Planting into “Out of Control” Peas – The Rest of the Story

In September 2011 I posted about an Ohio farmer that planted into “out of control” peas and shared about his story of how the field was looking pre-harvest.  I have recently visited with Dave (the producer) and he shared the information that a number of you asked for…and also surprising yield data. Dave farms with his father-in-law Ron in Mercer County, Ohio near Rockford (NW Ohio).

Sometimes it takes courage to farm with cover crops! Dave and his father-in-law Ron planted with confidence as the ground was "very mellow" compared to other ground without a cover crop.

Here are Dave’s observations and the 2010-2011 field history:

  • Hog Manure applied late summer of 2010 – 5000 gal/ac
  • No other fall fertilizer
  • N-Vest Groundbreaker Mix (Austrian Winter Peas and GroundHog Radish) planted Labor Day weekend 2010

Peas that survived – and other weeds, wheat, clover, etc. – were sprayed (after a wet, wet spring) on June 2, 2011.


Herbicide/Insecticide Mix: (rates per acre)
20 gal Water
Alliance – .2 gal   (1 gal/100 gal water)
Roundup WeatherMax – 44oz
Weedone 650 – 1pt
PowerLock Surfactant – 6oz
Baythroid (insecticide) – 2oz

Corn was planted on June 3, 2011.

Additional Fertilizer applied (in addition to nutrients from manure and N from peas)

20 gal/ac 10-34-0 starter fertilizer with 1qt/ac zinc

40 gal/ac 28-0-0 side dress with Agrotain N stabilizer


Even though several acres in the area were too wet to plant this field of peas was in great shape as you can see the row closed "perfectly" behind the planter.

Weigh wagon test showed 215 bu dry yield.  Dave guesses the whole field average was between 200-215 dry (he has no scales at home to check weight of entire crop).
Dave also thinks that the yield was 10-15 bu better that most of their other corn (w/o manure and w/o cover crops).

The seed placement of this no-till planting into the peas was "near-perfect".

All things considered…the wettest spring in Eastern Corn Belt History, late planting date, planting into 3+ foot tall peas, < 1″ of rain in the month of July (with 22 days 90 degrees or more), a wet fall that delayed harvest..and the result was over  200 bushels/acre.  I’d take that everyday for that part of Ohio, and so will Dave and his father-in-law Ron.

The roots on the peas were massive by early June. Don't expect this in most years but this certainly did not hinder planting, getting a good stand, or attaining a very high yield!

Other observations from Dave:


Better soil structure

Deeper root penetration by corn roots

Great seedbed to plant into

Great soil cover after cover crop was killed

Better water retention thru the dry months

Nutrients saved from hog manure


Too much growth in wet spring

Took a lot of time to plant due to pea growth


Thanks Dave for sharing your story!

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5 Responses to Planting into “Out of Control” Peas – The Rest of the Story

  1. larry bonnell February 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    hi dave/iwould love to have them winter peas that tall in my cover crops. in michigan just getting them to survive the winter.i have been using winter peas annual rye clover and some other cover crop seed. i have seen my phosphours and potash soil test keep going up.i use cover crops on some fields every year.phosphours soil test showed up at 188 lbs and potash was 300.i even broadcast25 lb of annual rye into corn stubble on march 1 and planted soybeans on may 1 i had 6in of growth of annual rye .keep your soil covered and our bugs will help you.i have never had a problem with aphids since i went no till and use cover crop

  2. David Mull May 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    how much N-Vest Groundbreaker per acre planted? where did you get the seed

  3. Dave May 15, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Hi David, Where are you from?
    The producer planted 35#/acre of the N-Vest Groundbreaker Mix (the recommended rate). He bought his N-Vest GroundBreaker from Cover Crops*USA out of Indianapolis, IN.

  4. Dick August 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Dave, what is best weed control in wheat stubble before notilling radishes and winter peas?

  5. Dave August 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Dick, I know of guys that have sprayed 2,4-D and Glyphosate or Gramoxone and then waited 10-14 days before planting the peas and Radish mixture. Check with your chemical rep first but that’s kind of been the word on the street about what folks have success with. Dave