The emerging popularity of teff in the U.S. has been driven by the crop’s wide range of geographic adaptation, the ability to produce competitive yields with low inputs and superior forage quality versus other summer annual species. Here’s a powerful set of reasons to plant teff whenever there’s a need for lots of quality forage fast!
Teff fits forage needs from Southern New England down into Central Florida, all across the Midwest, Southeastern and Plains states, Intermountain West and the Southwest desert regions. Teff has performed well on moisture-short to waterlogged soils and thrives when irrigated.
Teff is planted in late spring after danger of frost has passed with multiple harvests during the hot summer months. The forage can be used as feed to bridge the normal summer slump of pastures or as stored forage for the coming winter feeding season.
Teff germinates quickly and is usually ready for first harvest at the early boot stage 45-55 days after planting. Subsequent cuttings are usually ready for harvest in 28-35 days, depending upon growing conditions and region grown.
High Yield Plus High Quality
Single harvest hay yields are often in the 1.5 to 2.5 tons per acre with quality comparable to other forages such as timothy. In multiple public and private trials, summer yields have ranged from 4 to 7 tons per acre of dry hay when planting improved forage type teff varieties.
Teff can be harvested as dry hay, silage or grazed. However, the prevalent harvest method is dry, baled hay.
Teff forage is fine stemmed, leafy and “soft” which is very palatable to livestock.
No Anti-quality Compounds
Teff forage does not have anti-quality compounds such as nitrates or prussic acid that are associated with other summer annual species.
It is thought that there were approximately 250,000 acres of teff in the U.S. during the 2009 crop year and slightly less for 2010. While the overall acres are growing, annual acres ebb and flow with the hay stocks, drought conditions and livestock numbers. The largest concentration of acres is in the Midwest, Central Plains and Southeastern states.