Development and characteristics of accessions of Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter in the South Dobrudja

H. Stoyanov
Abstract. Abyssinian teff (Eragrostis tef) is a subtropical cereal and forage crop grown primarily in Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Africa, and limited in the southern United States of America. Demand for alternative crops to diversify grain production puts this crop as potentially more promising for areas with arid climate and possible heavy summer rainfall such as South Dobrudja. To determine the suitability of Abyssinian teff under the conditions of South Dobrudja three samples of the crop were studied. Productive and maximum tillering, formed panicle length, panicle fertility of the whole and its parts, depending on the period and conditions during the flowering are observed. The weight of seeds per panicle, weight of 1000 seeds and the yield are determined. Under the specific environmental conditions only one of the studied accessions successfully reached the above mentioned average yield of the crop (1650kg/ha), despite the little precipitation during vegetation – 295 mm. Its productive tillering is high – 6-8-10 (3-4 productive tillers per plant for other accessions). The length of panicle averaged 43 cm, and the number of individual branches was between 25 and 30. The weight of seeds in the panicle averaged approximately 1g, and the weight of 1000 seeds averaged 0.36g, which is above average for the crop. High yield potential of Abyssinian teff was negatively influenced by a combination of heavy rainfall with winds which leads to strong plant lodging. The average fertility of the panicle is 71%, varying between 23 to 88% and fertility decreases upward to the top of the panicle. Flowering starts from the top downward to the base of the panicle, and this determines the negative impact of environmental factors in early flowering. The average number of florets in the spikelet is 4 and the average number of spikelets in the panicle is 1000. A large number of spikelets with more fertile florets are formed in the middle of the panicle. In the other two accessions panicles are small, loose, with few spikelets and low fertility. Despite some of its negative properties Abyssinian teff emerged as a promising crop, which requires exhaustive studies of its suitability to the conditions of the country.