Description. Winter vetch is a very common annual bean grass. Winter vetch is a highly productive fodder crop that is rich with highly digestible nutrients and a biological native protein containing all essential amino acids.
There are two types of the crop: hairy vetch (V. villosa Roth) and Hungarian vetch (V. rappopa Crantz).
Hairy vetch has a main root system, with numerous side branches. The stem is thin, branched in length reaching 160 cm, of red-violet color, rarely white. Fruit is a bean. Seeds are small, black or dark brown in color.
Hungarian vetch slightly differs from the hairy vetch. The stem is fluffy, soft, 70-120 cm in length. Leaves are linear or obovate, large. Corolla is of light yellow, rarely pale pink color. The beans are elongated, flattened, fluffy, 2.5-3 cm long. Seeds are larger. In comparison with the hairy vetch it is more early ripening and drought-resistant.
There are such varieties of winter vetch: Voroshilovgradskaya, Dneprovskaya, Kolomyiskaya 2, Hungarian, Poltavskaya 25, Poltavskaya 77, Stepnaya, Chernigovskaya 20, Chernomorskaya, Jubilee, etc.
This plant is grown in a mixture with winter crops - wheat, triticale, barley, rye and rape. The yield of the vetch in single-species crops is about 150-250 c / ha, and in the mixture - up to 250-400 c / ha. The winter vetch contains more protein in comparison with the spring vetch.
It is undemanding to heat, its seeds germinate at a temperature of 2-3°C. Winter hardiness is low, the plant is demanding of moisture.
Winter vetch grows well after plowing and even after surface tillage. The main thing is to straighten the surface of the field, as the harvest for grain is carried out at a low cut.
On heavy soils, the vetch is sowed to a depth of 3-4 cm, the optimal depth of seeding is considered to be a depth of 5-6 cm.
Winter vetch should be sown since the late summer and until September 15th. Early sowing creates good conditions for vetch development and its overwintering. In case of delay with vetch sowing (after September 10th), it does not have time to develop well and almost completely dies during the winter.
When growing for seeds, winter vetch needs to be harvested when the component has ripen - wheat, rye, etc., 70-80% of vetch beans are ripen by this time.
Winter vetch is mixed with winter rye or wheat, it can be used as green feed in a green conveyor system, for hay, grass meal, for hay and silage laying. A good advantage of winter vetch is its ability to grow quickly, exceeding in this respect clover, timothy grass and other herbs. Germination of seeds occurs at a temperature of 1-2°C, it has rather low frost resistance and winter hardiness.
Winter vetch is more drought-resistant than spring one, but tolerates precipitation well, especially in the spring. However, the yield of seeds decreases, if a lot of rains suddenly appear in the flowering phase.
Winter vetch blooms in June, its seeds ripen very unevenly. Ripen beans break easily, the seeds scatter on the field and clog the soil heavily.
Winter vetch is not exacting to the soil, only too acid, clogged, dense, dry and rapidly drying sandy soils are unsuitable for growing it. In the field crop rotations, the vetch is placed in a seeded fallow, but it is better to sow during a farm fodder crop rotation.
Vetch gives high-quality feeds. 100 kg of hay contains 46 feed units and 123 grams of protein per each feed unit. The green mass of the vetch reaches 60-70%. Yielding capacity of the vetch green mass is 300-400 c / ha, of hay - up to 60-80 c / ha. It is cultivated in a mixture with oats, peas, cabbage and other crops.
Application. The crop is actively used in agriculture:
- as a fodder crop. It is equated to clover by properties, it even surpasses the nutritional value of all known lupines. The crop is very well eaten by cattle. The leaf part contains ash elements, proteins and fats. The digestibility of its hay is high. It is recommended to mow at the stage of green beans;
- as a soil-protective agent it helps prevent wind and water erosion. It keeps snow and reduces the freezing of the soil;
- it heals the soil thanks to its unique sanitary qualities.