Using the BioIntensive Technique of Intercropping Teff (Eragrostis tef) into Timothy to Improve the Economic Sustainability of Timothy
CSANR Project 121
This proposal addresses the 2013 BioAg’s priority area of livestock by addressing their challenge of livestock feed costs and quality which is critical to their sustainability. Prices of hay in Washington have increased dramatically, and all types of hay in Washington excluding alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) increased 33% from 2007 to 2011 and alfalfa hay price increased by 47%. Timothy (Phleum pratense L.) is one of the largest hay crops in Washington and is used exclusively for livestock. Stands of timothy are often taken out of production after the first harvest of hay due to higher profitability potential by growing grain crops. Timothy profitability could be increased by increasing productivity during the summer months. This project is an interdisciplinary approach to increase hay productivity during the summer months by intercropping with a warm season annual grass called teff [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Our project’s central theme is to conduct and disseminate hay production, quality and economic research on timothy, a perennial cool season grass, teff, an annual warm season crop, and the intercropping of the two grasses to promote sustainability of hay production. Washington State Hay Growers Association has already funded a portion of this work. This proposal would quantify how intercropping timothy with teff affects hay quality and digestibility, and a precise estimate of N fertilizer uptake. This grant will also partially support a graduate student. Our proposal will promote a sustainable management system using the BioAg Intensive practice of intercropping using the disciplines of forages, soil science, animal nutrition and economics.