Great care should be taken when harvesting peas to maintain quality, says the PGRO. Frequently growers are tempted to leave the crop just one or two days too long before combining. When they are ready, peas should be the priority for harvest resources.
Yield and quality can be affected very quickly if peas are left too long before harvesting, and when moisture content is allowed to fall below 12% or peas are over-dried, the proportion of ‘non-soakers’ may increase or they may split or crack.
Bleaching will occur in bright sunny weather – and wet weather at harvest can cause staining, adversely affecting quality.
Peas will shatter from pods more easily if left in the field too long increasing pre-harvest losses.
When combining, growers are advised to keep the forward speed up and good flow though the machine. Check and adjust for header and combine losses.
Peas can be combined when moisture content reaches 18%, and higher quality seed and human consumption is often achieved by harvesting at 18–20% moisture content followed by careful drying.
Attention to these points is essential, stresses the PGRO. The difference between a good quality sample and one that goes for animal feed can easily be more than £100/t, that is an average of £500/ha off the gross margin.