Field Pea Production Guide Available


With an increased interest in field peas in North Dakota, a team of NDSU Extension staff has updated and revised a field pea production guide.

According to the 2016 North Dakota prospective plantings report, produced by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, growers are intending to plant 640,000 acres of dry edible peas this spring, up 66 percent from 2015.

If all of these acres are planted, it would be a record high, with 30,000 more acres planted, compared with the current high of 610,000 field pea acres planted in 2006.

With the increased interest in field peas, North Dakota State University Extension agronomists, pathologists, entomologists and an agricultural engineer, revised and updated the “NDSU Field Pea Production guide.”

The eleven-page NDSU Extension publication (A1166) is available online at

Field peas or “dry peas” are marketed as a dry, shelled product for human or livestock food. Field peas differ from fresh or succulent peas, which are marketed as a fresh or canned vegetable.

Field peas are a grain legume commonly consumed throughout the world and are popular in human vegetarian diets. Field peas have high levels of the amino acids, lysine and tryptophan, which are relatively low in cereal grains. Field peas contain approximately 21 to 25 percent protein. Peas also contain high levels of carbohydrate, are low in fiber and contain 86 to 87 percent total digestible nutrients, which makes them an excellent livestock feed.

Field peas are well-adapted to North Dakota, and seed will germinate at a soil temperature of 40 F. Emergence normally takes 10 to 14 days. Seedlings are tolerant of spring frosts in the low 20s, and if injured by frost, a new shoot will emerge from below the soil surface.

Flowering usually begins 40 to 50 days after planting. Flower duration is normally two to four weeks, depending on the growth habit and environment during flowering.

Field pea yields can be slightly lower or similar to spring wheat on a pound or bushel basis within a specific region. For example, a six year average, 2010 to 2015, of Agassiz field pea yield at the North Central Research Extension Center near Minot was 3,277 pounds, or 55 bushels per acre, compared with Faller hard red spring wheat at 4,241 pounds, or 71 bushels per acre.

A wide selection of field pea varieties exist for producers across the region. A good source of information to aid in variety selection is field trial evaluations conducted by the various NDSU Research Extension Centers across the state. These trials include the most promising varieties with information recorded on the important traits necessary for making proper variety selection.

The most recent “North Dakota Dry Pea Variety Trial Results and Selection Guide” (A1469) can be useful for comparing variety data. This publication can be found at or by contacting your county NDSU Extension Service office.



Source: NDSU Agriculture Communication

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS

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