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Commodities: Field Crops: Forages

Georgia Forages: Vetch

Dr. Dennis Hancock,
Forage Extension Specialist
Crop & Soil Sciences Dept.

Hairy Vetch
h vetch









Bigflower Vetch
bigflower vetch







Common Vetch
common vetch


Various species of vetch (hairy vetch, bigflower vetch, common vetch) are sometimes used in Georgia forage systems. Their viney stems support compound leaves with narrow leaflets. Species are generally most easily distinguished by flower color (hairy: purple; bigflower: yellow-white; common: white). Hairy vetch is the vetch species most commonly grown in Georgia.

Vetches are usually seeded in combination with a small grain and/or ryegrass on a prepared seedbed for winter grazing or silage. Grazing must be carefully managed because close grazing will result in the loss of the bud (growing point).

Hairy and common vetch mature later in spring than crimson clover, but are cold-hardy, more tolerant of low soil pH than most clovers, and have a low bloat potential. Some common vetch varieties have been developed that are resistant to root-knot nematodes.