Pea Field Preparation
Site selection is key when planning for field pea in the rotation. In fact, planning for field pea production should begin a year prior to planting. Here are some recommendations for selecting suitable fields.
- fields chosen for pea production should be thistle-free, since no herbicides are registered for complete thistle control in field pea (see Herbicides for Use in Pea, Agdex 142/642-4)
- use fall tillage or a pre-harvest glyphosate product in the crop before pea to control thistles
- keep good records on herbicides used in previous crops – some leave residues that will injure the pea crop (refer to Weed Control in Pea-Preparing for Your Pea Crop, Agdex 142/642-1, and always read the herbicide label and pay close attention to re-cropping restrictions)
- do not seed field pea on summerfallow, on heavily manured fields or on fields that received nitrogen the previous fall – high nitrogen levels cause excessive growth, which leads to lodging, disease and nitrogen fixation problems
- avoid rocky fields – harvest operations for field pea are usually done close to the soil surface, and rocks can damage a combine
- poorly drained fields should be avoided to reduce the incidence of seed and seedling diseases
Field pea should be the first crop seeded in the spring, since early field pea seeding results in higher yields and often better quality.
- Seed Depth: 1.5–2.5 inches (2.5–5 cm)
- Soil Temperature: 4–5˚ C
- Seeding Dates: before May 15
- Seeding Rates: 75–90 plants per square metre
- 1,000 Kernel Rate: 125–300
- Seeds Per Pound: 1,500–3,600
The Government of Alberta’s Seeding Rate Calculator can help you determine the proper field pea seeding rate. To ensure the best results, use seed with both high germination and vigour. When seeding your field peas, hoe drills and air seeders work well, but disc drills are not optimal. Disc drills may not seed to uniform depths when there is heavy trash cover or in fields that are undulating.