Development of winter pea lines for intercropping purposes

The project addresses the first FY12 program area for biologically intensive and organic approaches to sustainable management of fertility and plant nutrition. The objective of the project is to identify pea lines that can be fall planted and will fix the maximum amount of nitrogen by early spring. Such lines would be suitable for intercropping with winter wheat over the winter and destruction by cultivation or herbicides to release nutrients to the developing wheat crop. The peas could also be used as a winter cover crop. The main difference between the lines under development and existing winter pea varieties will be the fact that they are selected for high N fixation as well as other traits that should enhance their utility for intercropping. We will also determine how much genotypic variation is present in winter pea lines for the ability to fix N and see if traits like early flowering and hypernodulation are associated with early spring N fixation.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 103
  • Project Status: Complete




We have identified a good green winter pea line for experiments to determine the feasibility of intercropping with winter grains or winter cover cropping before planting spring grains.

We have also identified good parents for the next cycle of breeding for the project, and have made crosses. We have also identified traits that we will select for in the future, like shoot N content and others that we will not, like root weight, root N content, and nodule number.

It will take some time to combine the traits identified into one or a few lines that should be optimal for winter intercropping or winter season green manures.