Peas offer summer planting option at Old Junee

ON FARM: A pea crop at Bob McCormack's property "Lenton Park" at Winchendonvale vis Old Junee is showing early promise. Pictures: Nikki Reynolds

ON FARM: A pea crop at Bob McCormack's property "Lenton Park" at Winchendonvale vis Old Junee is showing early promise. Pictures: Nikki Reynolds

PICTURESQUE would one way to describe a crop of peas at Old Junee in southern NSW.

The summer crop, which has just started to flower, benefited from around 60mm of in-crop rainfall and is offering a further rotation option that might not traditionally be seen in this area.

Bob McCormack of "Lenton Park", at Winchendonvale planted the peas back in December and took the option to sow a summer crop to make use of the rainfall.

He said in past years summer months had been wetter and it was worth planting something rather than just leaving the paddock as fallow.

While the ultimate outcome of the crop is still to be determined there are numerous options.

The cow peas could be used for livestock to graze on or cut for hay.

Plus there's an option to harvest it for seed if the quality keeps progressing.

Mr McCormack said it was hoped the summer crop would fix nitrogen in the soil and he said indications from other growers of cow peas were that this option offered great nutritional value to grazing stock.

Dairy farmers in coastal areas, where summer rainfall is often higher than the inland regions, have benefited from putting peas in the rotation.

The dairy industry has also witnessed the high nutritional value of peas for feeding milking cows.

"I would think that this would be a good crop to feed cows and calves," Mr McCormack said.

"For us this was a case of looking outside the square ... it is something we haven't done before," he said.

In the past Japanese millet has been planted as a summer crop. And another alternative in this region for summer planting is a crop called LapLap beans.

Mr McCormack said he was planning to follow the crop of cow peas with oats as a winter planting option this winter.

"It's interesting, the (cow) peas look good but I have no idea as to how they might yield," he said.

"This really is a bit of the unknown," he said.

"I guess we will see how it pods up," he said.

At the "Lenton Park" property the McCormack family runs cattle and lambs plus winter and summer crops and a fodder option. Plus crops are grown for seed from time to time.

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