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Deer vetch doesn't provide significant vertical cover after frost---at least not at the planting and grazing rates we have on our place. To transition to fall plots in late September, we broadcast cereal grains and fertilizer into the standing vetch, and then clip the vetch high at roughly 8-10 inches. This provides enough thatch for the winter plots to germinate.

Because we are spreading fertilizer at the same time, the clipped vetch gets a boost in fresh growth and the winter plots get established well due to the nurse crop of vetch. Then, with the first frost the vetch dies releasing the nitrogen that it has stored which gives the cereal grains some additional help.
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