Panhandle Perspectives - October 17, 2017

2017 pea variety trial results available on-line

Results of the 2017 variety trials for field peas conducted by the University of Nebraska have been posted on the Nebraska Extension CropWatch website.

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Dipak Santra

The pea trials consisted of seven plots with up to 25 varieties at each location. Locations included Scotts Bluff County irrigated and dryland, Box Butte County dryland, Cheyenne County dryland, Lincoln County dryland, Perkins County dryland, and Webster County dryland.

For each variety at each site, the CropWatch website report lists yield (listed according to rank); test weight; and information on flowering and plant height; and other information about the growing season and production practices at each location.

Dipak Santra, alternative crops breeding specialist at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, coordinated the variety trials, as well as a series of variety plot tours last summer.

Pea varieties planted in the trials could be grouped into several categories, Santra explained. The first group consists of older, robust lines that produce consistent yields, but aren’t the highest-yielding lines. Examples include DS-Admiral, SW Midas, Jetset, and Spider.

The next group includes newer varieties with a slightly higher yield. It will take a couple years to see how robust and consistent their yield will be, according to Santra. These varieties include AC Earlystar, Mystique, Salamanca, and Nette 2010 (marketed as Nette). Certified seed of these varieties will be available in 2018.

Finally, several new lines were planted that are not yet producing certified seed in Nebraska, but look promising and for which seed of selected varieites should be available within a couple years, including Durwood and CDC Saffron.

Santra said interest in growing peas continues to increase among farmers. He estimated that close to 100,000 acres were planted in 2017, and the growing area has expanded eastward to the Lexington-Holdrege area in south-central Nebraska.

The variety trial results are at

Results for 2017 and recent years are listed on that page for both dry beans and peas, along with oats, proso millet, and sunflower. Dry bean variety trial results are expected to be posted this winter, after UNL crews have finished harvest, sorting and cleaning, and data analysis.

The pea variety trial sites included UNL plots at the Panhandle Research Extension Center, the UNL High Plains Ag Lab, and the West Central Research and Extension Center, as well as farms of cooperating growers. Santra acknowledged help and cooperation of Steve Tucker (Perkins County) Brad Hansen (Box Butte County), and Tim Engelhardt (Webster County). Several of the locations hosted field days in June.

Reports for each site were compiled by Santra. The pea variety testing project is collaborative program among several UNL specialists, educators and staffs. Santra recognized contributions from Rodrigo Werle, Dryland Cropping System Specialist at WCREC; John Thomas, Cropping Systems Extension Educator in Box Butte County; Strahinja Stepanovic, Cropping Systems Extension Educator in Perkins, Chase and Dundy Counties; and Allison Rickey, Vernon Florke, and Liberty Butts, all Research Technicians.

Growers should also watch for winter production meetings, Santra said. He said UNL and local industry representatives from New Alliance are discussing jointly sponsoring meetings in early 2018.

Pea variety trial field day 2017
Mature field pea variety trial plot
Top photo: Farmers line the borders of field pea variety plots in June during the open house at the UNL High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney.
Bottom photo:  Field peas are matured and ready to harvest in this variety trial plot near Grant, Neb.