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AU Merit

Hairy Vetch

More Forage. More Nitrogen. Early Harvest. Wide Adaptation.

AU Merit is ideal for grazing, hay, and cover crops. It is a proven producer of enormous amounts of forage that is ready early in the year. It is also a massive nitrogen producer and perfect for supporting pollinators and wildlife.

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Early Maturity

AU Merit is nearly 15 days earlier than most other hairy vetch cultivars. When used as a cover crop, this means more biological N fixation (BNF) potential exists for early spring planted crops.

High Forage Yield

AU Merit’s early maturity also contributes to its high forage production and increase value for early spring grazing.

Abundant Nitrogen

In trials, AU Merit showed up to 175 lbs. of N/acre, exceeding many other legumes.

Vigorous and Adaptive

AU Merit was bred to have good disease resistance, excellent seedling vigor and tolerance to a wide range of soil types.

Attracts Wildlife/Pollinators

AU Merit provides wildlife and pollinators abundant forage and flowers throughout the spring growing season.

Nitrogen Studies

AU Merit was evaluated as part of an extensive cover crop nitrogen study conducted by North Carolina State University in 2008-2010. In this trial, AU Merit showed up to 175 lbs. of N/acre and direct positive grain yield contributions to the following corn crop.

2008 - 2009

North Carolina State

Cover Crop Nitrogen Study


CultivarPiedmont, NCTidewater, NC
 Biomass (Mg/ha)Total N (kg/ha)Biomass (Mg/ha)Total N (kg/ha)
AU Merit HV4.26.05.51661971904.14.65.6157166179
Dixie Crimson5.05.65.0134136873.54.83.68211773
Bigbee Berseem2.64.35.2731121390.81.83.4264874
Cereal Rye5.06.47.15245425.46.78.3545653

2009 - 2010

North Carolina State

Cover Crop Nitrogen Study


CultivarCaswell, NCPiedmont, NC
 Biomass (Mg/ha)Total N (kg/ha)Biomass (Mg/ha)Total N (kg/ha)
AU Merit HV4.35.11071216.35.1202141
Dixie Crimson3.62.462345.95.713890
Bigbee Berseem2.41.842436.37.7155169
Aus Winter Pea3.23.677916.24.7208128
AU Merit + Wrens Abruzzi4.16.2921528.49.7212217
Cereal Rye1.82.6122112.68.36937

2008 - 2010

North Carolina State

Cover Crop Nitrogen Study


 Tidewater 2009Piedmont 2009Caswell 2010Piedmont 2010
Corn Planting date*4/164/295/134/235/85/214/235/64/285/28
N Fertilized corn @112 kg/ha (check)
AU Merit HV1.
Dixie Crimson4.
Bigbee Berseem0.
Aus Winter pea---
AU Meri + Wrens Abruzzi------
*Grain Yields of Corn planted into roll-killed cover crop residue.

North Carolina State

Cover Crop Nitrogen Study (Ndfa*)


CultivarPiedmont 2009Tidewater 2009Caswell 2010Caswell 2010
 Ndfa (%)Total N (Kg/ha)Ndfa(%)Total N (Kg/ha)Ndfa(%)Total N (Kg/ha)Nfga(%)Total N (Kg/ha)
AU Merit HV100±10174±2587±20152±1497±3109±983±3135±14
Dixie Crimson85±13101±3071±2073±2097±462±1388±5119±21
Bigbee Berseem100±13139±3096±1573±20100±342±1094±3151±13
Aus Winter Pea71±1069±25--87±380±979±3130±13
AU Merit + Wrens Abruzzi----88±3117±980±3174±13
*Nitrogen Derived from the Atmosphere (Ndfa)

Yield Data

AU Merit has shown its ability to produce abundant forage (12% or greater than many other varieties) and flower earlier. While AU Merit has been tested and used in numerous locations, data from Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas are worth noting.


AU Merit has shown significant yields performance in multiple locations with yields exceeding other varieties by 11-22%.


AU Merit was planted on the LSU Winnsboro research farm. The trial was initially planted in late October. Due to extreme droughty conditions, it was replicated with another planting 25 days later at the end of November. The results shown in these data sets would indicate that AU Merit should perform well planted both early and late. Yield performance exceeded other varieties by up to 40%


AU Merit outperformed other varieties up to 42% and showed very good regrowth in a double cutting. This trial also evaluated AU Merit with Nitro-Coat® and indicated an 18% boost in total dry matter with the Nitro-Coated® entry.


Auburn University

Forage Yields (Total DM/A)


VarietyTallasseeBelle MinaBrewtonAve%
AU Merit2244119120961844112
AU EarlyCover16938592087154794
Plants cut around April 1.


