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WHAT IS TEFF GRASS?
Teff grass (Eragrostis Teff) is a new type of grass being introduced around the world for hay production. Some varieties are perennial, but the most interest is in growing Teff hay using the short-lived annual varieties as a "catch" or "rescue" crop - which is something that can grow in a hurry and use up nutrients left over from a previous crop that failed. Especially useful in extending the life of a stand of alfalfa that may have been damaged by worms or winter-kill until it can be replanted later in the season.
WHERE DID IT ORIGINATE?
Originally from the highlands of Ethiopia, there are different varieties grown for grain or for hay. (Lovegrass)
> Requires frost free growing season. Can't tolerate frost
> Rapid seed germination and seedling development
> Fine stemmed bunch grass which produces a large crown with numerous tillers.
> Very small seed (smaller than timothy) 1.2 million seeds per lb.
> Shallow, massive, fibrous root system - can take advantage of light rains.
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> Interim hay crop between alfalfa stands
> Rotational crop for alfalfa growers
> Suitable for double cropping
> Not suitable for grazing - too shallow of a root - horses will pull it up (Some studies say Teff can be grazed with caution - livestock may pull the plants out of the ground due to the shallow root system)
> Firm seedbed (culti-pack twice. The firmer the better) - shallow planting depth 1/8 - ¼ inches deep.
> Soil temp 65 degrees
> Amount of water during growing season dictates the amount of forage produced. More water = more forage.
> Grain drill - rate of 8-10# coated per acre. Brillion Seeder 12 ½ lbs/acre. Broadcast then roll.
> Recommended cutting at approx 30-40 day intervals -best time when going into boot stage.
> Harvest height 3-4 feet - leave 3-4" stubble
> Yields 2-6 tons/acre in a 2-3 cut system in a 90-day growing season - with adequate water and temperatures
> Forage quality similar to Timothy.
> Protein content of Teff hay - 12-20% depending on maturity at cutting (15%-20% common when cut at boot stage)
> In Klamath Falls, Oregon planted end of May, up within a few days, a warm June and regular irrigation resulted in a heavy first cutting at the end of July. 3 tons /acre 13-14% protein level. After cutting, fertilized with Ammonium Sulfate and irrigated again. 2nd cutting taken 6 weeks later produced 3 ton/acre again.
Is Teff Hay Safe for Horses that are Intolerant of High-Sugar Forage? by Kathryn Watts, BS.
Teff: A New Warm-Season Annual Grass for Oregon Steve Norberg, Richard J. Roseberg, Brian Charlton, Clinton C. Shock from Oregon State University.
Teff Grass: A New Alternative by Dr. Don Miller, hosted by UC Davis.
2014 Summer Annual Grass Report by G.L. Olson, S.R. Smith, and G.D. Lacefield, Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky.