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Field Pea - Production and Management

Field Selection

Peas grow well on most well-drained soil types. Fields containing rocks can be rolled before emergence, up to the 5-6 node stage of the peas. Field peas are sensitive to a number of herbicide residues.

Certain herbicides are residual in soil to varying degrees and under a range of field conditions. Examples include:

atrazine (Atrazine) 5
clopyralid (Lontrel, Curtail) 4
flucarbazone (Everest) 2
metsulfuron methyl (Ally) 2
sulfosulfuron (Sundance) 2

To determine the factors affecting the persistence of each product and for specific recropping intervals, refer to the current Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Development Guide to Field Crop Protection.

Inoculation of Pulse Crops


Variety Information


Seeding Field Pea


Peas can be affected by seed and seedling rots/blights and should be treated with a fungicide seed treatment. The more blocky and irregular the seed shape, the more potential for seed infection.  For registered seed treatments, refer to the current Guide to Field Crop Protection.



Peas can be seeded early in the growing season. Very early maturing varieties are available for areas with a restricted growing season. These varieties generally mature one week before those rated as medium. Yield will usually be reduced if peas are seeded after the third week in May.



Seeding rate will vary with seed size and germination. Generally, a final plant stand of 7-8 plants/ft2 or 70 to 80 plants/m2 will optimize yield. See the links below for calculating optimum seeding rates using plant populations. The table below shows the seed required (bu/acre) with various seed sizes.


Seed Weight (g) per 1,000 seeds

Seed Weight (g/1,000 seeds)

180 200 220 240 260 280 300
Bushels/Acre 1.6-1.8 1.8-2.0 2.0-2.2 2.1-2.3 2.3-2.5 2.-2.7 2.7-3.0


Seeding Depth

1 to 2 inches. Seed should be sown to moisture. Seeding depth should be increased with soils with a low water-holding capacity. Seeding at a uniform depth should result in uniform emergence and maturity.


Fertilizer Recommendations For Field Pea

To maximize the nitrogen fixation ability of peas, they should be inoculated. For specific recommendations, have your soil tested. If soil analysis is not available, a general recommendation is as follows:

Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is not recommended. Inoculate at seeding with appropriate Rhizobia.
Phosphate (P2O5): Apply phosphate at 30-40 lb/acre as a sideband or 20 lb/acre with the seed.
Potassium (K2O): On sandy textured or organic soils, apply potassium at rates of 30-60 lb/acre.
Sulphur (S): Apply sulphate sulphur at 20 lb/acre on well-drained soils and grey luvisol (grey wooded) soils. Sulphur deficiency may occur in many soils and in any area of the province. A soil test is recommended to determine the available sulphur status of fields.

Weed Control

Grassy weeds are easily controlled through crop rotation and herbicide application. Herbicides for the control of certain broadleaf weeds (Canada thistle, perennial sow thistle and dandelion) either are not available or provide less than acceptable control. Consider applying preharvest herbicides the year before growing peas to control difficult perennial weeds like thistles and quackgrass. Sowing early, into a clean field, with a target plant population of at least 70 plants/m2 will make the pea crop more competitive with weeds. Leafed pea varieties are often more competitive than semi-leafless varieties.



Cutworms, seedcorn maggot, and wireworms can be early season pests of peas. Pea aphids are the most significant insect pest later in the season.


Diseases Affecting Field Pea

Diseases in field pea are seed and seedling rots and blights, mycosphaerella blight and powdery mildew. Disease free seed and seed treatment should be used to minimize seed and seedling rots and blights. Crop rotation and use of disease free seed are critical for mycosphaerella blight control. A fungicide application can reduce the effect of mycosphaerella blight. Powdery mildew can be managed by early seeding, use of resistant varieties and fungicide application.

For information on varietal differences to disease susceptibility consult Seed Manitoba.

Field Scouting Guide and Guide to Field Crop Protection.


Harvesting Field Pea


Desiccation helps to speed dry-down when the crop is not uniform in maturity or weeds are prevalent. Desiccants will not improve crop maturity.


If peas are swathed, a pick-up reel will help in moving the plant material off the cutter bar and onto the canvas. Swaths are very prone to blowing. When possible, they should be combined immediately after swathing. Lifter guards on the swather will allow for cutting close to the soil surface.

Direct Harvesting

A Sund, Rake Up pickup or flex header (flexible cutter bar) can be used to direct-harvest peas. Peas should be harvested on the tough side (17-20 percent seed moisture content) to reduce splitting and seed coat cracking. Cylinder speed of the combine should be set at 300-600 rpm; slow the cylinder down as the seed moisture content drops, set concave at 5/8" front; 3/8" rear - chaffer at 5/8" - lower sieve setting at 3/8" - sieve size 7/16". Use high air flow for good separation. Operate unloading auger slowly to reduce splitting and seed coat cracking.

Straw Management

Pea straw can be well-chopped when harvested during hot and dry conditions. If not well-chopped, pea straw can cause brunching when seeding the following crop.


Storage and Handling

Peas can safely be stored at 16 percent. When combined tough, peas should be aerated to 16 percent seed moisture content. Peas used for seed or human consumption should be moved with a belt conveyor to avoid seed-coat injury or seed cracking.



Number 2 Yellow is the minimum grade for processing and many export markets. #1 and #2 Green are required for export markets. Major factors in downgrading peas are pale colour in greens, soil particles, splits, cracked seed coats and shrivelled, immature seed.


For specific information on:

  • seed treatments and pesticides, refer to the current Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Development Guide to Field Crop Protection.
  • integrated management of weeds, crop pests and diseases, refer to Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Development Field Scouting Guide.
  • optimizing fertilizer use, refer to Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Development Soil Fertility Guide.
  • making varietal choices based on agronomic characteristics, refer to the current Seed Manitoba.


For further information, contact your GO representative.

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