Teff (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter) fodder yield and quality as affected by cutting frequency
¹Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Crop Production, 75 Iera Odos Str., GR11855 Athens, Greece
²Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, 75 Iera Odos Str., GR11855 Athens, Greece
Teff (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter) is a well-adapted, fast-growing crop with competitive forage quality as its nutritive value for livestock fodder is similar to other grasses utilized as hay or ensiled feeds. Two field experiments were conducted from May to October 2017 in order to determine the effect of cutting frequency on yield and quality of teff (Eragrostis tef) as fodder crop under Mediterranean climatic conditions. The agronomic performance and nutritive value of teff was analyzed in order to define alternatives to local forages for animal feeding in the Mediterranean region. The experiments conducted at two sites (Western and Central Greece) were laid out in a completely randomized design with three replicates and three cutting frequencies (10, 20, 30 days’ interval between cuttings – F10, F20, and F30, respectively). The results of this study demonstrate that the cutting interval has a marked effect on the fodder yield and quality. The highest total dry matter yield (6,322–6,778 kg ha-1) was found in F10 treatment. In terms of qualitative characteristics, the highest fat levels and lowest ADF levels was found in F30 treatment, the highest protein levels and the lowest NDF levels in F10 treatment, and the highest levels of fibrous substances, ADF and NDF, in F20 treatment. Data suggest that teff could be successfully integrated into Mediterannean grasslands with the prospect for improving their nutritional quality and the possibility for increasing protein yield through the application of frequent cuttings.