30 August 2002

Wet weather hammers peas

PEA yields have been hammered by wet weather with taller varieties suffering most it seems. On farm losses have been exacerbated by wheat taking priority with the combine.

Three of the nine RL variety trials were still to be combined as of Tuesday this week and already yields up to 1t/ha below the norm have been recorded, says PGROs Anthony Biddle. Mean of the six trials taken is 4.86t/ha, compared to 5.45t/ha across the previous five years.

"They havent performed as well as they looked. Rain in June encouraged vegetative growth at the expense of pod development. Crops lodged and the longer they were left the more shelling out that occurred.

"Nitouche, which is very popular, has been more variable than usual because it is tall. So it grew more, but didnt gain pods, and finished at just under 5t/ha."

But all varieties were affected by the weather, he adds. "No one variety has been remarkable, though new variety Arrow has done 4-5% more than Nitouche."

Andy Donald at Dalmark, near Peterborough, estimates 70-80% of the pea crop is harvested. Yields are disappointing, but colour is better than normal, he says. "We will be able to select samples for the premium markets." &#42