Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa)

Cool Season

Hairy vetch is a vining plant that can act as an cool season annual or a winter annual. It is regarded as one of the highest nitrogen fixing legumes. It is quite winter hardy and will overwinter. Hairy vetch is quite drought tolerant. It is slow to establish but when it does, it can create good soil armour. It has some of the highest shade tolerance of the legumes. Salinity tolerance is low.

Seeds/pound: 12,000 Seeds/sq ft/pound of seed: 3.8


  • Nitrogen builder
  • Hay source
  • Intercropping
  • Erosion control
  • Weed suppression
  • Grazing potential
  • Pollinator attractor


  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Can overwinter
  • Competes well in blends


Natural resistance to glyphosate, glyphosinate, 10-30% hard seeds, can become a weed, can outcompete blend components, can be killed by tillage or use of products like Lontrel, 2,4-D or MCPA, cases of animal nutritional issues when consuming high levels of seed.


Good to graze, best in blends with grasses. Not a strong species for fast regrowth.


Good as a single cut system. May cause the crop to lodge. Dry down tends to be slower than alfalfa.

Mycorrhizal support? Yes