Winter Pea (Pisum sativum)
Plant Characteristics: Viney winter annual with alternate leaflets and thoohed margins. Flowers could be purple, pink, or white.
Establishment: Best time to plant is between September and October at a rate of 30 to 40 lb/ac in a pure stand or 20 to 30 lb/ac mixed with small grains. Seed should be planted at a 1 to 1.5-inch depth. Downy mildew can be a problem during warm, wet winters. Can be also affected by pea weevil, aphids, and nematodes.
Fertilization: Poor tolerance to acid soils. Adapted to well-drained loam or sandy loam soilss. Austrian winter peas do best in a pH range of 6.3 to 7.0. It requires adequate phosphorus and potassium.
Grazing/Hay Management: Used as silage or green manure. It could be utilized from March to October. Yields range from 1.5 to 2.5 tons/ac. Usually cut on April for silage but very difficult to cure. Not well adapted for grazing because plants can be easily damaged by trampling. Austrian winter peas fit well into a rotation from winter small grain to grain sorghum.
Forage Quality: High quality. Low bloat potential.
Varieties/Cultivars: Granger, Fenn, and Melrose.