Cover Crop Category Image

Hairy and Common Vetch

Cover Crop

Vetch is a high-yielding winter annual legume used for forage, cover-cropping, wildlife and pollinator habitat.

Nitrogen producer.

Vetch, familiarly divided into common (Vicia sativa L) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa).  Common vetch is less winter-hardy than hairy vetch.  Both are significant producer of nitrogen, especially for crops planted late in the spring. This makes it very attractive to organic growers. Another trait of vetch is that it lowers the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in mixes with cereal grains. This quickens the process of decomposition.

Spring growth.

Vetch's growth is slow in the fall, but significant in the spring.

Coating for optimal performance.

Coated vetch is also an option to consider, especially for aerial seeding. The coating improves ballistics, better seed-to-soil contact, maintains inoculation, and increases moisture wicking of the seed. Coated seed can help ensure a more even germination over the whole field. Read the Advantages of Coated Grasses and Legume Seed for Cover Crops to learn why coating and proper inoculation can help ensure successful cover cropping.

Planting Information

Seeding Rate15–40 lbs./ac
Planting Datesfall
Planting Zones (map)green
Planting Depth1/4–1.5"
Optimal pH Range5.0–7.0
map of vetch planting area