Tef Eragrostis tef grain Description Tef Eragrostis tef Zuccagni Trotter is a dual purpose cereal, valued for both grain and forage production in dry areas with a short rainy season. Tef grain is a staple food in Ethiopia and tef straw, the main by-product of tef grain production, is a basal component of livestock diets in this country. Since the late s, the recognition of tef as a gluten-free cereal of good nutritional value has resulted in new found interest, particularly in industrialised countries Baye, Both tef grain and tef straw are described in separate datasheets. Tef is one of the fastest growing hay crops known, valued for its high yields and high quality. It is considered an emergency forage in drought prone areas Miller, ; FAO,
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Description[ edit ] Eragrostis tef is a self pollinated tetraploid  annual cereal grass. Its roots are shallow, but develop a massive fibrous rooting system. This property makes teff particularly suited to a seminomadic lifestyle. Genetic evidence points to E. Processed teff, namely the pancake injera , could still be exported  and was mainly bought by the Ethiopian diaspora living in northern Europe, the Middle East and North America. To ensure that the domestic production would not be minimized, the export licenses have only been granted to 48 commercial farmers which had not cultivated the plant before.
Finally, due to its high mineral content, teff is also mixed with soybeans , chickpeas or other grains to manufacture baby foods. It is daylight-sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight. Teff is usually cultivated on pH neutral soils, but it was noticed that it could sustain acidity up to a pH below 5. Teff has a C4 photosynthesis mechanism. The cultivation of teff is labor-intensive and the small size of its seeds makes it difficult to handle and transport them without loss.
It is known as an "emergency crop" because it is planted late in the season, when the temperatures are warmer, and most other crops have already been planted. The field can be subsequently rolled. Teff responds more to nitrogen than to phosphorus ; thus, high nitrogen inputs increase the biomass production and size of the plants, thereby increasing lodging. In Ethiopia, teff is commonly used in crop rotations with other cereals and legumes.
If teff is harvested past its maturation, seeds will fall off, especially in windy or rainy weather conditions. Farmers cut the plants at soil surface, pile them up in the field and transport them to the threshing area.
Alternatively, some farmers can rent threshing machines used for other cereals. Teff seeds can stay viable several years if direct contact with humidity and sun is avoided. One single inflorescence can produce up to seeds, and one plant up to 10 Efforts to conventionally breed teff towards higher yields started in the s and led to an average annual increase in yield of 0.
High-yielding varieties, such as Quencho, were widely adopted by farmers in Ethiopia.
See Article History Alternative Titles: Eragrostis abyssinica, Eragrostis tef, tef Teff, Eragrostis tef , sometimes spelled tef, annual cereal grass family Poaceae , grown for its tiny nutritious seeds. Teff is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea , where it is a staple food crop to millions of people. The shallow fibrous roots form a massive root system, and the plant is resistant to both drought and waterlogging. The self-pollinating flowers are borne in open panicles and produce seeds that range in colour from white to deep red-brown. Teff seeds are among the smallest of all cereal grains, usually measuring less than 1 mm 0. Teff is a labour-intensive crop and requires significant soil preparation to ensure even sowing and proper seed depth.