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General Characteristics
- Field pea is a cool-season legume crop that is grown on over 25 million acres worldwide. Field pea or “dry pea” is marketed as a dry, shelled product for either human or livestock food. Field pea differs from fresh or succulent pea, which is marketed as a fresh or canned vegetable.

Short history and use  

- First cultivated as early as 9,000 years ago pea is among the world's oldest crops. Feed peas belong to the family of cool season legume crops commonly referred to as pulses, which includes lentil, fababean, bean and chickpea. The pea is native to the Middle East, and has been cultivated in Europe for several thousand years. It is now grown in all climatic zones including the tropics where it is grown at high elevations. While used primarily for human consumption, the pea is also known as a high quality animal feed.

Peas Fields

Pea types

                 Austrian Winter Peas                             Green Peas                                            Maple Peas                  
                                                 Marrowfat Peas                      Yellow Peas 

 - Field pea is primarily used for human consumption or as a livestock feed. Field pea is a grain legume commonly used throughout the world in human cereal grain diets.Dry pea contains approximately 21-25 percent protein and high levels of carbohydrates. Being a grain legume, it has high levels of amino acids, lysine and tryptophan, which are relatively low in cereals.

Peas harvest 

 - Peas are ready to harvest in approximately 60-70 days. When pods of the peas appear to be swelling with rounded pea forms visible, they are ready for picking. 

The big picture regarding peas on a global scale

 - Pea is grown on about six to eight million hectares (ha) annually and total production ranges from 10 to 12 million tonnes per year. The leading pea producing countries are: Canada, United States, India, Russia, France and China.

  - Pea was an important crop in Canada at the turn of the century, with Ontario averaging 288,000 ha for the 20 year period 1883 to 1902. However, by 1980 only 50,000 ha of the crop was grown in Canada, primarily in the three Prairie provinces. Pea was grown on almost one million ha (2.4 million acres) in Saskatchewan in 2010  and 600,000 ha (1.5 million acres) in 2011, indicating a significant change in cropping practices from the 300 ha reported in 1967. Pea has been a leading alternative cropas farmers move to diversify crop production in Saskatchewan. Both yellow and green cotyledon pea cultivars are grown, with an average of approximately 80 per cent of production in yellow cotyledon types. Most varieties have white flowers and the semileafless growth habit. Some niche-market types with coloured flowers and normal-leaf growth habit are also grown.  

Canadian pea production by type

Market Opportunities

 - In 2010, world pea exports were 1.29 billion dollars. The main exporting countries are: Canada, United States, European Union 27, Australia, and Ukraine. 

 - Canadian exports were close to $800 million in 2010. The top markets were India, China, Bangladesh, Cuba, Pakistan and the United States.

- In 2010, world pea imports reached over $1 billion dollars. The main importing countries are: India, China, EU27, Norway, Brazil, Canada and Sri Lanka.

 - Ukrainian and  Russian peas has two advantages over Canadian goods: first of all, this is a price that is more competitive in the domestic market of Russia, and the second - a more favorable rate of freight in India. The main benefit of Canadian peas - it's high quality. Russian peas are exported to India for the sole purpose of food consumption. Thus, the quality standards applied to the end consumer is very severe, and occasionally can be severe.

Seasonal Pea Price Index

Post-Harvest Storage and Handling  

 - Pea can be safely stored for long periods under cool dry conditions. Samples containing green weed seeds and other high moisture materials should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent heating. Storage moisture levels up to 16 per cent and temperatures below 15°C are considered safe for pea. The use of aeration fans to reduce moisture and temperature levels will improve storage. If supplemental heat drying through a dryer is necessary, air temperatures should not exceed 45°C to preserve germination. The sample should not be dried more than four to five percentage points per pass through the dryer. Large pea seeds dry slowly and if greater than 10 per cent moisture is to be removed, it may be best to do it in two passes with a minimum of eight hours between passes. This will allow the moisture in the seeds to equalize. Temperatures up to 70°C should only be used for drying feed pea. Pea seeds often respire or “go through a sweat” after being placed in storage. Extra care should be taken to monitor the grain inside the bin for moisture build-up or spoilage. Aeration fans can be used to cool the grain in the fall, and warm it in the spring to reduce moisture condensation in the bin. Pea seed is more susceptible to cracking and peeling if handled at temperatures below -20°C.