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.
Peas do best in near neutral pH or above, in well drained soils and moderate fertility.
Plant in moist soils, usually 1-3 inches in depth. This also 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.
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.
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.
Plant peas 1 inch deep at a rate of 30-100 lbs/A depending on the mix. 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.
Flex peas are a cross between winter and spring pea not suited for fall planting. White flowered for better palatability, flex peas put on massive tonnage right at flowering.
4010 Peas are a taller forage pea which provide a lush and nutritious silage when cut at boot stage. They are most commonly mixed with forage oats or triticale. Seeded as a monoculture the rate is 100 -120 lbs/acre. Mixed with a small grain, typical mixtures are small grain 50-70% and peas 30% to 50%.
This new pea bred especially for grain can also be used for forage. Admiral peas are a good, digestible protein source for livestock and are easier to grow than soybeans in Organic systems.