Teff: Teff, (Eragrostis tef), annual cereal grass (family Poaceae), grown for its tiny nutritious seeds. Teff is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is a staple food. Eragrostis tef is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen from September to. Comprehensive Description. The millet known as tef (Eragrostis tef) is a minor cereal crop on a global scale, but a major food grain in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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Eragrostis tef Zuccagni Trotter [ Poaceae ].

Tef Eragrostis tef Zuccagni Trotter is a dual purpose cereal, valued for both grain and forage production in dry areas with a short rainy season. Tef grain is a eragrosfis food in Ethiopia and tef straw, the main by-product of tef grain production, is a basal component of livestock diets in this country.

Since the late s, the recognition of tef as a gluten-free efagrostis of good nutritional value has resulted in new found interest, particularly in industrialised eravrostis Baye, Both tef grain and tef straw are described in separate datasheets. Tef is one of the fastest growing hay crops known, valued for its high yields and high quality. It is considered an emergency forage in drought prone areas Miller, ; FAO, The use of tef for forage began in the late 19 th century in South Africa during the Boer War, where it was used to feed horses and oxen NRC, Today, while rarely grown specifically for forage in Ethiopia, tef is cultivated for hay in other countries, notably South Africa, Australia and the USA Baye, Tef is an annual, leafy, tufted grass that reaches a height of cm at maturity.

The culms are fine, erect, simple or sparsely branched, prone to lodging. The root system is shallow and fibrous. Tef is a leafy species. Its leaves are glabrous, linear, cm long x 0.

The seed head is a long panicle, cm in length, bearing slender racemes, which may be either very loose or very compact.

Panicles bear spikelets. Fruits are ellipsoid, minute Tef forage, as pasture, hay or silage, is a highly valued forage, known since the late 19th century for its palatability, high nutritive value, high yield, rapid growth, drought resistance and ability to smother weeds Seyfu Ketema, Tef may also be used as an ornamental grass Tefera et al.

Two ecotypes of tef are cultivated in Ethiopia. The Hagaiz type has white seeds, matures slowly daysmakes higher demands on soil and cannot be grown above an altitude of m. The Tseddia type has brown seeds, matures early 90 dayscan be grown above m and is superior for fodder production NRC, In the USA, tef is subjected to breeding programmes in order to improve frost tolerance.

While primarily fed to horses in this country, tef forage also shows potential for all classes of ruminants Miller, Tef is thought to have originated in Ethiopia, where it started to be used as a food grain between and BCE. It is mainly cultivated in its native range Ethiopia and the highlands of Eritrea and in neighbouring Northern Kenya. In the tropics, tef is particularly suited for altitudes ranging from m, but it can grow from sea level up to an altitude of m.

In Ethiopia, tef grows where annual rainfall ranges between mm, with about mm during the growing season Tefera et al.

Tef cannot withstand more than 2 mm rainfall. However, tef can adapt to growing conditions ranging from drought to waterlogging, and is able to withstand wet conditions, perhaps better than any cereal other than rice. Tef is mainly grown on sandy loams, but it can grow on black, heavy clay soils black cotton soils provided they are well drained and have sufficient N. Neutral or slightly acidic soils are preferred Tefera et al.


Tef can withstand as much or more salinity than alfalfa Miller, A C4 plant, tef makes efficient use of water and heat. It can grow in areas prone to drought after short rains Tefera et al. There have been many attempts since the midth century to introduce tef into the Americas, Asia, Australia and the Middle-East.

Initially tef cultivation only took off in South Africa, where it was the main hay crop as early as Kassier, However, since the late 20th century, tef has been grown in South Africa, the USA, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Yemen for small-scale production of gluten-free grain.

Its potential for forage production has been investigated and resulted in ergarostis production of several new improved forage-types in recent years.

In the USAha of tef were harvested in Miller, Tef is propagated through seeds and should be used in sole cropping systems as it does not withstand intercropping Ecocrop, In Ethiopia, tef is commonly grown in rotation with cereals, pulses and niger Tefera et al. Tef requires a weeded, well-prepared, firm seed-bed. It must be regularly weeded.

N fertilizer should be provided in small amounts, or tef should be sown after an N-legume in order to reduce the risk of lodging. Tef requires little care after establishment. Its rapid growth outcompetes weeds. It is subject to few diseases and pest attacks.

