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Planting peas gains popularity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becca Brandt   

As July approaches, people all over the Great Plains region gear up for wheat harvest. Almost everywhere one can see fields full of grain but west of Holyoke, hidden from view, are 200 acres of peas in full bloom.

Larry Haynes planted the legume for the first time this year on a small patch of his land. His peas and other legumes are beneficial when planted as they release nitrogen into the soil that can be used by the next crop planted.

Haynes isn’t the only farmer to try his hand at pea planting. Peas are becoming a more popular cover crop on dryland, as they provide nutrients to the soil while still yielding a profitable harvest.

Traditionally, summer fallow has been the go-to method for conserving moisture and maintaining soil health. The ground sits idle during a growing season in the hopes that the conserved resources will increase yields during the next season.

A field of green pea plants speckled with small white flowers sits outside Larry Haynes’ house. The legume was added to the crop cycle primarily to add nitrogen to the soil.
—Enterprise photo

Planting during the first part of April, Haynes hopes the peas will be beneficial to his wheat crop, which will be planted in September, rather than seeking a profit from the peas. Haynes will harvest in July around the same time as wheat harvest.

“I’m hoping for improvements in the soil from the peas. I’ll be happy if I break even on the harvest,” noted Haynes.

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Holyoke Enterprise June 26, 2014