Information Sheet - Pea, Field/Forage in Ontario Field Crops

Eastern Canada cover crop selector tool

Planting Information
Drilled Seeding Depth 1-1½ inch [2.5-3.8 cm ]
Drilled Seeding Rate 35-90 lb/ac [40-100 kg/ha]
Broadcast and incorporated rate should be 10 - 20% higher than drilled rate. Increase seeding rate in late fall.
Aerial seeding rate Not Recommended.
Seeds per lb 2500 (metric: 5500)
Frost Seed No
Legume inoculation type pea/vetch. Not a recommendation for the need to inoculate
Comments Requires more moisture to germinate well with broadcast or aerial seeding. If the system is organic, be careful to use an OMRI certified inoculum.
Termination Information
Termination Methods Freeze, Tillage, Mow, Herbicide
Termination Comments Inconsistent winter survival.
Performance Roles
Legume Nitrogen Source Good
N scavenger + N holder Fair
Organic matter/soil builder Fair
Compaction Fighter Poor
Water Erosion Fighter Good
Wind Erosion Fighter Good
Weed Fighter Good
Winter Survival Never
Winter Kill Never
Quick Growth Good
Lasting Residue Fair
Quick Residue Breakdown Poor - Mature crops are slower to decompose. Manage termination accordingly.
Potential Biofumigant Poor
Forage Harvest Good
Seed Harvest Poor
Interseed with Cash Crop Good
Total Nitrogen 0 [N/A]
Dry Matter per year 1200-3000 lb/ac [1350-3350 kg/ha] - Dry matter and N content depends on amount of crop growth and maturity.
Comments Biomass decomposes quickly. May cause bloat in cattle/sheep.
Cultural Traits
Scientific Name Pisum sativum
Life Cycle Winter Annual, Cool Season Annual
Growth Habit Climbing
Prefered Soil pH 6.0-8.0
Relative Costs (per area) 2
Min. Germination Temp. 41F/5C
Heat Tolerance Fair
Drought Tolerance Fair
Shade Tolerance Fair
Flood Tolerance Fair
Low Fertility Tolerance Fair
Potential Advantages, these are general, tentative ratings
Loosen subsoil Fair
Makes P&K more available to crops Poor
Loosens Topsoil Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Nematodes Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Disease Very Good, check for specific diseases
Weed Control - Allelopathy Fair
Weed Control - Chokes Weeds Good
Attracts Beneficials Fair
Takes foot or vehicle traffic Fair
Short Windows Good, growth in a short time period
Comments Poor host for soybean cyst nematode
Potential Disadvantages (these are general ratings)
Volunteer Establishment (includes hard seed) Rarely a problem
Weed Potential Rarely a problem, includes hard seed, likelihood to produce seed or survive termination
Insects/Nematodes/Slugs Could be moderate problem
Crop Disease Could be moderate problem, check for specific diseases
Establishment Challenges Rarely a problem
Challenges incorporating mature residues Occasionally a problem
Comments Host for root knot nematode, Penetrans Root-Lesion Nematode and sugarbeet cyst nematode; Risk for white mold (Sclerotinia).

The ability to achieve goals depends on appropriate situation and proper management.