Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich-Reckenholz

Cultivation of spring peas and winter peas

In Switzerland, field peas are cultivated on 2900 ha. For spring peas, growers can choose between several varieties with high yield, excellent protein content and increased resistance against lodging potential. Due to breeding progress, winter peas have been successfully introduced in the main areas for field crops in Switzerland replacing spring peas or as a new leguminous crop. However, only varieties of winter type offer a sufficient frost resistance for sowing in autumn. Sometimes spring varieties have enough cold tolerance, but the risk of total losses is evident. Grain yield and protein content of winter peas are slightly lower compared to that of spring peas. Winter peas are harvested before the cereals. Due to the longer growing period, phytosanitary problems are more pronounced in winter peas. A fungicide application at the early start of flowering can be economically advantageous. Preventive measures like long crops rotations between peas, the utilization of certified and fungicide treated seed and a sowing date not before mid-October for winter peas allow a successful cultivation of peas. We present a diagram with relevant information for the decision if winter or spring peas should be selected for site-specific conditions.

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