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My teff grass


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First year growing teff grass for me. I wanted something that would yield good for baleage for cow feed, but not have to cut it 4 times like sudan grass.  I learned a couple things not to do, but overall I am happy with first cutting. Some red heads for your pleasure as well. On second thought I'll have to get more of the reds tonight as I'm finishing first cut. I'll add them later 

This can and should be a little heavier but mother nature didn't cooperate until 3 weeks after it was planted. Ill take what she gives me. 

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Tell more about teft grass.  How many cuttings will you make this year?  Is this an annual or perennial?  What do you follow it with?

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12 hours ago, hobbyfarm said:

Tell more about teft grass.  How many cuttings will you make this year?  Is this an annual or perennial?  What do you follow it with?

Should get 3 cuts. Some claim 4 but that's fairly unrealistic. I didn't get this planted until June 1st. Ground needs to be 60* ish and after last chance of frost. The seed is tiny, smaller than clover so drilling is tough. It needs to be planted shallow (1/4") , most guys have poor results in no till.   Really need either a brillion seeder or broadcaster.  Ground has to be packed tight. 2 passes with a cultipacker before plant. Then I rolled the seed in with cultipacker.  The frost will kill it dead. It's a very fine blade of grass, subject to lodging by over fertilizing. Doesn't need much fertilizer or rain to grow. Seems to be slow to grow up to about 6" and then blows up. Supposed to recut every 30-50 days depending. I will probably follow with winter wheat and rye. 

This what you want to know??

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I was told that you need to cut it when its fairly short? There are a couple guys up around Sandhiller who planted it a few years. Seed got so expensive I think they gave up. Up there they could only get one cut then graze whatever came back after it froze. I fed a few bales to horses and fat cattle. Excellent feed!!

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11 minutes ago, Lazy WP said:

I was told that you need to cut it when its fairly short? There are a couple guys up around Sandhiller who planted it a few years. Seed got so expensive I think they gave up. Up there they could only get one cut then graze whatever came back after it froze. I fed a few bales to horses and fat cattle. Excellent feed!!

Its darn expensive. But you only plant 10lbs/ acre give or take. So a bag may run $180 but it plants 5 acres. ?‍♂️  shouldn't be that high but try planting corn.  I'm not sure on height. I think it only gets about 30" high but it's so lousy think the discbine has trouble.  My ground is hill ground, meaning not the best, clay, dry. So it's no surprise everything I plant is mediocre. I'm getting it in better health year by year though. I have much more suitable places however this is 10' from the barn, and ground I own. 

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A few years ago teff was big here, it was planted after wheat. Got excelent stands no tilling it. August rains determined the yield of the 1 cutting which was usually pretty light. Due to the price of teff seed, typical low moisture of August, and time for only 1 cut oats are preferred over teff now as the "after wheat crop" here. Rarely would the teff get as big as yours is. Definately better as a primary crop than a 2nd crop 

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22 minutes ago, 1480x3 said:

A few years ago teff was big here, it was planted after wheat. Got excelent stands no tilling it. August rains determined the yield of the 1 cutting which was usually pretty light. Due to the price of teff seed, typical low moisture of August, and time for only 1 cut oats are preferred over teff now as the "after wheat crop" here. Rarely would the teff get as big as yours is. Definately better as a primary crop than a 2nd crop 

I can see that. Here after I bale the wheat/rye in may I slam it in behind it. My soil doesn't do well with no till. I've tried several times. The last 3 years was all hybrid sorghum Sudan and it did well. The issue is that I can't stand the waste with the stalks feeding cows free choice. I've tried different hybrids that are bred to have smaller stalks, and it's better. 

We will see.  This was strictly a trial. 8 acres made 40 silage bales 54" tall weighing close to 2k each. I wouldn't say it did spectacular but I'm happy 

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Other thing they told me was it needs lots of fertilizer. Sudan can and will suck every available nutrient from the soil. 
Teff likes lots of nitrogen. 

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1 hour ago, Lazy WP said:

Other thing they told me was it needs lots of fertilizer. Sudan can and will suck every available nutrient from the soil. 
Teff likes lots of nitrogen. 

I read just the opposite. That causes it to lodge and then it's awful hard to do anything with.  Several guys said to spoon feed it. Top dress after each cut for optimal stand.  I put down about 50lbs N available. And it was layed down several places. Dont think I'll push it any harder than that. I realize weather plays a role too. Like I said it's my first time so learning here as well

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3 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

I can see that. Here after I bale the wheat/rye in may I slam it in behind it. My soil doesn't do well with no till. I've tried several times. The last 3 years was all hybrid sorghum Sudan and it did well. The issue is that I can't stand the waste with the stalks feeding cows free choice. I've tried different hybrids that are bred to have smaller stalks, and it's better. 

