Teff Grass Crop Overview and Forage Production Guide
A guide for producers, extension, educators and seed marketers
This guide was authored by Dr. Don Miller,
- Combines the experience and accumulated knowledge of public and private researchers
- Practical, easy-to-read, game plan for growers including: Origins, Teff Grass uses; nutrition and yield information; Crop management information – seeding, weed control, water requirements, disease, insects, harvest timing and options; and Teff Grass management checklist
Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a warm season annual grass, native to Ethiopia that thrives in warm climates. It is extremely drought and heat tolerant and requires ample rain or irrigation for maximum production. Teff is extremely sensitive to frost and requires a frost-free growing season.
Teff has demonstrated adaptation from California and the Pacific Northwest through the Intermountain States, Midwest, Northeast, mid-South and Southeastern US.
Teff grows as a fine-stemmed, bunch grass and produces a large crown with numerous tillers. It has a shallow, massive, fibrous root system. Teff’s vegetative characteristics and productivity have led to its recent development as a forage crop.
Cal/West Seeds has and continues to develop proprietary varieties of Teff bred for higher yield potential and improved forage quality. Under irrigation or with adequate precipitation and temperatures, improved varieties can yield 4-6 tons/acre in a 2- or 3-cut system in a 90-day growing season.
Teff selection nursery evaluated for yield and quality.
They will typically yield 2.0-2.5 tons/acre per cutting and produces very leafy, fine stemmed hay.
Teff can be used as a high quality feed for livestock and horses. Forage quality has compared favorably with Timothy hay. Animal acceptance and palatability has been reported to be excellent by horse owners.
Protein content of teff hay can range from 12-20% depending on maturity at cutting. To maximize yield and quality, it is recommended to cut the crop at approximately 30-40 day intervals.