Forage Pea Green Manure is a fast growing member of the legume family which builds soil and leaves readily available nitrogen for hungry crops. The plants are able to capture large quantities of nitrogen from the air in root nodules while the deep penetrating roots help break up the soil.
With good establishment, the peas grow rapidly creating a dense canopy and will out-compete most weeds. They are winter hardy and adapted to a wide range of soils.
Forage peas are ideal for sowing late in the season; they are excellent for over wintering and can be sown from September to November (Mid December in years where the temperatures are still relatively high).
Peas are a short-lived crop, requiring only a 10 to 14 week growing season to reach harvest. They can be included anywhere in a rotation, presuming time is available. There may be a chance of double cropping in some regions with ideal growing conditions.
Forage Peas are often sown together with another green manure, such as rye, clover or tares (vetch) to combine their properties. Clover or other low growing green manures can easily be sown under forage peas because they allow more light to get through to the emerging seedlings.
The popularity of forage peas has increased steadily over recent years due to its value to organic farmers as green manure or as a deep-rooting full-foliage legume.
Sowing Period: September to November
Soil: Most soil types, including heavy soil. An excellent nitrogen fixer
Growing Period: 3 to 6 months.
Coverage: 3kg per acre - 100gm covers 12 square metres.
Prepare the soil by removing weeds, digging over if it hasn't been recently cultivated and raking level. The large seeds can either be hand sown or can be scattered thinly over the surface of the soil. Spaced 5 to 7.5cm (2 to 3in) apart and drill at 7 to 8cm (3in) deep in rows 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) apart. Water in well.
Bare patches should be covered within two to three weeks and plants will do the most good if they are left for around eight weeks before digging in.
When it is not being grown for seed it should be mowed down shortly after it starts to flower, in order to avoid problems with volunteer seedlings in the next crop.
If plants start to flower before this, cut off the tops and dig in. Leave the green manure to decompose in the soil for up to four weeks before growing vegetables.
Don’t forget !
Rotate green manures as you would any other crop. Do not sow on ground before legumes in a crop rotation plan as can lead to the build up of harmful pests and diseases.
Forage Peas for Livestock (Pisum sativum)
Forage peas are often used in Europe and other temperate areas to increase forage yield and/or improve the nutritional quality of the forage. They can also be grown at higher altitudes in the tropics and as a cool-season winter crop in some regions where maize or soybeans would be the summer crop.
Forage is plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing livestock. Forages are environmentally friendly in that they can reduce soil erosion, pesticide usage, and fertilizer application. In addition, forages can increase soil structure and organic matter and enhance agricultural profitability.
Forage peas are a valuable source of forage protein. They are highly palatable with good digestibility. Peas are a suitable grazing alternative in the late summer when grass is in short supply. They are an excellent choice for the organic farmer looking to supply bulky, protein-rich forage for their livestock.
Peas mixed with barley or oat can be used to help establish ryegrass, alfalfa, red clover and other perennial forage crops. Grass or other crops can easily be sown under forage peas because their nature allows more light to get through to the emerging seedling grasses. This popular practice allows the production of high protein forage during otherwise unproductive periods. This mixture will also help to suppress weeds in the under sown crop.
The crop is fast growing, needing only 10 to 14 weeks to harvest with a fresh weight of 15 to 20 tonnes per acre and a protein level of 18 to 20%.
- Additional Information
Common Name Pisum sativum Family Leguminosae Genus Pisum Species sativum Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Pink/Red Flowers Natural Flower Time in summer Height to 100cm (to 36in) Time to Sow Sow in September to November for digging in or overwintering Time to Harvest 3 to 6 months Coverage 35kg per acre - 100gm covers 12 square metres