In Yemen, it is considered a “lazy man’s crop” as it does not ted any care between sowing after flash flooding and harvesting NRC, The major limitation of tef in terms of forage production is lodging, particularly when the plant reaches the flowering stage, or when high rainfall and strong winds occur at maturity. Excessive nitrogen fertilisation also encourages lodging.

Lodged tef grass is very difficult to cut, and wastage occurs Kassier, Tef is known as an emergency crop: Farmers can still sow tef when their other crops are failing.

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Then it can be cut several times during the hot summer months to provide forage during the feed gap, or it can be stored for further use during winter. Tef can also be sown to provide forage after a wheat crop has been harvested Miller, Tef forage is easy and cheap to eragrotis, and quick to harvest.

Tef grows best when it is sown in pure stands. However, though tef does not do as well in mixture with other forage new plantings, it can be intersown into old alfalfa stands to enhance forage production Miller, In Ethiopia, when tef is intended for hay, it can be harvested weeks after sowing Tefera et al.

In the USA, tef is cut at the early boot stage, between 45 and 55 days after sowing. Tef may be cut once or several times, a second cut being done only days after the first one so that seed head formation is avoided Miller, Tef forage is generally used to make hay but eragrosstis can also be grazed or ensiled Miller, In Ethiopia, tef was reported to yield In South Africa, yields of 3.

Tef can serve as temporary ground cover.

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Its very fast germination and fibrous root system development make it an excellent choice for erosion control Miller, In South Africa, it could be used as a “nurse crop”, quickly covering the ground and fostering the establishment of perennial grasses sown along with it. It has been used in mixtures to protect road cuts, open-cast mine workings, stream banks, and other erodible sites NRC, Tef may be a valuable rotation break in perennial grass pasture or in old alfalfa stands.

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Its fast-growing habit makes it aggressive to weeds. In Ethiopia, tef is often used to reduce weed pressure in successive crops Miller, The nutritive value of tef hay, though highly variable, can be quite high when cut young. In a survey of 4 cultivars in Oregon, USA, tef forage cut at seed-head emergence had a protein content averaging Quality decreases rapidly after the boot stage: A reduction with increasing maturity from This reflects the general leafiness of tef, which is often compared to timothy grass Phleum pratense in the USA Miller, No antinutritional factors or toxic compounds, such as nitrates or hydrogen cyanide, generally associated with other annual summer species, have been reported in tef forage.

Tef (Eragrostis tef) hay | Feedipedia

Tef hay quality is reported to be so high that South African farmers prefer it over all other hays for feeding their dairy cattle, sheep, and horses NRC, In the USA, tef hay is considered a premium quality hay for horses, dairy and beef cattle, and also sheep Miller, While there has been the conception that tef is not suitable for grazing purposes, dairy farmers in South Africa have been utilizing tef as a grazing pasture for the late summer and early autumn period, in order to fill the gap between successive ryegrass Lolium multiflorum pastures Kassier, Tef hay has a high palatability.

In Utah, USA, rations containing either alfalfa or tef hay were calculated to meet the requirements of 12 growing beef steers and 12 dairy heifers.

Tef hay based rations resulted in higher DM intake than alfalfa hay based diet in both steers and heifers. Tef hay had no effect on the growth of the steers but DWG of the heifers increased significantly.

Genetic diversity in tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]

Tef hay was assessed as cost effective for beef steers and heifers Young, These results were in line with the observation that tef hay meets the requirements of growing heifers if they are supplemented with grain Lindquist, Tef hay was also reported to meet the requirements of dry cows Lindquist, Varieties of tef forage with a relatively low copper content are available, making it a suitable forage for sheep Miller, No publications are available in the international literature regarding tef straw in rabbit feeding as of Because tef straw is widely used in ruminant feeding as the main feed, it should be safe to feed to rabbits.

Tef hay is a low protein forage with a very high NDF content, which resembles tef straw rather than legume hays. The calculated digestible energy is 7. Tef hay eragristis be considered as a low energy and low protein forage, and mainly as a source of fibre. Tef hay is widely used as a source of roughage for horses in South Africa Niekerk et al. Early-heading tef hay offered the best balance between providing a palatable and digestible nutrient source for the horse and a productive forage crop Staniar et erwgrostis.

According to their owners, horses stayed healthier and maintained the proper stage of body condition when fed tef hay Lindquist, Tef hay cut at an early stage of maturity was reported to be as palatable similar voluntary intake as timothy in eragrstis, provided the animals could get used to it or had no choice McCown et al. Horses fed on tef hay based diets had a lower crude protein CP intake than horses fed on alfalfa hay.