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Common vetch (Vicia sativa)


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Common vetch, tare, the vesce, garden vetch [English]; vesce commune, vesce cultivée [French]; veza, alverja común [Spanish]; ervilhaca [Portuguese]; voederwikke [Dutch]; Futterwicke, Saatwicke [German]; veccia comune [Italian]; Đậu răng ngựa nhỏ [Vietnamese]; fiğ [Turkish]; البيقية المزروعة [Arabic]; 救荒野豌豆 [Chinese]; ヤハズエンドウ[Japanese]; Горошек посевной [Russian]

Products: common vetch seeds, common vetch forage, common vetch hay, common vetch silage, common vetch straw


Vicia alba Moench, Vicia amphicarpa L., Vicia angustifolia L., Vicia angustifolia var. segetalis (Thuill.) W. D. J. Koch, Vicia cordata Wulfen ex Hoppe, Vicia globosa Retz., Vicia leucosperma Moench, Vicia macrocarpa (Moris) Bertol., Vicia maculata C. Presl, Vicia pilosa M. Bieb., Vicia sativa subsp. segetalis (Thuill.) Celak., Vicia sativa var. amphicarpa (L.) Boiss., Vicia sativa var. angustifolia L., Vicia sativa var. leucosperma (Moench) Ser., Vicia sativa var. macrocarpa Moris, Vicia sativa var. maculata (C. Presl) Burnat, Vicia sativa var. nigra L., Vicia sativa var. obovata Ser., Vicia segetalis Thuill.


The common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) is an annual scrambling and climbing legume. It has a slender highly branched taproot that can go down to 1-1.5 m deep. Its stems are thin, angled, procumbent and branched, reaching up to 2 m. The leaves are compound with 3-8 pairs of opposite leaflets and 2-3 terminal tendrils that help climbing. The leaflets are elliptic or oblong, 1.5-3.5 cm long, 5-15 mm wide. Stems and leaves are mainly glabrous. The flowers, borne on leaf axils, are blue to purple, sometimes white, mostly paired, sometimes unique. Pods are cylindrical, 3.5-8 cm long and erect; with 4-12 round, but flattened, black to brownish seeds (FAO, 2010; UC SAREP, 2006; Sattell et al., 1998).

Vicia sativa provides palatable forage (fresh, hay and silage) and grain to livestock. Due to the presence of antinutritional factors, seeds may be used only in small amounts in the diets of monogastric species (including humans). Common vetch also provides a valuable cover crop and green manure (Sattell et al., 1998).


Vicia sativa originated from southern Europe and is now widespread in the Mediterranean basin, in West and Central Asia, China, eastern Asia, India and in the USA. It is moderately tolerant of cold and can grow in areas with mild winters (UC SAREP, 2006; Sattell et al., 1998). Vicia sativa is found in areas with annual rainfall ranging from 310 mm to 1630 mm and on a large variety of soils, with a preference for well-drained, moderately fertile soils with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. It is not tolerant of drought during the early stages of establishment and it is advisable to plant it in autumn (FAO, 2010; UC SAREP, 2006). It can withstand short periods of waterlogging but not extensive flooding (Sattell et al., 1998).

Vicia sativa is fairly tolerant of shaded conditions and does well as an understory cover crop in Californian prune, walnut and pear orchards, and in vineyards (UC SAREP, 2006; Sattell et al., 1998).

Forage management 

Vicia sativa may be sown in pure stands or mixed with a cereal companion that helps it to climb and thus prevents it from rotting during winter. DM yields in pure stands or in mixed pastures range from 1 to 6 t/ha in the Mediterranean basin (FAO, 2010) and up to 8 t/ha in the USA (Sattell et al., 1998). Common vetch is tolerant of short cutting before flowering and of high cutting at flowering (Sattell et al., 1998).

Environmental impact 

N-fixing legume and green manure

Vicia sativa has a high ability to fix nitrogen provided that the seeds are inoculated with an adequate rhizobium strain or that it has been sown previously on the field (FAO, 2010; Sattell et al., 1998). It can provide N either to the cereal companion crop when sown in mixed pastures, or to the following crop when sown alone.

