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Combining peas realise full potential this season in PGRO trials and commercial crops

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With all the talk of oilseed rape and cereals it is easy to forget the risks of pushing such a tight rotation too far and to underestimate the tremendous benefits that growing a pulse crop brings to the following wheat crop.

Combining peas show great promise this year and results so far show that peas have fared extremely well considering the very dry season, reports Dr Anthony Biddle, PGRO Technical Director.

In Essex, marrowfats have averaged a good 3.75 t/ha and the colour is excellent. Mark Button, of Dengie Crops said he was well pleased with the 2011 crops. Whilst there has been some bleaching with the blues, the white peas are of excellent quality with 5t/ha regularly achieved.
In Cambridgeshire, peas have also done well and James Wallace of Daltons reports generally good performance: The most obvious feature is that the new varieties have stood better than ever and combining has been so much easier. With average yields exceeding 4t/ha, new varieties are really showing their potential.
Phil Rix of Dunns notes: We have a good lot of peas and they have done surprisingly well in view of the late frost and dry spring, with yields around 5t/ha and very good quality.
The two PGRO Recommended List variety trials at Thornhaugh and Chatteris have been harvested and Steve Belcher, Principal Technical Officer at PGRO, reports: Despite the dry season, yields at Thornhaugh on the limestone soil have been above average and excellent for the year. All varieties have stood well right up to harvest, whilst at the Cambridgeshire trial site at Chatteris, massive yields exceeding 6.5 t/ha have been achieved.
The main feature overall has been the excellent standing ability of the crops. This has always been a perceived fault with combining peas, but the introduction of a range of new varieties over the last two or three years is now paying off as far as this characteristic is concerned.
Anthony Biddle sums up the view from both PGRO trials and from commercial crops: The full potential of combining peas has been realised this year and, although there are still crops in the west and north to cut, there is a lot of optimism for peas.

PGRO is the non statutory levy body which promotes and carries out research and development in peas and beans. PGRO growing guides and recommended lists of varieties are the national references for growers. The PGRO publishes ‘The Pulse Magazine’ quarterly, the ‘Pulse Agronomy Guide’ annually, issues bulletins during the growing season, provides education and training courses, and runs grower / agronomist meetings around the UK.


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