Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

Vicia villosa

Hairy vetch can be no-tilled, broadcasted on or drilled into a prepared seedbed.

Hairy vetch is a hardy species, tolerating frost, drought and flooding (Lapina and Carlson, 2013). 


The only real significant difference between common vetch and hairy vetch is 

Hairy vetch is more winter-hardy than Common vetch.



  •  an annual pasture, forage and grain legume, 
  • very palatable at all growth stages, from a young plant through to seedpods production in summer
  • smothers weeds once establish with its vigorous growth in the spring and when left as a dead mulch on the soil surface giving excellent weed control   
  • or grown in crop rotations as a pasture or hay crop, is useful for controlling resistant grass weeds as they are grazed or cut before the grasses set seeds
  • providing non-selective weed control and reducing the risk of herbicide-resistant weeds
  • acts as a disease break between cereals in a rotation. The mulch is claimed to increase the main crop disease resistance and prolong leaf photosynthesis of the following crop
  • highly nutritious dry matter as hay or silage    
  • the same machinery is used for planting, maintenance and harvesting, as used for cereal crops
  • soft seeded species are suitable in all crop rotations, without the risk of voluntary plants creating a problem in following crops.
  • has the ability to improve soil fertility, soil tilt, structure and organic matter substantially 
  • fixes large amounts of atmospheric nitrogen in the soil; benefiting subsequent cereal crops in yield and quality.
  • suited to wetter soils and colder winters, but grows on a range of soils preferring loamy and sandy soils 
  • moderately sensitive to soil acidity
  • protects soil from erosion,  



  • Not well adapted to waterlogging. 
  • Post-emergent herbicide options for broadleaf weed control are limited.
  • Common vetch is less winter-hardy than hairy vetch.