Crop residues are succulent and decompose quickly, and are an appreciated green manure. The best stage is full bloom: Vicia sativa residues are easily ploughed down with a disc harrow (UC SAREP, 2006). They provide a moisture-conserving mulch in strip-tillage systems. Thanks to N fixation, common vetch lowers the overall C:N ratio of mixed pastures (common vetch/cereal), and speeds up decomposition (Sattell et al., 1998).

Cover crop

Common vetch helps with the suppression of spring weeds and is a valuable cover crop in vineyards and orchards (Sattell et al., 1998). Weed suppression is increased when the legume is associated with a cereal companion crop (UC SAREP, 2006).

Nutritional aspects
Potential constraints 

Seed toxins

Like other Vicia species, the seeds of Vicia sativa contain numerous antinutritional factors, notably cyanogenic amino acids and cyanogenic glycosides that are toxic to monogastric animals. Vicia sativa has been implicated in numerous cases of poisoning leading to stock losses. Its use in pigs, poultry (the latter being the most sensitive) and humans is therefore restricted (Tate et al., 2006). 60% unprocessed Vicia sativa seeds in the diet were detrimental to broilers and laying hens: they caused 100% mortality in broilers, with a survival time of 5.1 days, and a cessation of egg production in layers within 14 days (Farran et al., 2001a). Among other birds, only pigeons seem to have no problem with Vicia sativa seeds (Enneking, 1995).

The amount of toxicants is inversely correlated to the seed size. The most important toxin is the γ-glutamyl-β-cyanoalanine, which affects the conversion of methionine to cysteine, and has indirect effects on glutathione metabolism (Collins et al., 2002). The toxins are damaging to the nervous system with signs such as convulsion and leg paralysis. Feeding horses with Vicia sativa seeds causes brain disease with symptoms of acute brain oedema (Enneking, 1995). Some varieties have low cyanoalanine levels but still contain cyanoglycosides. Selection of low cyanogenic varieties by breeding would make it easier to include Vicia sativa seeds in pig and poultry diets (Tate et al., 2006). Post-harvest detoxification treatments such as mild acid hydrolysis proved to be effective but remain costly (Enneking, 1995).

In 1992/1993, and later in 1998/1999, Australian exports of potentially toxic Vicia sativa seeds to India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh as a cheap replacement for red lentils (Lens culinaris Med.) caused a minor international crisis and a ban on importations of Australian vetch (Enneking, 1995; Tate et al., 1999).


Vicia sativa forage does not normally contain antinutritional factors when it is grazed or cut frequently enough to prevent flowering and seed-heading. However, some cases of poisoning of ruminants consuming common vetch forage have been reported: signs include severe dermatitis, skin edema, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and diarrhea. About 50% of affected animals die (Mayland et al., 2007). In one instance, 5 cows died after being fed 5 kg/day of Vicia sativa hay (Suter, 2002).



Vicia sativa can be cut for fodder, grazed, fed as hay or ensiled. Its nutritive value for ruminants according to maturity stage and preservation method has been reviewed by Tisserand et al., 1989.

Fresh forage

Fresh Vicia sativa at early flowering has a crude protein content of about 24% DM, and OM digestibility in sheep reaches 74%. Nutritive value decreases with maturity but digestibility remains relatively high (69%) at the mature seed stage (Tisserand et al., 1989).


The nutritive value of common vetch hay is higher than that of alfalfa and sainfoin at a similar vegetative stage. At the flowering stage, vetch hay is a valuable forage with an OM digestibility of 69% and a crude protein content close to 20% DM. Common vetch hay shows a progressive decrease of digestibility and degradability as its vegetative structures mature, unlike hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), which benefits from a compensatory effect produced by increasing grain proportions as the plant ages. The nutritive value at flowering was higher for Vicia sativa hay than for Vicia villosa hay, but the opposite was observed at maturity. Voluntary DM intake was not affected by the species or harvest stages (Haj Ayed et al., 2001). In sacco N degradability is quite high at flowering (78% effective degradability) and decreases with maturity (65% at seed filling) (Haj Ayed et al., 2001). At seed filling, the increased rumen bypass protein and lower ratio of "structural carbohydrates: non-fibre carbohydrates" indicates that Vicia sativa forage should be harvested at this stage (Caballero et al., 2001).

At the vegetative stage, the high concentration of tannic polyphenols in common vetch could be useful to decrease lipolysis and biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the rumen and thus contribute to a higher transfer efficiency of polyunsaturated fatty acids to ruminant dairy products (Cabiddu et al., 2010).

