Seeding Rate: 45 Lbs. per acre / 1 Lb. per 1000 Sq.ft.
Seed Depth: 1/4 inch.
Planting Time: Spring or Fall
The vetches (plants of the genus Vicia) are distributed throughout the temperate zones of both hemispheres. There are about 150 species of vetch, several of which were of agricultural importance centuries ago. Some 25 species are native to the United States. However, the species in commercial use, including hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), are all native to Europe or western Asia.
Hairy vetch, also called sand vetch, is a moderately winter-hardy species. It is the only vetch species that can be fall-seeded and reach maturity the following July.
Hairy vetch is a legume used primarily for soil improvement along roadsides and for bank stabilization. Well-nodulated hairy vetch can enrich the soil with 60 to 120 lb/acre of nitrogen through nitrogen fixation. Later seeded vetch grown as a cover crop for green manure, will supply a smaller amount of N.
Vetches are also grown for pasture. They withstand trampling, provide grazing during May and June and have a feeding value slightly lower than that of clover and alfalfa. The protein content of vetch hay ranges from 12 to 20%, depending on the stage of development of the crop when cut.
Vetch is often grown with a small grain for forage; rye is generally used for this purpose in the Upper Midwest. The grain supports the weak stems of the vetch and reduces lodging. However, when grown together, vetch and rye make a hay that is fair in quality but tangles badly.
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