We will see.  This was strictly a trial. 8 acres made 40 silage bales 54" tall weighing close to 2k each. I wouldn't say it did spectacular but I'm happy 

Seems like pretty good yield to me.  Fertility is definitely a long term plan. Would a rotocutter on the baler help with the stems on the sorgum?

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1 hour ago, hobbyfarm said:

Seems like pretty good yield to me.  Fertility is definitely a long term plan. Would a rotocutter on the baler help with the stems on the sorgum?

Absolutely I think it would. Sadly I dont have one. Maybe the next one will. Currently I run a massey (hesston) 2846a. It allows me to build anything up to 6' tall.  This way my dry hay I build them 4x6 and they can weigh over 1600lbs.  I would say a better average is about 1400 for most crops. I've had them anywhere from 1280-1650.  Anyway the crop cutter I think would help. The cows like the leaves so much they just drop the stems to get more leaves until your left with a pile of stems. I've never cut it over about 40" tall either trying to avoid that. It would probably chop real nice but that defeats my purpose of wanting to bale silage hay 

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I see this alot from you mid-west guys.  We would never wait till heads to cut grass.  We grow fescue/orchards and some winter wheat/Italian rye for covers.  It always seems in your photos your regions wait till heads then cut.  What is the reasoning there?  You dont want the high P for beef cattle?  Or wait for tonnage more impt?

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3 hours ago, TroyDairy said:

I sede this alot from you mid-west guys.  We would never wait till heads to cut grass.  We grow fescue/orchards and some winter wheat/Italian rye for covers.  It always seems in you photos your regions wait till heads then cut.  What is the reasoning there?  You dont want the high P for beef cattle?  Or wait for tonnage more impt?

Can't speak for the midwest, but we can't get weather to put up dry hay until the cool season grasses have headed.  Not ideal, and if we ever get hay weather in April or early May to avoid this, we use it.  But most years you can't put up dry hay until mid-May at the very earliest.  By then, cool season grasses have headed out.

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4 hours ago, TroyDairy said:

I sede this alot from you mid-west guys.  We would never wait till heads to cut grass.  We grow fescue/orchards and some winter wheat/Italian rye for covers.  It always seems in you photos your regions wait till heads then cut.  What is the reasoning there?  You dont want the high P for beef cattle?  Or wait for tonnage more impt?

Little of both. Actually the teff isn't headed out it's the volunteer foxtail that is. No sense in trying to get rid of it In silage. Here fescue is always baled after it heads out but shooting for before it starts going to seed. Since we silage bale we are earlier than anyone dry baling by weeks. Spring rain showers dont permit it until last week of may or so about every year on dry hay. 

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No dry hay here until at least end of May.  The weather just doesn't allow.  Very similar to what the other guys are saying.

I do know at least one beef guy that will allow it to push heads a bit for the tonnage.  Usually though I think it is just the weather.

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55 minutes ago, Missouri Mule said:

Little of both. Actually the teff isn't headed out it's the volunteer foxtail that is. No sense in trying to get rid of it In silage. Here fescue is always baled after it heads out but shooting for before it starts going to seed. Since we silage bale we are earlier than anyone dry baling by weeks. Spring rain showers dont permit it until last week of may or so about every year on dry hay. 

Your climate sounds very similar to ours.  Surprised you have foxtail and we dont.  I'm sure it is coming here but no signs yet.

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11 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

Growing up I've never heard of anyone pushing to get the fescue up before it headed out. Dont think it's possible here really 

Interesting.  Here its regarded if fescue heads its basically filler.  I see the main thing.  Almost no one hays here.  Few small beef/horse fellas but 90% of grass is silage.  Even beef guys make baleage marshmallows.  So 48hr is about what you need in spring and 24 in summer to get dry enough to put up.   1st cut late April/early May and aim for 6 total cuttings.  1st week of OCT is max and then you just make black silage junk.  We are going to push this (4th) 5 weeks instead of 30 days so then the last will be 6=7 weeks in the 20s of sept hopefully.  So dry even what we irrigate (all) is struggling that pushing for a 6th wont be worth the fuel to harvest.

Fwiw rarely can you make dry hay here till after june 20th.  Last year would of been 7th of july.  Why alot of baleage nowdays.

Good info!

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