Like many other warm season annuals, teff originates from Africa, where it has been grown extensively as a grain crop. In fact, teff grain is considered a staple of the Ethiopian diet. However, its use as a forage crop in the USA has been a relatively recent phenomenon. The use of teff as a forage crop in the Southeast is still being evaluated.
It is much finer-leaved and stemmed than most other warm season annual grasses, and often provides relatively high quality forage (RFQ exceeding 120, if harvested prior to the boot stage). In some northern states, teff yields have been about 90% of pearl millet and sorghum x sudan yields. In preliminary studies in Georgia, however, the forage productivity of teff has been less than 1/3 that of most other summer annual forages. Furthermore, teff has had very weak seedling vigor in studies performed in Athens. Consequently, weed competition has been very problematic. As a result, teff is not recommended as a forage crop in Georgia.
Dr. Dennis Hancock
Forage Extension Specialist
Crop & Soil Sciences Dept.