Water-Smart Crop

Amanda Froemming |
05. 24. 2023

Teff in a dry climate

As climate change continues to present an ever-increasing threat to agriculture worldwide, teff has potential to withstand drought conditions and provide sustainable farming solutions for the future. Teff, Eragrostis tef, is a unique grain recognized for its high nutrient content, resilience to harsh weather conditions, and notably, its ability to thrive with significantly less water than many common crops. Consequently, it could be an excellent crop choice for farmers in the Western USA, a region often facing water scarcity.

teff field

In the Western United States, teff’s minimal water needs could serve as a sustainable solution to agricultural challenges. The ability of teff to flourish with less rainfall and irrigation can help conserve water resources while maintaining crop yields. Teff is unlike many other crops in that it can still produce a crop under water shortage, even if the yield is reduced. Many other crops will not produce much of any quality harvest if they are forced to grow under dry conditions.

With the rising demand for nutritious, gluten-free foods, teff presents a valuable economic opportunity for farmers. The crop has a relatively short growing season (around 12 weeks)and also requires less inputs than other crops, saving farmers money on things like fertilizers.

While the benefits of teff are promising, there are still challenges to consider. Teff is a small grain, which makes it harder to handle and process than larger cereal grains. It also has a propensity to shatter or break during harvesting if not managed carefully. Transitioning to teff farming has a learning curve for farmers. However, the Teff Company works closely with growers to learn how to best grow teff and produce a quality crop. The Teff Company agriculture team visits growers multiple times in the growing season to assess progress and help growers troubleshoot problems.

As climate change continues to intensify, creating a future of unpredictable weather patterns and reduced water availability, the need for resilient and water-efficient crops like teff becomes increasingly apparent. Teff holds immense potential for contributing to sustainable agriculture in the Western United States, offering a way to maintain agricultural productivity and profitability in a changing climate, while conserving precious water resources.


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