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Field Peas – Varieties

Variety Testing Procedures

Registered field pea varieties are entered by seed companies, breeding institutions and seed growers holding varietal rights, into the Alberta Regional Variety Test Program. These trials are run annually across the province to collect yield and agronomic data. This data is then made publicly available through the Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Seed Guide.

Regional Variety Trials Showcase Available Varieties Performance in Different Environments Across Alberta

Choosing a Pea Variety

There are many varieties of peas, each with its own characteristics and target markets.  Yellow and green cotyledon peas are the most widely grown in Alberta and are suitable for human consumption and livestock feed markets. Specialty varieties for use as forage or silage may be leafed or semi-leafless. Marrowfat types are blocky, very large-seeded, green cotyledon peas used in specialty snack food markets in Asia. Purple flowered varieties with coloured seed coats (maple and dun pea) are also produced in Alberta.

The following checklist of variety factors should be considered in variety selection:

Variety Checklist


  • A number of site years provides the best data only if these sites represent similar growing conditions.
  • Check data from local zone, industry, and regional trials.


  • Use a combination of growing season precipitation and soil type – data from sites with abnormal precipitation the previous year may be suspect.


  • Standability considers vine length, amount of precipitation, wind damage, variety and soil nitrogen levels – all standability ratings are lower in dry years compared to wet years, even for the same variety.
  • If standability is important, choose varieties with ratings of 5.0 or less.


  • Maturity is influenced by variety, precipitation, temperature and vine length – higher rainfall and short growing season areas require shorter vine, earlier maturing varieties.

Seed Size

  • Seed size influences both seeding rate and seeding cost.
  • In some cases, larger seed varieties produce higher yield, but the cost of seed should be considered in light of any potential yield increase.
  • Some markets prefer a particular size or shape of seed. Contact potential buyers for guidance. It is recommended that farmers procure a contract if growing specialty varieties.
  • Resource: Government of Alberta’s Seeding Rate Calculator.


  • Feed or edible, green, yellow or maple.

Disease resistance

  • Varieties with improved tolerance to Mycosphaerella/Ascochyta blight and Fusarium are being developed.
  • All varieties registered in Canada have resistance to powdery mildew.
  • Shorter vine-length and standability help to increase airflow through the crop canopy and may assist in the reduction of foliar disease.