Louisiana State University

Forage Evaluation (Total DM/A)

Winnsboro, LA



Planted Oct. 26. Harvested March 27.Planted Nov. 21. Harvested May 1.
EntryYield (Total DM/A)EntryYield (Total DM/A)
AU Merit1531Naomi Wooly Pod1554
WinterKing1141AU Merit1412
Naomi Wooly Pod1108Villana1127
Common Vetch1068Oregon Origin1008
Villana958Common Vetch983
Oregon Origin931WinterKing954
LSD (.1)221LSD (.1)486


Texas A&M

Winter Forage Variety Trials (Total DM/A)

Luling, TX



VarietyApril 1April 30Total
AU Merit Nitro-Coated® HV334029046244
AU Merit HV275929045663
Villata HV246824684937
VNS (variety not stated)39208714792
Common vetch130723233630
Naomi Wooly Pod145221783630
HV = Hairy Vetch
Planted November 7, 2017.
No fertilizer was applied.

Cover Crop Performance

In the October of 2019, researchers with the University of Tennessee planted extensive cover crop trials in three Tennessee locations – Knoxville, Spring Hill, and Milan. In addition to assessments of nitrogen content and release, assessment were conducted for ground cover, biomass and height. The data below reflects averages of all three sites. Site-specific data and complete results available upon request.

University of Tennessee

Biomass, Canopy Cover, and Height

Three Location Average



VarietyBiomass (Tons DM/A)Canopy Cover (%)Height (in)
AU Merit Hairy Vetch1.22.3775461423
Patagonia Inta Hairy Vetch1.01.9571451423
Purple Bounty Hairy Vetch0.81.9350431626
Namoi Woolypod Vetch1.41.8368491525
WinterKing Hairy Vetch1.21.8353441624
Villana Hairy Vetch0.71.6240441425
Common Vetch1.03.0345481218
See complete trial here.

University of Tennessee

Nitrogen Content/Estimated Nitrogen Release

Three Location Average



VarietyBiomass (Tons DM/A)Total Nitrogen (%)Est. N Released: April Termination (lbs/ac)Est. N Released: May Termination (lbs/ac)
AprilMayAprilMay2 wks.4 wks.12 wks2 wks.4 wks.12 wks
AU Merit Hairy Vetch1.
Common Vetch0.
Patagonia Inta1.
Villana Hairy Vetch0.
WinterKing Hairy Vetch1.
Purple Bounty Hairy Vetch0.
Namoi Woolypod Vetch0.
See complete trial here.

Winter Hardiness

During the 2018-19 cover crop season, a large number of cover crop species were trialed in South Charleston, OH. AU Merit shared the top spot for least winter injury.

Ohio State University

Cover Crop Trial

South Charleston, OH


Sown 9/20/18

VarietySpeciesWinter Injury
LowBoyAnnual Ryegrass1.5
AU MeritHairy Vetch1.8
ViperBalansa Clover1.8
KO14-WEMAAnnual Ryegrass1.8
KO14-WLSAnnual Ryegrass1.8
DX IIClover - Crimson1.8
FrostProofAnnual Ryegrass2.0
WinterhawkAnnual Ryegrass2.0
KOKI-WEARAnnual Ryegrass2.0
KO14-WMAnnual Ryegrass2.0
B-18.1793Annual Ryegrass2.3
VillanaHairy Vetch2.3
LSC-BIIalAnnual Ryegrass2.5
TaipanBalansa Clover2.5
SECCM18Berseem clover2.8
White CloudCrimson Clover2.8
SECCB18Berseem clover3.0
Pro 158-7204Winter Pea4.0
Double OWinter Pea5.0
IcicleWinter Pea5.0
Pro 168-6206Winter Pea5.0
LSD P=.051.1
Winter Injury is reported on a 1 - 5 scale. 1 = little to no injury 5 = severe injury - death of plants


AU Merit hairy vetch can be seeded at a rate of 10-40 lbs/acre depending on the mix or purpose. For best results, plant 3-6 weeks prior to the average first killing frost. Ideal seeding depth: ½–1½".

Planting zones
Roll kill, selective or non-selective herbicide allows for no-till seeding into terminated stand.Termination
½–1½"Planting Depth
greenPlanting Zones (map)
3-6 weeks prior to the average first killing frostPlanting Dates
15–20 lbs/acSeeding Rate - In a Mix (Broadcast)
25–40 lbs/acSeeding Rate - Pure Stand (Broadcast)
10–15 lbs/acSeeding Rate - In a Mix (Drilled)
15–20 lbs/acSeeding Rate - Pure Stand (Drilled)

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