Growing teff, a warm-season annual grass, under irrigation is not only feasible but often a desirable option to conventional cool-season grass and alfalfa hay in the West. That’s what research instigated by Jay Davison, University of Nevada Extension crop specialist, has found.
The crop can produce more than 5 tons/acre under adequate irrigation and fertilization. Yield and quality are highest under multicut systems, requiring about 50 days between harvests when cut to a 3” or more stubble height. Teff responds well to 50-60 lbs of actual nitrogen (N) at seeding and after each cutting. But total N applications of more than 100 lbs/acre are seldom economical.
The hay is desired by horse owners who want low non-structural carbohydrate forages for animals with forage-related metabolic disorders or that are overweight.
“Teff hay also fills a niche for producers needing a summer-annual crop that can be produced in short-water years and in a relatively short time frame,” the research shows.