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Pea Field Rolling

There are two main reasons for rolling a pea field:

  • to push rocks down to the soil surface
  • to break up dirt lumps and eliminate dirt problems during straight combining

Most producers have found that rolled fields make swathing pea crops much easier, since a firm soil surface results in less plugging.

Overall, research on rolling suggests the following recommendations:

  • roll pea fields soon after seeding and when the soil surface is dry – this will also ensure the field is ready for herbicide applications at the correct node and weed growth stages (spraying should normally be done before rolling, if the crop is advanced)
  • late rolling of pea fields (after the fifth node stage) is not recommended – this may result in bruising of the pea leaves, stem breakage and increased disease levels
  • when stuck with late rolling and late spraying, when pea growth is advanced, spray first and roll the field three to four days later – if the herbicide has a wide window for application, roll the pea field first, as rolling causes less stress on the plant than broadleaf herbicides
  • if wind or water erosion is a concern, rolling should be done just after the pea crop is up – at the two node stage
  • never roll pea fields in the morning – rolling wet pea leaves spreads disease
  • water ballast in the roller is not generally necessary – some producers, however, add water ballast on older zero-till sites to level out the disturbed soil
  • rolling headlands results in double rolling and is not necessary (these areas are generally much firmer) – the danger of headland rolling is that it will thin out the pea crop