MODERN PEA varieties can provide an attractive alternative to spring sown cereals, growers have been told.

They offer a relatively low input/ high output crop system, which has the potential for high returns, even in difficult seasons, said Gleadell‘s pulse trader, Ian Skinn.

“With so much uncertainty over the grain price next harvest peas could provide a good alternative to spring sown cereals.”

Despite the troubled harvest this year, all samples of the marrowfat variety Kabuki managed to reach the criteria for needed for human consumption, he said.

Yields of this variety averaged around 4.5t/ha, which meant that at an average contract price of £135/t and variable costs of £210/ha, a gross margin of £628/ha was possible, he believed.

“Growers who already have experience of growing this type of crop should seriously consider growing them again, or extending their acreage next year,” he said.

New varieties give growers more choice of high yielding varieties, suitable for a range of markets, he noted.

Kahuna is the sister variety to Kabuki and is new for 2005, he said, pointing out that it is suitable for all human consumption markets, but particularly suited to canning.