Beware of seeds in dark coats

Tannin content in chickpeas is not a worry, according to a recent Victorian Department of Agriculture survey.

But while chickpeas pose no problems, some varieties of field peas have quite high levels of tannin which is undesirable in human and animal diets.

Ways to avoid tannin

Before the survey, little was known about the tannin content of Australian chickpeas and field peas. Now there are some pointers to ensure that tannin levels are kept low in field peas used for animal feed.

Most of the tannin is concentrated in the seed coat, so dehulling is one way of avoiding adverse effects. High tannin varieties derive from lines with coloured flowers and have a dark seed coat. All varieties with pale cream or green seed were low in tannin. Graziers can thus select peas for use in animal feed on the basis of variety or seed colour.