Hairy vetch as a cover crop

Encyclopedia Article

Vicia villosa

Type: winter annual legume

Pros: good fit in weather destroyed crops or prevent plant acres; no allelopathic affect ahead of corn; possible N fixer; low water use; moderate potential to scavenge nutrients, suppress weeds, improve soil health, prevent erosion

Overwintering potential: with adequate fall establishment

Planting date: August through early September

Seeding depth: 0.25” to 1.0” – rainfall/soil moisture needed to get good establishment

Seeding rate: drilled = 10 – 15 pounds per acre; overseeded = 20 – 30 pounds per acre

Hairy vetch seedling. Photo Courtesy of M. Licht, Iowa State University. 

* based on typical use timing in a corn and soybean cropping system.

References and Resources

SARE. 2007. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd edition. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, College Park, MD.

MCCC. 2020. Cover Crop Selector Tool. Midwest Cover Crops Council, West Lafayette, IN.