Peas

…Forage uses may vary…

Peas

Peas can be put into 2 categories. The first known as a Field Pea is a cool season or spring planted product. The second, Cowpeas is a warm season, summer planted pea. Not only are peas an excellent source of nitrogen, but they also offer additional tonnage and crude protein in the harvested forage.

Field peas are excellent nitrogen fixers and establish quickly, providing good ground cover. Peas are usually mixed with oats, barley, or triticale and are an excellent source of high protein forage. Field peas are divided into two types. The Austrian winter pea can be planted in the fall and usually overwinters south of Interstate 70. The other peas, like the Arvika spring pea, do best planted as early as you can get into the field in the spring.

Establishment

Plant peas 1 inch deep at a rate of 30-100 lbs/Acre depending on the mix. Increased planting depth in moist soils, usually 1-3 inches in depth insures better anchoring for the plant to avoid lodging. Planting with a small grain will give the pea the opportunity to crawl up the oat stem for better standability. If nitrogen and protein are the goal, plant more peas than small grains. Plant fall peas by mid-August to mid-September; peas need to be 4-6 inches tall before going dormant for the winter. Plant spring peas as soon as you are able to work the fields. Expect peas to grow rapidly in the spring and ready for harvest or incorporation in about 60 days.

Management

Peas do best in near neutral pH or above, in well drained soils and moderate fertility. Peas like cool weather and languish in heat and drought. Peas like a wide variety of well drained soils. They are almost always planted with small grains such as oats and are usually used as a dual purpose cover and forage crop. Inoculate to ensure good nitrogen production.

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