The vining pea harvest is about two-thirds complete for grower co-operative The Green Pea Company and it is hoped healthy crops will provide enough peas to hit contract tonnage this season.
The 240-strong group are sole pea suppliers to frozen food giant Birds Eye and have five harvesting groups working within a 35-mile radius of their processing plant in Hull, all attributed a colour as a name.
Rob Godfrey, Birds Eye fieldsman for the North Lincolnshire “Lime” area, is the link between the factory and field. He oversees about 2,300ha of peas south of the River Humber and says it’s been a perfect season for the crop.
Processing about 46,000t per year, Birds Eye’s planned yield is about 4-5t/ha and the drilled area matched accordingly to meet demand.
“The drilling period was as good as any we’ve had and a combination of hot and dry weather at flowering and cool and damp conditions through pod fill have resulted in a high number of well-filled pods,” he explains.
Mr Godfrey adds that yield and quality in his area has been good, but the vining pea crop is sensitve to extremes in weather and a hot or wet spell could result in losses to the remainder of the standing crop.
Birds Eye’s high-quality standard requires the peas to be harvested, transported to the factory and frozen within 150 minutes, or two-and-a-half hours to preserve the freshness and nutritional value of the crop.