Peas are nitrogen-fixing legumes that act as valuable restorative crops in a crop rotation as well as being a good quality stock feed. The forage grain grows to medium size, is tan/brown or green coloured, and has a yellow or green cotyledon. They can be sown as a specialty forage or silage crop and are generally rotated in conjunction with cereals.
Peas adapt to a range of soil types, although they prefer a good silt loam. A key consideration when sowing Peas is that they are more sensitive to soil compaction and impeded drainage than other crops and require relatively free-draining soil. Peas can be grown at any point in a crop rotation, but they are susceptible to soil-borne diseases and it is not advisable to re-plant peas more than once in five years in the same paddock. Consider using a seed treatment to provide early protection and aid establishment.
Peas can be planted in spring as early as the seedbed can be prepared, however yields can be impacted by frosts from flowering onwards. Irrigation offers more flexibility in sowing timeframes and crop yield, as moisture stress is best avoided across all growth stages. Peas are poor competitors with weeds. To avoid reductions in yield and crop quality, we recommend seeking herbicide advice. When selecting paddocks for planting, Pea’s pH is important; levels should be greater than 6.0. Completing a soil test prior to sowing will determine if a corrective lime application is required.
Arable farm crop rotations Peas are used as a restorative crop when spring sown. They are good to follow a winter green feed after a cereal or as a second break crop after grass seed production. As a rule of thumb, Peas can be used as a break crop before sowing winter wheat.