Bishop, C., Curtis, K., and Davison, J. 2008, Northwestern Nevada Teff Production Costs and Returns, 2008, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension


Sample costs and returns to establish and produce teff seed (and hay) under flood irrigation in Northwestern Nevada are presented in this publication (where inputs or outputs differ with regard to hay, quantities are shown in parenthesis). This publication is intended to be a guide used to make production decisions, determine potential returns, and prepare business and marketing plans. Practices described are based on the production practices considered typical for this crop and region, but may not apply to every situation. The “Your Farm” column in Tables 1 & 2 is provided for your use.

open land for farming


The following assumptions refer to Tables 1, 3, and 4, and reflect the typical costs and returns to establish and produce teff seed under flood irrigation in Northwestern Nevada. Typical costs and returns for teff hay are shown in Table 2. The practices described are not the recommendations of the University of Nevada, Reno, but rather the production practices and materials considered typical of a well-managed farm in the region, as determined by a producer panel in January 2008. Costs, materials and practices are not applicable to all situations because establishment and cultural practices vary among growers within the region.

Table 1: Northwestern Nevada Teff Production Costs & Returns – Seed, 60 acres, 2008

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Table 2: Western Nevada Teff Production Costs & Returns – Forage, 60 acres, 2008

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Table 3: Investment Summary

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Table 4: Monthly Cash Flow

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The representative farm consists of 62 acres of land on which 60 acres are cultivated for teff seed (or hay) production and 2 acres are used for owner housing, machine shop and roads. During the growing season the enterprise will produce one cutting (two cuttings) with total production at 1 ton of seed and 2.5 tons of chaff (5 tons of hay) per acre. The minimum land market value in 2008 was approximately $11,500.00 per acre for agricultural land in northwestern Nevada with water rights.

Land Preparation

The ground is ripped to break up the soil to improve water infiltration and fertilizer penetration. The field is then disked and floated to remove small high and low spots followed by a custom laser which will level the land. The cost for this combination of custom land preparation is $70.00 per acre.


In June, teff seed is custom planted by broadcast seeding at 2 pounds per acre (6 pounds for hay) at a cost of $16.00 per acre and then rolled with a culti-packer to ensure firm contact with the soil.

Production Cultural Practices and Material Inputs


Irrigation begins immediately after planting to establish the teff seedlings. Six inches of water is applied to fields via flood irrigation and continues through September. Irrigation costs shown in Tables 1 and 2 cover the per acre cost of water at $25.00 per acre foot, plus an administration fee of $50.00 per land parcel, which is assumed to be one parcel per every 50 acres. Also included is maintenance costs on ditches such as hauling dirt to fix wash-outs, broken head gates and machinery costs to weed the ditches are $600.00 annually. Total irrigation costs are $86.00 per acre.


After planting in June, fluid fertilizers are spread by broadcast spraying. For seed, commercial fertilizer with a nitrogen content of 32-0- 0, UN32* at $36.00/acre, is normally applied. (Fertilization of teff hay is by application of ammonia sulfate, 42 pounds/acre actual N.)


Pest Management

A variety of pest management methods are used depending on pest population cycles. Pest treatment will normally begin in March.


Herbicide commonly used is 2-4-D for broadleaf control at an average annual per-acre cost of $12.00.


There exists no primary insect threat to teff production. Therefore, insects are not an annual threat and there are no associated costs.


Gophers are the common vertebrate problem in teff stands. Rodenticide and/or trapping are common treatments, at an annual per-acre rate of $1.50.



Harvest occurs in September and consists of swathing, combining, baling, and pickup baling, all of which is usually contracted out at a combined cost of $120.00 per acre.


The owner/operator wage is based on an allowance to the owner/operator of $75.00 per acre.


Current utilities rates calculated using information from Nevada Power and Rates Base utility costs of $350 per month for the household were combined with costs of $7 per acre per year to allow for utilities for outbuildings and shops.


The 60 acre farm yields 60 tons of teff seed and 150 tons of chaff from one annual cutting (300 tons teff hay).


Returns are based on 2007 market prices across a range of seed quality levels. An estimated price of $0.38 per pound for clean seed and $100 ton for chaff was used to calculate returns ($180 ton teff hay). Returns will vary during the growing season due to market conditions.

Overhead and Capital Recovery Costs

Cash Overhead

Cash overhead consists of various cash expenses paid out during the year. These costs include property taxes, interest, office expenses, liability and property insurance, as well as investment/machinery repairs. A complete listing of farm investments and associated costs can be found in Table 3.

Interest on Operating Capital

Total operating capital is calculated based on 80 percent of total operating (variable) costs. The interest on operating capital is calculated at a rate of 6.5 percent for the four month production cycle.

Property Taxes

Property taxes in Nevada differ across counties. For the purposes of this publication, investment property taxes are calculated at 1 percent of the average asset value of the property.


Insurance on farm investments vary depending on the assets included and the amount of coverage. Property insurance provides coverage for property loss at .666 percent of the average asset value. Liability insurance covers accidents on the farm at an annual cost of $1,749.00, or a four month cost of $500.00. Insurance information provided by Kevin Ogan of Beauchamp & McSpadden, Inc.

Fuel and Lube

The fuel and lube for each piece of equipment is calculated at 8 percent of the purchase price.

Investment Repairs

Annual repairs on all farm investments or capital recovery items that require maintenance are calculated at 2 percent of the purchase price for buildings, improvements and equipment and 7 percent of the purchase price for machinery and vehicles.

Office & Travel

Office and travel costs are estimated at $3,000.00 for an average year. These expenses include office supplies, telephone service, Internet service, and travel expenses to educational seminars.

Pro-rated Expenses

Owner/operator labor, accounting and legal expenses, insurance, fuel and lube, maintenance, utilities, and office and travel expenses, have all been pro-rated to reflect the short seed-to-harvest season, only four months of the year for teff production.


Capital Recovery

Capital recovery costs are the annual depreciation (opportunity cost) of all farm investments. Capital recovery costs are calculated using straight line depreciation. Farm equipment may be purchased new or used, depending on producer panel preferences.

Salvage Value

Salvage value is 10 percent of the new purchase price, which is an estimate of the remaining value of an investment at the end of its useful life. The salvage value for land is the purchase price, as land does not normally depreciate.

Average Asset Value Computation

(Purchase Price + Salvage Value divided by 2)

Straight Line Depreciation Computation

(Purchase Price - Salvage Value divided by Useful Life)

*The information given herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Cooperative Extension is implied.


Davison, Jay (2006). Tef Demonstration Planting Results for 2005. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet #FS-06-58.

Land and Farm (2008). Current pricing for agricultural properties with water rights in northwestern Nevada.

Smathers, Robert (2007). The Costs of Owning and Operating Farm Machinery in the Pacific Northwest 2005. A Pacific Northwest Publication #346. University of Idaho, Washington State University, and Oregon State University.


Sample production costs and returns publications for significant agricultural products in various regions of Nevada are available online at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Web site at UNCE. For additional information, contact the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno at (775) 784-6701 or your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office.

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