"Most of the annual vetches suitable for field crops are well adapted to cultivation in the intermediate year between different sorts of grain crops, for the double purpose of ameliorating the land and affording a supply of fodder. It has even been contended that vetches may be made the means of enabling the arable farmer to support as much live stock as the grazier. By a judicious combination of vetches with turnips, clover, and sainfoin, the poor downs, sheep walks and other waste lands, may be rendered from ten to thirty times more valuable than they are at present. Vetch ought to be more generally grown in most situations, in proportion to the extent of the stock that is kept. However, vetch grown for the sake of its seed, or when it is allowed to stand till it approaches ripeness, is one of the most impoverishing of all our commonly cultivated crops. Most kinds of soils in ordinary cultivation are more or less suitable for vetches. Gravelly loams of medium dryness are the most generally suitable; and all other loamy sorts, from kinds bordering on thin gravel to kinds bordering on stiff clay, will do. A soil of inferior description is requisite for the seed produce of a vetch crop, as a rich soil sends the herbage of the plant into such excessive luxuriance as to occasion a deficiency in the yield of seed. In Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, they sow tares as pasturage for horses, and cut them early enough to allow turnips to be sown the same season. In Sussex tares are of such infinite importance that not one-tenth of the stock could be maintained without them: horses, cows, sheep, hogs, all feed on them " (Wilson, 1852).
1. Wilson, J. M. (1852) The Rural
Encyclopedia or a General Dictionary of Agriculture Vol. IV, Q-Z.
Edinburgh pp. 581-588.