In northern Ethiopia, vetch hay greatly improves the performance of goats browsing in semi-extensive conditions. It reduces unnecessary wandering during the dry season and makes better use of locally available browse resources. Supplementation with Vicia sativa hay up to 1.5% LW resulted in a gradual and almost linear increase in milk yield and lactation length, and in a decrease in milk fat and total solids percentages. Kid weight at birth, at 90 days and 270 days also increased significantly with this level of supplementation (Berhane et al., 2006a; Berhane et al., 2006b; Berhane et al., 2006c).


When Vicia sativa is harvested for ensiling, field wilting or a silage additive are required to prevent poor silage fermentation due to low contentrations of water-soluble carbohydrates and high buffering capacity. Silages of oat-legume and ryegrass-legume mixtures produce well-preserved silages, as the grasses contain more water-soluble carbohydrates and have low to medium buffering capacity (Kaiser et al., 2007).


A by-product of seed production, Vicia sativa straw has a nutritive value higher than that of cereal straws (barley, oat or wheat), with an OM digestibility of 53% and a crude protein content exceeding 6% DM. The energy value of common vetch straw is close of that of ammonia-treated cereal straws and the N value intermediate between that of untreated and ammonia-treated cereal straws (Tisserand et al., 1989). The evaluation of rumen degradation kinetics of legume straws confirmed their advantage relative to cereal straws, due to their higher DM degradability and degradation rate in the rumen (Bruno-Soares et al., 2000). The assessment of nutritive values of cereal and legume straws (including common vetch straws) based on chemical composition and in vitro digestibility showed that there were noticeable differences among species within each botanical family. Legume straws showed better nutritional quality than cereal straws, indicating that they could be considered promising and interesting sources of roughage for inclusion into ruminant diets (Lopez et al., 2005).


Dairy cows

The use of Vicia sativa seeds in dairy rations has been subject to considerable research in the first decades of the twentieth century, due to contradictory results on their negative effect on milk production and on the taste and safety of milk and dairy products. It was notably suggested that the animals be gradually accustomed to vetch diets and that the adaptation of the cow be monitored by tasting the milk for the presence of the vetch flavour and bitterness. The milk may become bitter if dairy cows are fed 2 kg/day of Vicia sativa seeds, and the taste of vicine and convicine passes into the milk, which renders it unsuitable for both direct consumption and cheese production. Vetch-related problems of milk quality can be easily monitored by taste analysis and may be transitory in nature. The milk obtained from animals unaccustomed to feeding on diets containing Vicia sativa grain should be tested for the presence of vicine as well as ß-cyanoalanine and γ-glutamyl-ß-cyanoalanine and their metabolites. A maximum feeding rate of 3 kg/head/day is recommended (Enneking, 1995).

Other cattle

Milled Vicia sativa seeds (HCN 64.9 mg/kg) were found to be highly palatable during a three months feeding period with 3 adult Kumaoni bulls that had ad libitum access to wheat straw. Compared to the control diet (groundnut meal), lower red blood cell counts and haemoglobin levels were found during the feeding of Vicia sativa, but as the values were within the range reported for this breed, it was concluded that milled Vicia sativa seeds could be fed as a concentrate to non-lactating cattle (Pandey et al., 1960 cited by Enneking, 1995).



Vicia sativa seeds are a potential alternative protein source for pigs due to their high protein and lysine content, but their use in pig feeding has been limited by the detrimental effects of their toxins on feed intake and growth performance. Maximum safe levels of 20% for growing pigs and 10% for piglets are often cited (Enneking, 1995). It is noted that the content of cyanoalanine and cynogenic glycosides differs dramatically amongst individual cultivars and may depend on other factors (cyanogenic glycosides are reported to increase in the plant after flowering). Therefore, the safe feeding of Vicia sativa seeds depends on the cultivar used (Enneking, 1995).

