Peas are often added to oats or barley forage crops in order to increase the protein content and palatability of the forage.
When blended with oats or barley, peas are normally seeded at 40 - 75% of normal seeding rate and cereals at 50 -60% depending on what you are trying to achieve with your forage blend.
Harvest timing of pea/cereal forage blends is critical in determining forage tonnage yield and protein content. Ideally the peas will flower a few days before the cereal plants start to head out. (If peas flower too early, the protein content can be reduced in the forage blend). Harvesting at the boot stage of the cereal crop will result in higher protein content and improved digestibility but will sacrifice some forage yield. This is the best timing for feed for dairy cattle. Delaying harvest to the cereal soft dough stage will maximize forage yield but will reduce the protein content. Typically for beef cattle, harvesting at the soft dough stage provides sufficient forage quality to meet producers feed goals.
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