Scientific name: Vicia villosa
Common names: Hairy vetch, Grazing vetch, Fodder vetch
Seeding rate: 2 – 2.5 g/m² (20 – 25 kg/ha)
Growth cycle: Annual
Growth season: Cool season
Hairy vetch is an annual temperate legume known for its palatability and component in seed mixtures with grain crops. It is a legume with a prostrate growth form when young, becoming more climbing/creeping when mature. The leaves are pinnate, hairy with branched terminal tendrils used for twining and support. Flowers are purple to blue. Pods are hairy, shatter when mature and seeds are brown to black. It has a shallow taproot with strong lateral roots. Hairy vetch originates from Southern and central Europe, North Africa, west and central Asia. Hairy vetch is used for pasture, hay, silage and soil conservation. It combines well with temperate and tropical grasses (e.g., annual ryegrass or Smuts finger grass), small grains (such as oats and wheat) and legumes (such as annual medics). It is a cool-season plant, tolerant to frost and cold hardy. Annual rainfall of 350 – 1000 mm is recommended for cultivation.