In Australia, low-cyanoalanine varieties have been marketed as suitable for pigs up to 35% of the diet, though a more reasonable 10% inclusion rate was considered to be encouraging enough to lead to an increased planting of this species (Enneking, 1995). The Morava cultivar, which contains very low levels of cyanoalanine (less than 7 g/kg) has been tested successfully in the early 2000s. It was possible to include it in the diet at up to 22.5% for growing pigs between 41 to 65 kg without affecting growth performance, and at less than 15% for finishing pigs. Higher rates caused significant decreases in feed intake and growth. A proposed DE value was 14.3 MJ/kg (Collins et al., 2002; Collins et al., 2005a; Collins et al., 2005b; Seabra et al., 2001). In Poland, a low-vicianine vetch cultivar was used in pig finishing diets at 15-18%. It partly replaced soybean meal in the first stage of finishing (from 40 to 70 kg) and completely in the second. Weight gains of about 800 g/d and a feed conversion ratio of 3.08 were observed (Potkanski et al., 1999)

Though this has not been clearly demonstrated in pigs, there seems to be a potential for biochemical adaptation to the toxins, and animals should be introduced gradually to Vicia sativa seeds (Enneking, 1995).


Whole-crop silage of oats, vetch and lupin (Avena sativa, Vicia sativa, and Lupinus luteus) was found to increase the feeding time compared to other roughages (barley and pea silage, grass and clover silage, grass and clover hay, grass meal and fodder beets) and was therefore suitable to enrich the pig's environment (Olsen et al., 2000).



Common vetch seeds can be used in poultry diets, but the amounts fed must remain very low due to toxicity concerns. For untreated seeds, inclusion rates lower than 10%, and in some cases 5%, are recommended. Higher inclusion rates are possible when the seeds have been processed, though the precise limits depend on the detoxification process used. As a result, caution is always required when using Vicia sativa seeds in poultry feeding.

Metabolic adaptation to the toxicity of Vicia sativa seeds has been observed in laying hens fed 5% and 10% seeds (Glatz et al., 1993 cited by Enneking, 1995).

Metabolizable energy

The following table presents the ME values of processed and unprocessed Vicia sativa seeds. With the exception of one particularly low value, the ME content is between 12 and 14 MJ/kg DM, and benefits from processing (usually cooking in heated water or acetic acid).

Treatment Energy value (TMEn) References
Unprocessed 12.8 MJ/kg DM Flores et al., 1991
Unprocessed or enzyme-treated (no effect of enzyme) 14.6 MJ/kg DM Önol et al., 2001
Unprocessed, low vicianine variety 6.8 MJ/kg DM Potkanski et al., 1999
Unprocessed 12.9 MJ/kg DM Saki et al., 2008
Cooked (60 min in water at 100°C) 13.5 MJ/kg DM Saki et al., 2008
Unprocessed 12.3 MJ/kg DM Farran et al., 2001b
Ground, soaked in water (40°C) 14.1 MJ/kg DM Farran et al., 2001b
Ground, soaked in acetic acid (40°C) 13.4 MJ/kg DM Farran et al., 2001b
Ground, soaked in acetic acid (room temperature) 13.1 MJ/kg DM Farran et al., 2001b


Even at low inclusion rates, Vicia sativa seeds are detrimental to broiler performance. In young chicks, replacing 25 or 50% of the dietary protein by protein from Vicia sativa seeds resulted in a significant reduction in weight gain and feed intake. This negative effect increased with higher protein level (Archana Devi et al., 1997). Cooked and raw seeds, from a low beta-cyanoalanine variety, replaced 10% of the maize-soybean meal in a balanced diet for one month without affecting growth and feed utilization in young broilers (Darre et al., 1998). Cooked and raw seeds had deleterious effects on body weight gain when used at 20% or more in broiler diets, and a maximum 10% was recommended (Saki et al., 2008). In one experiment, soaking the seeds in acetic acid at room temperature resulted in acceptable broiler performance at 60% inclusion rate, though processing did not prevent metabolic disorders from occurring (Farran et al., 2001a).

Laying hens

Many studies have underlined the detrimental effect of unprocessed vetch seeds on layer health and performance. Hens given diets with 10% vetch ate less feed and produced fewer eggs; the reduction in feed intake was significanlty large compared to the drop in egg production, but specific gravity of eggs increased. Hens fed on diets with 5% vetch had a significant increase in the yolk index. Other indicators of egg quality, as well as serum calcium and inorganic phosphorus levels, were similar between groups (Ergün et al., 1987). Processing can help to increase the inclusion rate of vetch seeds in layers diets. Autoclaved vetch seeds could be included at 25% in diets for layers (Farran et al., 1995). Soaking the seeds in warm acetic acid at room temperature resulted in acceptable layer performances at 60% inclusion rate (Farran et al., 2001a). While 22% of Vicia sativa seeds in the diet adversely affected laying performance and egg quality in peak producing hens, methionine and choline supplementation resulted in partial improvements in these parameters (Gül et al., 2005).


