A pioneer species that will remain green longer than common vetch, hairy vetch will proliferate quickly during spring months. Flowering and seeding occur late in the season, and it can be used as fodder, grazed, or cut for hay/silage. Although hairy vetch needs a relatively weed-free seedbed, it does exhibit some allelopathic properties that will result in weed reduction. Only moderately palatable, dairy cows grazed on hairy vetch produced similar amounts of milk to those grazing Persian clover despite lower organic matter digestibility (74% vs. 78%) and sugar content (8.6% vs. 13.6%). Unlike clovers, hairy vetch will not cause bloat. Even with dry matter production less than that of other cool-season annual legumes, the plant will dependably produce with little trouble. When grown for a full season, hairy vetch can contribute between 40 – 200 lb/A of N to soils. Able to withstand trampling, hairy vetch will provide spring grazing and have a feed value slightly lower than clover or alfalfa. Hairy vetch is the most winter-hardy of the commercial vetches.
Plant row crops every 3 – 5 years to mitigate weeds forming in stands.
All information provided is the result of research, our own experience, or the experiences shared by our customers.
We strongly encourage consulting additional resources before planting to ensure the best fit for your location and needs.