Trial Report Summary

Irrigation effects on the production of different Pea varieties

Crop Type(s):

Dennis Lange, Provincial Pulse Specialist
Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Initiative Cooperative (BASIC)


To find out how irrigation affects phenology and yield of different pea varieties.

Project Findings:

The summer during 2018 was exceptionally drier at Arborg site. Pea varieties tested in these trials actively grew between June 1 – Aug 30 and Arborg got only 72 % of the normal rainfall during this period. On the other hand, this site received more heat than usual (Growing degree-days – 109% of the normal). Irrigation actually benefitted peas in terms of yield rather than causing any stress in such a dry and hot environment. A total of 14.5 inches of irrigation were applied over seven weeks and the maximum irrigation given per week was three inches. Deficit soil moisture and probably high evapotranspiration resulted in high water demand of the crop and irrigation applied at regular intervals helped in meeting this demand.

Pea varieties varied in their response to irrigation. Inca was the only variety, which did not show any response to irrigation applied. To create excess moisture conditions in a drier year, a more comprehensive irrigation plan is needed in future evaluations. Probably flooding peas continuously for few days will be a more realistic approach in a drier year.


Peas perform well in relatively dry soil conditions and are susceptible to diseases under excess moisture conditions. Under optimum soil moisture conditions, peas will use 12-15 inches of water (McKenzie and Woods, 2011). Cannel and Jackson (1981) reported that peas waterlogged for continuous five days at 4-5 leaf and pod-filling stage suffered most yield loss. However, when peas were grown under excess moisture for two days, they did not suffer any yield loss.

If soil is deficit in moisture, peas can be successfully grown under irrigation. Early maturing, short-vined varieties are best suited to this type of production. Yields can be much higher than dry land production. Pezeshkpour et al. (2008) reported that supplemental irrigation has increased the seed yield and the biological yield of peas.

In the current study, we evaluated six commonly grown pea varieties under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions to see their response.

McKenzie R and S Woods (2011) Crop water use and requirements. Government of Alberta, Agri-facts.

Cannell, RQ and Jackson MB (1981) Alleviating aeration stresses in modifying the root environment to reduce crop stress. GF Arkin and HM Taylor (Eds.) ASAE Monograph, Pp 141-192.

Pezeshkpour P, Mousavi SK, Shahabu SH, Kalhor M, Khourgami A (2008) Effects of supplemental irrigation and crop density on dryland pea (Pisum sativum L.) production in Hamadan province. Iranian J. Agric., 39(2): 389-397.


Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.

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