Vicia Sativa L. (Vetch)

  • It is one of the forage plants, which grows the most in our country. 
  • Common vetch can grow in almost all types of land.  However, high volumes of crops are received from deep, calcareous, clay and fertile soils.    
  • Usually the precipitation areas of 300- 500 mm and semi-arid regions are the lands where vetch naturally grows.  However, vetch grows very well in moist and cool places and gives abundantly of its fruits.  
  • Common Vetch seedlings are harmed from temperatures below 0 C°. On the contrary to some of its species being partially tolerant to cold, common vetch specie for winter period has yet to be developed.

Planting, Nursing and Harvesting Processes 

After the fields, which are going to be planted with vetch, are plowed deeply, the clods and lumps remaining on the surface of the ground must be smoothed out by going over them with a disc harrow and/or rake a few times.  In the coastal areas on the other hand, the ground cultivations must be conducted according to the condition of land after harvesting.   Plantation of common vetch seeds is rather simple due to the fact that it has large seeds.  In some of our local regions, the vetch is planted by hand.  However, since the seed loss is going to be excessive and seed depth will not be proportioned, the springing of these types of planting is irregular. Therefore, vetch is preferred to be planted in a row.  
Due to the reason that vetch seeds are large in size they are easy to plant with grain planting machinery.  Vetch being planted for its grass production must have 20-30 cm of space between each row.  Portion of plantation must be 10-12kg/da.    Vetch being planted for its seeds must have 30-50 cm of space between each row and 8-10kg of seeds must be planted per decare. Due to largeness of its seeds it can be planted 3-4 cm deep.  Vetch plants, which grow straight up for a period of time, easily lie down after some time due to their weak bodies.  This condition makes them hard to harvest as well as starts rotting at the lover parts of the plants.  Therefore it is advice for vetch, which is being planted for its grass, to be planted mixed together with other grains.  
Vetch plant grows straight by wrapping around the other grains.   

This will make it easier to be harvested and the abundance and quality of grass obtained will be increased.    As grain, barley and oat is used the most in mixtures.   In arid areas, 6 kg of vetch and 3 kg of oat or 5 kg barley must be mixed and planted. In coastal areas on the other hand 7 kg of vetch and 3 kg of oat or 4 kg kg barley must be mixed and planted. In a research performed in Adana, it has been concluded that it is necessary to have the percentage of vetch be more than 50% in a mixture for high dry grass/hay and protein production.  Vetch grain planting is a little hard process.  If plantation is done by mixing the two seeds together, percentage of vetch may be higher at the place where planting started percentage of grain may be higher at the place where the planting ended due to the fact that the vetch seed will flow out faster.  In order to prevent this from happening the planting must be done by two chambered planting machines and grain must be placed in the seed chamber and the vetch seed must be placed in the fertilizer chamber.  

The other method that is suggested is to plant vetch and grain separately and perpendicular to one another.  Vetch planting should take place during fall in our coastal regions and in spring in regions experiencing rough weather conditions during winter.   Plantation time changes according to region.  For example Middle Anatolia region can plant during March and most areas in East Anatolia can plant in April.    Plantations made in months of October and November provides successful results for coastal areas.  Many vetch species have been improved according to our regions.  For example ‘'Kara Elçi/Black Messenger'' vetch species gave successful outcomes both in coastal areas and inner areas of country.   

Aside from the one introduced above Ürem 79 and Kubilay 82 vetch are also found among the species being suggested for our coastal regions.    Since it is an early comer, Kubilay- 82 is good to use as a second product or an in between plant.  If stored in a dry and clean storage room, vetch seeds are capable of preserving their germination capacity up to 10-15 years.    However, color turns dull and molding starts in seeds, which haven’t been stored under ideal conditions. Therefore, the vetch seeds to be planted should have a brilliant color and no molding.

There are lots of rhizobium leguminosarum bacteria that form nodules at the roots of vetch in the fields of our country.   Therefore, the need to graft may not occur.    But the vetch seeds to be planted onto the fields, which may be resting for some time and didn’t grow any vetch or peas for long years, must be grafted with rhizobium inoculants.  Vetch plants with appropriate nodules on their roots do not need nitrogen fertilizer.  
Therefore it is sufficient to use 1-3 kg/da N in the planting process.  On the other hand, phosphor fertilizer increases the productivity in lands, which are poor in nutrients, in the precipitation regions.   For coastal regions, it is recommended to fertilize the land with 8-10 kg/da phosphor fertilizer for vetch.  The best time to harvest vetch for grass is when a few beans, which are nearest to earth, take their full shape and when the seeds become full.  Both grass productivity and quality are at their best during that period.  If harvesting is done earlier, during the blooming period for example, the quality of grass will be height but the amount of grass harvested will fall.  In case the harvesting is delayed, rotting will start at the bottom and leaves will fall. Quality will fall.  Therefore, the harvesting should take time at the appropriate time.

The situation is different if vetch is planted together with a mixture of grains.  Than the blooming time of the vetch and spiking time of the grain would be the most suitable time to harvest. For silo forage production the harvesting should be done at the time when the grains are still soft and milky in their spikes and when the vetch is forming beans.  Grass productivity may change according to region, nursing and the course that the year takes.  In lands that get rain or irrigation and in coastal line, 2-3 tons of green grass and 500-750 kg of hay can be obtained.