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Standlee Barn Bulletin

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What Is Teff Grass And What Makes It Different From Other Forages?

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 –

  1. Palatability - Teff is fine stemmed, leafy and “soft” which is very palatable to horses.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Fast Growth - Under ideal growing temperatures and moisture, Teff germinates quickly and is ready for early harvest in 45 to 55 days after seeding.
  5. 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.
  6. 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


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