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Teff for Emergency Forage

Teff is a warm-season annual grass native to Ethiopia, where it is used as a grain crop for producing flour. In the Northeast, it is a very rapidly growing forage grass that can be grown as an emergency crop [FS-24, FS-46]. Teff requires warm soils and will not tolerate frost. Suggested seeding rate is 4-5 lbs/acre, with P and K fertilization similar to cool-season grasses. A firm seedbed is essential or the very small seed will be seeded too deep when seeded with a cultipacker-seeder. Teff is unusual in that it only requires 50 lbs N/acre, higher rates result in severe lodging. If soils are warm, teff can emerge in 3-4 days after sowing.

Teff should be harvested at a pre-boot to early-boot stage, which will occur 50-55 days after planting. It can be baled, ensiled or grazed. Seasonal yields (2-3 cuts) will be between 3 and 5 tons dry matter/acre. Teff will continue regrowing until the first frost, although growth rate slows considerably in the fall. Forage quality is moderate, with 15-16% CP and fiber digestibility around 70%.