Q: Good quality blue peas usually make the best prices, whilst bleached samples end up at the feed mill. Why is this?
A: Premium markets need peas that are as green in colour as possible. Micronizers want the pea to really stand out in the feed ration, whilst the canners have restrictions on the use of artificial colourings.
Q: How do we keep our peas green?
A: Harvesting your crop early before the peas bleach has always been good advice. Harvest at 18% moisture and then dry down gently, rather than waiting for the crop to get to 15% moisture, or below
Q: Do some varieties have better colour retention than others?
A: Yes, they do. Varieties like Kingfisher are specifically bred and selected for their excellent colour retention. Kingfisher has specific genes that help to retain the chlorophyll and keep the pea greener for longer.
Q: How does that work?
A: Limagrain work with a mutation of the Lox gene called Lox 3. This gene blocks the chlorophyll degradation pathway in the ripening pea – hence the pea stays green, rather than turning yellow or white. As breeders, we use markers to follow the gene so that we can select only those lines that will keep their colour and achieve the best prices for the grower.