In turkeys, including common vetch seeds at 8% of the diet did not change live-weight gain and feed intake, and improved feed conversion efficiency. However, there was a decrease in neutrophil counts and an increase in lymphocyte counts in vetch-fed turkeys (Avc et al., 2003).


Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) chicks fed 5, 10 or 15% Vicia sativa seeds in a 5-week study had lower liveweight and feed efficiency when fed 10% or more vetch seeds. There was no difference between the groups with respect to carcass yield. Besides, serum total protein and lipid decreased when the amount of vetch increased (Yalçin et al., 1998).


Blue Neck ostrich chicks fed for 90 days on a diet containing 10-13% vetch leaves reduced growth rate compared to chicks fed for 90 days on a diet containing the same amount of alfalfa leaves (Fasone, 2002).



Common vetch forage may be included at up to 60% in diets for fattening rabbits in order to replace alfalfa (Lopez et al., 1996). Levels of 75% inclusion of common vetch forage in rabbit doe diets have been reported (Muniz et al., 2005).


Common vetch seeds can be given to rabbits at up to 10% of the diet without adverse effects on growth and carcass characteristics (Yalçin et al., 2003).

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 19.3 3.3 16.2 25.8 12
Crude protein % DM 23.0 5.1 12.5 35.9 19
Crude fibre % DM 25.4 3.6 21.3 35.1 16
NDF % DM 36.7 11.3 13.1 46.6 7
ADF % DM 28.5 3.3 24.3 33.7 7
Lignin % DM 6.1 1
Ether extract % DM 2.5 0.8 1.2 3.1 5
Ash % DM 9.8 1.5 4.8 12.0 19
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.6 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 12.0 2.6 4.9 15.1 14
Phosphorus g/kg DM 4.4 0.9 2.6 6.1 14
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Arginine % protein 5.3 1
Glycine % protein 1.9 1
Histidine % protein 1.3 1
Isoleucine % protein 3.7 1
Leucine % protein 7.5 1
Lysine % protein 5.3 1
Methionine % protein 0.9 1
Phenylalanine % protein 2.7 1
Threonine % protein 5.8 1
Tyrosine % protein 1.2 1
Valine % protein 1.8 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 69.8 6.4 60.4 80.1 11 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 66.7 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.4 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.8 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 78.9 3.6 73.1 84.1 9
a (N) % 39.7 1
b (N) % 55.0 1
c (N) h-1 0.074 1
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 75 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 70 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Alibes et al., 1990; Berhane et al., 2006; Djouvinov et al., 1998; Dougall et al., 1966; Neumark, 1970; Ronda Lain et al., 1963; Tisserand et al., 1989; Turgut et al., 2004

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:02

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 90.1 2.7 84.8 92.8 7  
Crude protein % DM 19.7 1.8 16.9 22.5 12  
Crude fibre % DM 24.5 2.4 20.4 28.5 10  
NDF % DM 38.6 8.1 27.1 47.8 7  
ADF % DM 28.7 5.1 20.6 35.2 8  
Lignin % DM 6.5 2.0 4.4 8.5 3  
Ether extract % DM 1.8 1.0 0.7 2.4 3  
Ash % DM 10.7 1.2 9.0 12.3 12  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.1         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 14.5 2.6 11.1 17.9 7  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.9 2.0 0.9 7.0 7  
Potassium g/kg DM 26.1       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 2.3       1  
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Alanine % protein 7.4       1  
Arginine % protein 6.0       1  
Aspartic acid % protein 13.4       1  
Cystine % protein 1.3       1  
Glutamic acid % protein 11.6       1  
Glycine % protein 5.8       1  
Histidine % protein 2.7       1  
Isoleucine % protein 5.3       1  
Leucine % protein 9.4       1  
Lysine % protein 7.2       1  
Methionine % protein 1.6       1  
Phenylalanine % protein 5.8       1  
Proline % protein 6.2       1  
Serine % protein 4.9       1  
Threonine % protein 5.2       1  
Tryptophan % protein 2.1       1  
Tyrosine % protein 4.0       1  
Valine % protein 7.4       1  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 7.5       1  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 0.7       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 64.4 2.9 64.4 72.9 7 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 60.9         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.0         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.7         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 76.7 3.6 72.9 81.0 6  
a (N) % 45.3       1  
b (N) % 41.8       1  
c (N) h-1 0.066       1  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 71         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 67         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abbeddou et al., 2011; Alibes et al., 1990; Berhane et al., 2006; Lopez et al., 1996; Neumark, 1970

