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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Yield Components and Forage Quality of Common Vetch during Pod Filling


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 88 No. 5, p. 797-800
    Received: July 10, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Rafael Caballero ,
  2. C. Barro,
  3. A. Rebole,
  4. M. Arauzo and
  5. P. J. Hernaiz
  1. Finca Experimental la Poveda CCMA, CSIC, Ctr, de Campo Real km 1.300, 28500 Arganda del Rey, Madrid, Spain



Common vetch (Vicia saliva L.) is a high-quality alternative forage legume in rainfed areas of the Mediterranean basin. Determining harvest strategies to maximize yield of available nutrients must include an assessment of morphological development, forage and grain yields, and changes in forage quality during seed filling. Field studies were conducted near Madrid, Spain, during the 1991–1992 and 1992–1993 growing seasons on a Typic Xerofluvent Entisol soil. Common vetch was sown in November and harvested in May and June of the following year. Maturity stages during pod filling were defined by progressively higher seed dry matter (DM) concentration (full bloom and 250–300, 450–550, and >800 g kg−1 seed DM). Total herbage, seed, and crude protein yields were compared. Measurements of plant partitioning, acid-detergent fiber, and acid-detergent lignin were carried out by harvesting individual plants at seven maturity stages, similarly defined, during pod filling (200–250, 250–300, 350–450, 450–550, 600–700, 700–800, and >800 g kg−1 seed DM). Before 450–550 g kg−1 seed DM, forage, seed, and crude protein yields increased with advancing maturity. As maturity advanced beyond 450–550 g kg−1 seed DM, negative crop growth rates were found in the two growing seasons. Plant partitioning showed that the seed fraction in the harvested biomass varied from 74 g kg−1 DM at 200-250 g kg−1 seed DM to 491 g kg−1 DM at 450–550 g kg−1 seed DM. Little change was observed in plant parts or seed weight beyond 450–550 g kg−1 seed DM. This last stage of maturity is recommended for maximizing nutrient yield for common vetch hay production.

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