Above average soil temperatures have encouraged vining pea crops to race through their development, leading to over-maturity in some crops.
Warm, dry weather throughout much of the growing season has led to a vining pea harvest that is around 10 days earlier than normal, according to growers.
Stephen Francis, managing director of Fen Peas in Lincolnshire says: “We started harvesting on June 10, a good 10 days ahead of where we normally are.
“On June 28 last year, we had harvested only five per cent of our total pea acreage. At the same time this year, we have got 30 per cent done.”
Due to the speed at which crops reached maturity, Mr Francis has had to abandon 121ha (300 acres) of over-mature peas to date. “We are under a lot of pressure this season and have had to leave some crops that were too mature, but we are not too worried about that,” he adds.
Similarly, Richard Fitzpatrick, managing director of major pea producers Holbeach Marsh Co-operative, is expecting to have to discard a large proportion of his pea area.
He says: “The extremely high day and night temperatures we have experienced in the last week [w/c June 19], have moved the crop on much faster than planned.
“For this reason, it is looking like we will have to bypass a large area of crop in the next few days, so as we keep harvesting at optimum quality.
“We are hoping very much that air temperatures will return to normal soon, otherwise we stand to lose a lot more of the crop.”
Despite the challenging weather conditions, both growers have achieved yields of around 5t/ha (2t/acre) frozen weight, while pea quality has been good.