Last updated on 13/03/2013 15:30:35

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 91.1 1.0 90.1 92.0 3  
Crude protein % DM 7.0 0.9 6.0 8.3 6  
Crude fibre % DM 37.2 3.2 34.4 41.5 4  
NDF % DM 59.8 3.2 56.0 64.7 5  
ADF % DM 41.6 2.8 39.0 45.8 5  
Lignin % DM 9.5 1.4 7.4 10.4 4  
Ether extract % DM 1.4   1.2 1.5 2  
Ash % DM 10.0 1.5 8.7 12.3 6  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.8         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 16.4 4.3 13.0 21.2 3  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.3 0.8 0.7 2.2 3  
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.2   3.0 3.3 2  
Manganese mg/kg DM 34       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 17       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 57.0 2.4 50.0 57.0 3 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 53.5         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.5         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.7         *
ME ruminants (gas production) MJ/kg DM 7.3       1  
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 47.8   46.6 49.0 2  
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 37.3         *
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 6.7         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abreu et al., 1998; Alibes et al., 1990; Bruno-Soares et al., 2000; Hadjipanayiotou et al., 1985; Lopez et al., 2005; Tisserand et al., 1989

Last updated on 13/03/2013 11:25:57

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 87.9 4.4 75.0 91.0 13  
Crude protein % DM 28.4 5.3 14.7 35.8 15  
Crude fibre % DM 4.7 1.2 2.2 5.7 8  
NDF % DM 15.7 2.9 13.6 21.7 7  
ADF % DM 7.5 1.9 3.8 9.6 7  
Lignin % DM 0.9       1  
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.7 0.9 3.0 8  
Ash % DM 4.0 1.6 2.4 7.5 12  
Starch (polarimetry) % DM 48.7 9.1 42.4 64.6 5  
Total sugars % DM 1.8   1.7 1.9 2  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.9   18.3 20.1 2 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 6.2 5.6 0.4 13.8 6  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 4.8 1.1 3.7 6.0 6  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.4       1  
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Alanine % protein 4.1   3.9 4.3 2  
Arginine % protein 6.4   5.0 7.7 2  
Aspartic acid % protein 11.0   10.0 11.9 2  
Cystine % protein 0.9       1  
Glutamic acid % protein 18.1   14.2 22.0 2  
Glycine % protein 4.2   3.9 4.4 2  
Histidine % protein 2.7   2.5 2.9 2  
Isoleucine % protein 3.0   2.9 3.0 2  
Leucine % protein 6.1   6.0 6.1 2  
Lysine % protein 5.8   5.7 5.8 2  
Methionine % protein 0.9       1  
Phenylalanine % protein 4.1   3.0 5.1 2  
Proline % protein 4.1   3.9 4.3 2  
Serine % protein 4.3   4.1 4.5 2  
Threonine % protein 3.3   2.9 3.6 2  
Tyrosine % protein 2.0   1.9 2.1 2  
Valine % protein 4.9   3.4 6.4 2  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 3.1 3.1 0.3 6.1 4  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 92.5   90.5 92.5 2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 91.1   84.0 91.1 2 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 17.2   14.6 17.2 2 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 13.8         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 86.0       1  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 54       1  
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 82.4         *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 15.5         *
MEn growing pig MJ/kg DM 14.7         *
NE growing pig MJ/kg DM 10.6         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Abreu et al., 1998; AFZ, 2011; Aguilera et al., 1992; Aletor et al., 1994; Grela et al., 1995; Hadjipanayiotou et al., 1985; Prieto et al., 1994

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:03

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Baumont R., 2015. Common vetch (Vicia sativa). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/239 Last updated on May 11, 2015, 14:31

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)