What Is Teff Grass And What Makes It Different From Other Forages?
Teff’s origin is thought to be Ethiopia, where it emerged as a grain crop for human consumption sometime between 4000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. Teff in the USA is grown primarily as a forage crop for livestock, is adaptable and it can grow in various environments.
It is a fine stemmed, fast growing, high yielding, summer annual grass. But what really makes Teff Grass unique and exciting is its nutrient content. Teff is a “C4 Warm Season” grass with a moderate protein and calorie content, but with a low sugar/starch content.
Teff is an ideal forage and hay crop due to several factors –
- Palatability - Teff is fine stemmed, leafy and “soft” which is very palatable to horses.
- Low Sugar Solution - The high fiber, low sugar and starch content make this a rescue feed for horses suffering from many, and some debilitating, disease conditions.
- Anti-Nutritional Factors - Teff does not have the anti-nutritional compounds like nitrate toxicity and prussic acid that sometimes occur in other grasses (Ketema, 1997, Ketema, et al., 1993).
- Fast Growth - Under ideal growing temperatures and moisture, Teff germinates quickly and is ready for early harvest in 45 to 55 days after seeding.
- Wide Adaptation - Teff has the ability to thrive in moisture-stressed and waterlogged soils. In areas without irrigation, Teff can provide forage during times of drought.
- Versatility of Harvest - Although in most instances Teff forage is baled as dry hay, it can be grazed as well.
Teff Grass is a unique forage with many benefits for horses and their owners, along with those that grow it. Find a Store near you that offers Standlee Premium Teff Grass Pellets, for a consistent, high quality forage option! Give your local farm and ranch retail store a call to see if they’re carrying it or ask them to bring it into their inventory.
By Dr. Tania Cubitt
Standlee Nutritional Expert - Performance Horse Nutrition