January 2015

January 2015

Let’s Talk Teff

First things first - if you want teff this year, you need to act soon! There’s not much left until new crop. That said, if you aren’t familiar with teff, here’s a bit of information about it: Teff, or Eragrostis tef, is an annual grass out of the lovegrass family. Native to Ethiopia, teff is an important food grain similar to millet, except it is a much smaller seed - 1.3 million seeds/lb.! This small seed size has numerous benefits on the food side. First of all, it cooks up faster, thus can be converted to food (such as flatbread) with less fuel. Second, a small amount of seed can sow a large area, making it easier to store and transport. Third, it is highly nutritious. Some refer to it as a “super-food.” Teff has some other unique characteristics. It performs very well in both waterlogged soils and in droughty conditions. Teff is also said to be disease free. Can you see why teff is so important on the other side of the world?

Over the past decade, the interest in using teff for forage has steadily increased with a number of varieties being added to the market. As a grass, it functions as warm-season annual that can be harvested multiple times and used as hay or silage. Compared to other warm-season grasses, teff has the ability to produce both high tonnage (4-8 tons/acre) and high quality forage (similar to timothy) throughout the summer months. Its also endophyte free and especially desirable by horses. Teff hay can be a sought after commodity, especially for horses.

Like many good things, teff has its challenges, mostly related to establishment. Teff needs to be planted no deeper than 1/4” on a firm bed when soil temperatures rise above 65° F. Too early, too deep, too fluffy of soil - all can lead to establishment failure. Also, cutting it too short will reduces its ability to regrow.

There’s much more to know about teff, but for now, make sure you have enough purchased for this spring planting! We carry a medium maturity variety called Corvallis. Contact us soon for pricing and availability.

Medium Red Clover

Deep rooted in many ways

Red clover is one of the oldest true clovers. It originated in Asia Minor and southeastern Europe, spreading easily as an important crop throughout Europe, England, and then North America. As an outward sign of this historical spread, its flower is the national flower of Denmark and the state flower of Vermont

In North America, red clovers are grouped by flowering type as follows: early flowering, known as “medium red”, and late flowering, known as “mammoth” or “single-cut”. Medium red types are known for producing 2-3 hay crops per year, are normally biennial or demonstrate a short-lived perennial growth habit. In the lower South, they generally acts as an annual. The late flowering mammoth types are nicknamed “single-cut” because they produces only one major hay crop per year.

Like many legumes, red clover has other non-forage uses, including use as herbal tea with possible medicinal qualities. Red clover’s primary uses are for hay, grazing, weed suppression, and soil building. Its extensive root system and deep tap root can penetrate multiple feet, providing access to nutrients and moisture over other more shallow-rooted clovers. This allows it to grow when others shallow rooted clovers can’t access nutrients or water.

Red clover can produce up to 4 tons DM/A and fix up to 150 lb. N/A. In order to achieve optimal nitrogen fixation ability, crimson clover needs to be inoculated with Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii. This is best achieved with Nitro-Coat®. Visit SmithSeed.com to learn more about red clover, other clovers, and Nitro-Coat®.