Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch Blooming in Far South Field Upper Paddock

Hairy Vetch – sounds like a punk rocker, but it’s not. Vetch is a legume out in our fields which is quite high in protein and an excellent way to boost the quality of fields for both ruminants and pigs.

Vetch is a legume which means it suck nitrogen out of the air and dumps it into our soil as well as having a higher protein level in the plants. Think clovers, alfalfa, peas, beans, etc. All of these are great things to have growing in our fields. I like the ones that are perennials and self reseed – that saves me money in the long run and sets up a sustainable system.

According to some things I’ve read it can have toxicity issues but it is the typical issue of don’t over feed it. The pigs like it and thrive on fields containing some. It is one small part of the total mix of forages and seems to work well for them.

Outdoors: 75°F/48°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F

Daily Spark: Like with any business we should be efficient when we kill. -Pentagon official on advancements in 3D printing of warheads

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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3 Responses to Hairy Vetch

  1. april says:

    Walter, thanks for all you do and share you are an amazing resource. I share you with all my pig friends and new pig farmers. We have a lot of crown vetch here on the grange, and our pigs will not graze on it. I though they would, but nope. It has turned into a problem, as it does spread readily in this area of the country. The DOT plants it after construction and it gets out of control. I have heard that animals will eat some plant in hay form (dry) that they otherwise would snob during the growing season. Perhaps crown vetch is one of those. My partner does prairie restoration and see the vetches are getting aggressive and destructive, so I am hesitant to plant any vetch. Do you think hairy vetch is less aggressive? And do you think the pigs would eat it in hay- form in the winter months? maybe this is a way to get it under control?

    • Not sure. My guesses are that 1) it might be different, 2) it may be too much, 3) the animals may not be as used to it and 4) the animals may have other feeds that are more appetitive or 5) (there always needs to be an odd alternative) it may be something else. I don’t know much about vetch other than seeing it in our fields and seeing the livestock eat it. They eat it right down as a preferred food over some things but then it does recover when they move off that pasture. I like the high protein. Realize that we don’t grain feed our pigs, they don’t get the candy that is commercial hog feed based on corn/soy so they have to work for a living. This coupled with many generations of eating pasture may give them a different preference.

  2. Brandon says:

    I have been feeding my pigs vetch (mostly american vetch with purple blooms) for the last 2 years, during the spring and early summer when it is prolific. According to my research it is 25% protein at its peak. For about a month it makes up 80% of there diet.

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