27 October 1995

Dont rush the winter peas

BEWARE of drilling winter peas too soon – for most crops the first or second week of November should be early enough, suggests Steve Belcher, technical officer at the Processors and Growers Research Organisation.

Although October-sown crops can produce higher yields, that advantage may be lost when frost hits their early flowers as it did in April last season, he explains.

ADAS warns that cold tolerance ratings used in France to guide growers to the hardiest varieties may not translate to UK conditions. "French winters tend to close down with a bang," says Cambs-based John Garstang. Here it is the typical switches from cold to mild weather and back that do the damage, he suggests.