Evaluation of southern peas as cash cover crop in Pennsylvania

Final Report for FNE08-625

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2008: $5,399.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Michael Byers
Demeter's Garden
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Project Information


The goal of this project is to evaluate southern peas (common names, cowpeas, black-eye peas, crowder peas, etc.) as an income producing crop also capable of increasing nitrogen availability in the following planting year. Four replicate plantings of three varieties of southern peas were established at a population of 70,000 plants/acre following soil tests. Picking commenced August 16 and continued for 6 weeks. Peas from each replicate were weighed after picking, shelled using a Taylor Little Giant pea sheller and the shelled peas weighed again. Texas Pinkeye was the earliest variety and had the greatest yield.

Overall shelled pea yield was 151 lbs which were sold at farmers market or to restaurants at average of $2.75/lb. Some customers were familiar with fresh black-eye peas and were pleased to find in the market. Others unfamiliar with the products that purchased peas made additional purchases. The product was well received. No appreciable difference in soil nitrogen in the plot was detected in soil test taken the following spring. The labor required for harvesting and shelling and the need for weed control are negatives.

See full report attached.


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  • Dr. Elsa Sanchez


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.