Teff is considered a premium hay for a wide range of livestock including dairy, beef, sheep and horses. The soft forage is very palatable and readily consumed as dry hay, silage or pasture. It is similar to Timothy hay, with a crude protein content of 9-14%, and total digestibility of 55 – 64%. Teff is…
The forage quality is very similar to timothy hay at the various maturity stages as shown in the table below.
|Forage Quality of Timothy and Teff Grass Hay Compared|
|Quality Parameters||Timothy Hay||Teff Hay|
|% Crude Protein (CP)||8-14||9-14|
|Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF)||32-36||32-38|
|Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF)||53-59||53-65|
|Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN)||57-65||55-64|
Sweet smelling, highly palatable teff silage ready for the TMR
Producers who plan to feed their teff to lactating cows should pay special attention to harvest maturity. Like other grasses and legumes, teff’s forage quality decreases with maturity. Harvest just before heading to maximize Relative Feed Quality (RFQ) and milk per ton. High quality teff hay normally has a range from 100 to 125 RFQ. Animals prefer teff to other forages so teff is best fed in a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) to deter bunk-sorting. Most nutritionists will find teff easy to fit into the ration with the results of a good feed test and an adequate forage inventory.
No prussic acid or other known livestock health or safety concerns.
Teff can be fed as dry hay to over-wintering beef cows or rotationally grazed by lactating cows during the summer slump period. For cattle on feed, follow the dairy suggestions above.
Sheep and Goats
A palatable forage that can be utilized as stored feed or rotationally grazed. Avoid over-grazing which will slow recovery and stand persistence.
Discerning horse owners prefer teff hay for their animals and often pay a premium to their hay providers.
A preferred forage for horses with relatively low non-structural carbohydrates. Teff hay is high in calcium as well as phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium and thiamine and adequate potassium levels.