What is Teff Hay?
Teff is a warm season grass native to Africa, with different varieties grown in Eastern Washington and Oregon, mainly for grain and hay production. Tropical grasses such as Teff are referred to as C4 grasses as they have an extra step in carbon fixing for photosynthesis. This different step in photosynthesis makes the sugar levels in C4 plants lower than C3 plants.
In terms of sugar, which we consider as simple carbohydrates (WSC, Water Soluble Carbohydrates), Teff hay are low in critical sugar level, having approximately half the WSC of ryegrass and other orchard grass hays. This makes Teff hay much more suitable for overweight horses prone to laminitis compared with grass hay, which tends to have a WSC level well above the recommended limit for sugar intake from roughage types (10g/100g).
Studies have shown that feeding Teff hay to horses can help them maintain or lose weight, due to the low sugar level in Teff hay, making it suitable for horses with weight issues, Insulin Resistance (IR) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). If you have a horse at risk of laminitis, teff hay is right for you!