selected one lot for a racing stable. Rumor has it that the stable owner found his racers eating their bedding in preference to their feed! To his surprise they also began to put on condition. Then he bought up all the tef on the market and called for more. Others soon got wind of this and the price rose. Tef was accepted and became a fodder of notable importance to the Transvaal in the early twentieth century. (For instance, during the Boer War it probably fed the horses on both sides.)
"Tef has raised scores of small Transvaal farmers from poverty to comparative comfort, and has been largely instrumental in putting the dairy industry of the Witwatersrand on its feet," wrote Joseph Burtt Davy in the Kew Bulletin of 1913. "The opinion has been expressed by our farmers that 'if the Division of Botany of the Department of Agriculture had done nothing else, the introduction and establishment of tef as a farm-crop would have more than paid South Africa the whole cost of the Division for the ten years of its existence.' "
In the Transvaal, as well as in other parts of South Africa, tef is often sown with its relative, weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). This perennial has been developed in South Africa into an almost incredible array of types for land protection and reclamation purposes. It is providing outstanding erosion control on toxic, dry, degraded, and infertile slag heaps and other problem sites where nothing previously would grow. As an erosion-fighting plant, weeping lovegrass is better than tef because it is a perennial whose natural staying power keeps the land covered as the seasons go by. But while tef may not be good at such a ''long-distance event," it is very good as a "sprinter." Thus tef is used to produce a fast cover that protects the site while its slower cousin is finding its legs.