Field Pea in European Cropping Systems: Adaptability, Biological Nitrogen Fixation and Cultivation Practices
This article provides an overview of the production and use of field pea in European farming systems. Pea is cultivated in Europe for both human consumption and for animal feeding. For food, pea is consumed as dry seeds, green pods or green seeds (fresh, canned or frozen). Field pea is also used for animal feed. Pea production has declined in the region; however, interest in pea cultivation has recently revived. Pea production provides several agronomic advantages in the Mediterranean region supporting more sustainable cropping systems and reduced nitrogen fertiliser use. Furthermore, peas for animal feed partly substitute for the increasingly expensive imported soybean. In addition to describing the current situation of pea cultivation and the future perspectives, this chapter reports on the adaptability of pea in Europe, cropping techniques with emphasis on modern farming practices and varieties that make their cultivation more profitable and more attractive to growers, and the cropping systems that are commonly used for field pea production. The currently applied cropping practices in the region, including rotation, soil tillage practices, fertilisation, sowing and crop density, weed, pest and disease management, irrigation and harvesting, are outlined.
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