recommended for all areas.


Other endophyte options


  • Standard endophyte sometimes called ‘high endophyte’, is still sold in most older varieties and many current varieties.  It is not recommended as it causes ryegrass staggers, depresses live weight gain in lambs and reduces milk production in dairy cows.


  • Without endophyte, also called nill endophyte, gives good animal performance, but reduced insect resistance and persistence (not suited to Australian conditions).


  • AR6 is a new endophyte available only in extreme perennial ryegrass. It produces the chemicals peramine and low levels of ergovaline and is therefore similar in function to Plus NEA2.


  • AR37 is an endophyte that produces none of the chemicals other endophytes do, but different chemicals called janthitrems.  Animal performance may be less that ryegrass with Plus AR1 or without endophyte.  It is showing good insect resistance but can cause ryegrass staggers in summer and autumn, with symptoms indistinguishable from those on Standard endophyte.


  • Plus AR1 – advantage for lamb finishing. Plus AR1 compared with standard endophyte:


    • Greater lamb live weight gains
    • No staggers, Less dags, lower flystrike risk
    • More palatable pastures
    • Easier pasture management
    • Lamb growth. These results are from lamb live weight gain trials run by AgResearch at Lincoln, NZ. Over summer and autumn Plus AR1 Gave better live weight gains than Nui ryegrass with standard endophyte. In the case of the late heading impact, lambs gained over twice as much weight:

Plus AR1 eliminates staggers for lambs, ewes, horses and cattle. Saving a single lamb could be worth $100 other stock much more

Lambs on Plus AR1 have shown half the amount of dags in trials than those on standard endophyte. This means significantly less flystrike and less time spent crutching/dagging


  • Plus NEA2.