A new pea variety with high yield potential and standing ability broke the pea world record last year. And careful attention to nutrition helped maximise its potential in the 2018 summer drought. Marianne Curtis reports.
Despite an exceptionally dry summer in 2018, pea average yield at Tim Lamyman’s farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds was 5.6 tonnes/ha - not a million miles away from the world pea record of 6.47t/ha he achieved the previous year in more favourable growing conditions.
Although he grew vining peas some years ago, it is only in the last two years that Mr Lamyman has grown combinable peas. “I am looking at replacing spring beans with peas because of their earlier maturity.”
Harvesting the crop by late August/early September allows time for herbicide applications to control black-grass and volunteers and earlier drilling of winter crops, he says.
Mr Lamyman opted for large blue pea variety LG Stallion in 2017 and 2018. “It was top of the candidate list [large blues] on standing power and yield. Because it was our first foray into growing peas, if they were on the floor with stones like I have you wouldn’t be able to harvest them without breaking the combine.”
To ensure potential of the pea crop was maximised, Mr Lamyman consulted independent agronomist Keith Costello, who has long experience of advising on the crop, previously working for food brand, Princes.
Cultivation involved ploughing, followed by two passes with a Lemken Terradisc then discing and rolling with a Vaderstat carrier. Drilling was with a Vaderstat Rapid with the coulters set at a 10cm row width. Seed was treated with Wakil XL (cymoxanil + fludioxonil + metalaxyl-M) + GPA (phosphite).
Mr Lamyman aims to drill no earlier than the first week in April. He is a firm believer in ensuring the crop has adequate nutrition and says research in this area has lagged behind that in other crops. “Pulses are the forgotten industry. So little work has been done on nutrition in peas. The PGRO [Pulse Agronomy] Guide has very little nutritional work in it.”
Mr Lamyman follows a carefully targeted nutrition programme (see panel). Leaf samples are taken during the crop’s growth cycle to identify nutrient deficiencies. Mr Lamyman says: “Molybdenum and boron are two of the most deficient nutrients in peas. It does not matter how much P and K you apply they will not go up in yield if these are deficient.”
He applies molybdenum and boron-containing liquid fertiliser Rainbow Wave just before flowering, alongside micronutrient products XStress and ToPPit. Further applications of micronutrients are made during and after flowering, with calcium introduced in the form of CalFlux.
Mr Lamyman explains that when under stress, such as during the hot, dry weather in summer 2018, plants draw calcium away from the flowering nodes and this can lead to pods/flowers aborting, adding that CalFlux helps to mitigate this.
He says: “CalFlux puts calcium into the flowering area of the plant. We didn’t get abortion and produced massive amounts of pea numbers.
“XStress allows the stomata to open above 25degC; without the product they shut down at 25degC. The combination of CalFlux and XStress has given us the yield.”
Current values for large blue peas suitable for human consumption are about £300/t, says Chris Guest, managing director, Dunns. “For human consumption you need less than 10 per cent bleaching with prices ranging from £250-£300/t. It is all about harvesting at the correct time.”
Assuming an average yield of 3.9t/ha, a gross margin of £750/ha is achievable, says Mr Guest.
“With Mr Lamyman’s 2018 yield of 5.6t/ha and increased variable costs of £100/ha [to account for additional nutrition products] the potential return is £1100/ha.”
Early insecticide: Hallmark (lambda-cyhalothrin) 50ml/ha to control weevil damage.
Spray application just before flowering: X-Stress (copper + iron + manganese + zinc) 1l/ha. ToPPit (phosphorus + potassium + magnesium + boron + cobalt + copper + iron + manganese + molybdenum + zinc) 2l/ha. Rainbow Wave (boron + molybdenum) 1l/ha.
Spray application at flowering: Aphox (pirimicarb) 280g/ha. Signum (boscalid + pyraclostrobin). XStress (1l/ha). ToPPit (2l/ha). Calflux (calcium + zinc) 0.5l/ha.
Two weeks after flowering spray application:
XStress (1l/ha). ToPPit (2l/ha). CalFlux (0.5l/ha).