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Pea yields decrease PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 09:55

Acreage expected to increase next year

Yields were down due to the extremely dry conditions in the area this year but things are looking up for next year’s yellow pea crop, according to Jerry Haynes of Jack’s Bean Company in Holyoke.

Hoping to introduce a new crop into the yearly rotation, some area farmers began planting yellow peas the past few years.

According to Jack’s Bean Company, there are many advantages to incorporating yellow peas into a yearly rotation. Jacks Bean and Haynes got into the game after becoming aware that more and more growers in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado have been raising peas—some for as long as 10 years.

Area acreage has also been increasing due to a higher demand. Jack’s Bean said there were roughly 20-30,000 acres of yellow peas this past year in the tri-state area alone. Most of the acres (90 percent) are on dryland ground. Peas that are on irrigated land require little water.

As a specialty crop, yellow peas don’t require any specialized equipment, according to Haynes. They also don’t require much, if any, fertilizer—just inoculant to enhance their nitrogen fixing capability. Another big advantage is yellow peas are a legume, so while other crops take things out of the soil, they put things back into the soil.

Producers generally raise them as a cash crop, according to Jack’s Bean. They also fit well into area crop rotations. Yellow peas can be planted in late March and harvested early July. Following the pea harvest, producers can prepare to drill their winter wheat into the same ground in September. It has been noted wheat crops after a pea crop tend to produce better. Haynes said peas also enhance the microbial activity in the soil.

Jack’s Bean said there is a limited human consumption of pea demand in the United States. A lot of peas are exported into countries like Mexico, Colombia, China and India. Peas are also being used more and more in pet foods today in America.

Jack’s Bean is anticipating acreage to increase over the next few years—even though this year’s crop wasn’t the best. “It wasn’t attributed to the peas, it was attributed to the lack of rain,” Jack’s Bean manager Steve Brown said.

Some of the peas weren’t harvested because they didn’t receive any rain. Some received minimal rain and produced 10-20 bushels an acre. Normally, peas produce somewhere around 35 bushels an acre. “Several of them (producers) were surprised with no rain, they got as much as they did,” Brown said.

Even with everything they saw this year, Jack’s Bean is anticipating an increase in acreage for next year. Haynes is looking into a local certified seed program and will be treating the seed locally next year as well.

Holyoke Enterprise July 12, 2012

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 09:58