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Blacksburg, Virginia - Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia - Virginia Tech

Figure 2-3. Teff

Figure 2-3. Teff inter-seeded into tall fescue pasture in West Virginia, 2010. Productivity and Nutritive Value Teff is growing in popularity as a forage crop not only because of its drought resistance and quick emergence, but also because it is a good quality hay crop. When harvested at vegetative/early boot stages and adequate N is supplied, crude protein of the teff is generally between 15 and 16 % on dry mater basis (Hunter et al., 2007) (Table 2-2). The nutritive value of teff (crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF)) for livestock has been reported to be similar to most grasses used as hay or silage/haylage (Table 2- 2). Teff is also high in amino acids and iron content (Gressel, 2008). A wide range of biomass yield has been reported throughout the teff growing states. 13

Table 2-2. Sample yield and quality data throughout the United States. Biomass References yield Mg hectare -1 Nutritive value Crude Protein g kg -1 NDF g kg -1 ADF g kg -1 California (Hunter et al., 2007) 5.6 – 6.5 --- --- --- Missippi (Lemus, 2009) 8.8 160-170 570 – 600 --- Montana (Hunter et al., 2007) 0.5 – 3.2 96-137 --- --- Nevada (Davison, 2006) 3.5-2.8 162 637 347 New York (Hunter et al., 2007) 3.9 - 4.9 150 – 160 607 --- 362 - Oregon (Norberg et al., 2009) 4.0 - 6.0 110-130 601 - 620 428 Pennsylvania (Hall, 2007) South Dakota (Twidwell et al. 4.6 - 6.9 --- --- --- 2002) 1.3 - 5.3 107 - 174 --- --- Virginia (Newman et al., 2010) 2.2 – 3.4 91 - 168 --- --- Wisconsin (Hunter et al., 2007) 5.8 - 6.7 --- --- --- Conclusions Summary and Conclusion Incorporating warm-season grasses into a cool season forage system offers a low cost alternative, because less hay would need to be fed during the hottest part of summer. The main benefit of incorporating these forages into a system is that warm-season annual grasses are most productive during hot weather and can provide badly needed forage during times of water deficit. Teff is an annual warm-season grass from Ethiopia that has potential to help fulfill this need. Teff has several advantages that make it a viable alternative over other summer annual forages, including its ability to thrive both in moisture-stressed and waterlogged soils, and its lack of anti- quality compounds as found in sorghum-related annuals. However, because it is an annual crop, production costs will be higher compared to use of perennial forage. During extremely dry summers such as 2007, a crop such as teff might make the difference between financial success and disaster. 14

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