Vetch


With as many as 150 varieties reigning the world, Vetch is a prominent legume widely distributed throughout the temperate zones of both hemispheres. Out of these many varieties, several were which were of huge agricultural importance centuries ago. Vetch has about 25 native species in America but when it comes to commercial significance then Europe and Western Asia take the lead as the bulk producers of hairy Vetch. Its use as an eatable for humans is not yet traced however Vetch proves to be a farmers's delight as it increases his mainstream production and also acts as a premium fodder crop for animals.


Product Information in Details
With as many as 150 varieties reigning the world, Vetch is a prominent legume widely distributed throughout the temperate zones of both hemispheres. Out of these many varieties, several were which were of huge agricultural importance centuries ago. Vetch has about 25 native species in America but when it comes to commercial significance then Europe and Western Asia take the lead as the bulk producers of hairy Vetch. Its use as an eatable for humans is not yet traced however Vetch proves to be a farmers's delight as it increases his mainstream production and also acts as a premium fodder crop for animals.

As the esteemed successors of the genus Vicia, Vetch has More than 140 species which have been identified by the scientists worldwide. Following are a few prominent species of Vetch:

 
  • Vicia americana (American Vetch)
  • Vicia articulata Hornem. (Bard Vetch)
  • Vicia bithynica (Bithynian Vetch)
  • Vicia canescens
  • Vicia cassubica (Danzig Vetch)
  • Vicia cracca (Tufted Vetch)
  • Vicia dumetorum
  • Vicia ervilia (Bitter Vetch)
  • Vicia faba (Broad Bean)
  • Vicia lathyroides (Spring Vetch)
  • Vicia lutea (Yellow Vetch)
  • Vicia monantha (single flowered vetch)
  • Vicia narbonensis
  • Vicia onobrychioides
  • Vicia oroboides
  • Vicia orobus (Upright Vetch)
  • Vicia pannonica
  • Vicia pisiformis (Pea-flowered Vetch)
  • Vicia pyrenaica
  • Vicia sativa (Winter Vetch)
  • Vicia sepium (Bush Vetch)
  • Vicia sylvatica (Wood Vetch)
  • Vicia tenuifolia (Fine-leaved Vetch)
  • Vicia tenuissima (Slender Vetch)
  • Vicia tetrasperma (Smooth Vetch)
  • Vicia unijuga
  • Vicia villosa (Hairy or Fodder Vetch)
 

General Description
Vetch, the legume grows in a vine-like fashion and eventually reaches a height of about 3-4 feet. Beautifully blossoming into tendrils of 9-7 pairs of small leaflets. The beautiful appearance of the Vetch is the result of the blue and violet colored flowers which are borne on the either side of the stem. The stems and the leaves are hairy giving the plant a velvet like effect. The seeds borne are normally small, round, black and irregularly-sized. A very weak root systems supports the plant growth however even when the plant becomes dormant the root growth continues. The Vetch plant is an expert winter tolerant and can withstand chilly conditions as well.

 

Benefits of Vetch
Vetch acts as a nutrient manager of the soil and helps the other crops to benefit this quality of Vetch. A perfect nutrient enricher Vetch has following qualities:

  • Nutrient Management
    • Fixes nitrogen
    • Adds enough nitrogen to provide almost all of the needs of the subsequent crop
    • Makes K more accessible to subsequent crop

Not only this Vetch also enhances the crop production by acting as a supporter of several beneficial soil insects.

  • Pest Management
    • Adds to soil biological diversity
    • supports several beneficial insects
    • hosts several species of nematodes
  • Organic Matter
    • due to cold dormancy - it is not suited to early incorporation
    • can add between 2,000 to 5,000 lbs/ac of dry matter
  • Erosion Control
    • Provides enough cover to suppress weeds and protect soil
    • Provides a longer window of protection than other cover crops
 

Interesting facts about Vetch
Vetch if allowed to grow for a full season can credit 120 lb/acre of Nitrogen in the soil increasing its fertility up to 75%.

The grain is an excellent sheep and cattle feed concentrate. It has been held in high esteem by farmers in the Old World since the beginning of agriculture to improve the nutritional value of bulk feeds.

Hairy vetch is generally used 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.

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