Hairy Vetch Fixes Nitrogen & Provides Spring Forage for Livestock‚Äč

A widely adapted, nitrogen producing legume that's great for temperate and subtropical regions.


Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) is a good cover crop choice where spring forage production and nitrogen contribution are desired. Though fall-planted hairy vetch may not have evident top growth, strong root development continues over the winter. Growth accelerates in the spring when plants can reach 12 feet in length. This viny growth can be very beneficial, as it smothers weeds and is a great nitrogen contributor; however, it can also be a challenge, as it is sometimes difficult to manage with hay cutting equipment.

Most hairy vetch varieties are early maturing. Close attention to flowering is required since this species is hard-seeded and has the potential to become a weed. Pods quickly split, scattering seed, when they dry down.

Nitrogen Icon

Nitrogen Fixation

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Erosion Control

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Weed Control

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Compacted Soils

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Nutrient Recycling

Water Management Icon

Water Infiltration

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Quick Growth

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Quality Forage

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Nematode Control

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Beneficial Insectary

key benefit
Root Structure
Carbon Ratio
Seeds Per Pound
Tap Root
5.0 – 7.0

Planting Instructions:

Seeding Rate:
15-20 lbs./acre (monoculture)
10-15 lbs./acre (in mixes)
25-30 lbs./acre (monoculture)
15-20 lbs./acre (in mixes)
Planting Depth:
1/4-1/2 inch
Ideal Soil:
Tolerant of a wide variety of soils, including poorly drained soils and low pH (5.5 or lower, though 6.0-7.0 is ideal
Ideal Planting Season:
Spring & Fall