Forage peas are becoming increasingly popular as a high quality, high protein supplementary feed for livestock either as a pure crop or in combination with cereal based forages.
Luisetti Seeds has recently launched its new Max Forage Pea cultivar, that offers growers higher yields and better feed quality than its predecessors. As a much later flowering cultivar, the Max Pea’s pod-fill synchronises with the cheesy dough stage of most forage cereals.
It is ideal in combination with high-yielding Luisetti Seeds forage cereal cultivars such as Intimidator oats. In a 2018/19 trial comparing several pea/ cereal combinations, this mix produced the top yield of 13.9 tonnes DM/ha with a Metabolisable Energy (ME) of 8.6 MJ/kg DM.
While Max was bred in New Zealand, it was further developed in the USA and field trials have shown it to be a solid performer in both countries. Max does particularly well in cooler climates and out-yields most other pea cultivars.
But it is Max’s nutritional profile which makes it a stand-out for use in livestock production systems. At the pod-fill stage, typical protein content is 13.3%, ME is 10.4 MJ/kg DM and digestibility is 69.3%.
Because it has a low anthocyanin level, Max is highly palatable to stock. When Max is grown with a cereal crop, it typically makes up 30% of the resulting crop but increases the overall protein and ME content, soluble sugars, starch content and digestibility.
Unlike some other forage peas, Max is resistant to powdery mildew, Fusarium wilt race 1 and pea seedborne mosaic virus. It is also resistant to bean yellow mosaic virus and tolerant to bean leaf roll virus.
North Canterbury farmer Phil Frampton grew a seed crop of Max peas on his Swannanoa farm for the first-time last season. Sown on 19 September, the crop was growing well until it was completely shredded by hail just prior to Christmas.
“It was 50:50 whether we put the mulcher through it or leave it. We decided to leave it, give it a spray (a Cusol and Proline fungicide) and it came away and came away pretty well,” says Phil.
He says while the crop yielded relatively well at 80.5t from 21ha or 3.83t/ha, it would have been a lot better if it hadn’t been shredded by the hail.
“What saved it, I think, is that it hadn’t quite got to the flowering stage, but it then had to get to that stage all over again.”
On-going dry weather could mean tight feed supplies this year, so a forage crop which generates high quality feed in winter and spring will...