Winter Peas are a rapid, low growing annual legume used across the country as a legume fixing cover crop and/or a quickly decomposing green manure crop. The large fan root structure adds organic matter to the soil. Peas can produce 60-120 units of nitrogen (N) and yield 1-2 ton/acre forage yield. The forage value of winter peas, along with their overall management are benefited when planted alongside a cereal grain such as triticale, oats and barley. Crude protein with peas can be up to 28% depending on maturity. Peas are also great for wildlife plots.
Suggested seeding rates: Drill 30-80 lbs/acre alone, 10-30 lbs/acre in a mixed stand. With a precision planter, plant 13 lbs/acre with 2 lbs of radishes; 60 cell soybean plate)
Approx. seeds/lb.: 2,000 – 3,500
Seeding depth: Drill seed 1″ deep in a firm, moist seedbed.
Ave. Emergence time (days): 7-10
Preferred soils: Winter peas have a wide range of soil adaption. Ideal soil pH 6.0 – 7.0
Establishment: Seed should be inoculated before planting for better nitrogen fixation. Best planted in August-September time frame in the Midwest (6-8 weeks before first frost). Peas are not recommended for aerial applications.
Management suggestions: Mowing or forage harvest in spring will terminate crops.
Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio (C:N): 15:1 – 20:1
Non Forage Benefits: Scale 1-5, 5=Excellent, 1=Poor
- Compaction Alleviation: 2
- Weed suppression: 4
- Biomass production: 3
- Erosion control: 3
- Disease/Pest control: 3
- Pollinator/Beneficials: 4
- P & K Cycling: 2
- Ease of establishment: 4