[Truncated abstract] Field pea (Pisum sativum) has many benefits when included in the crop rotation system in broadacre grain farming. These benefits include a disease break and improved weed control for cereals and less dependence on nitrogenous fertilisers due to the leguminous nature of pea. Currently, field pea adoption in Australia is low because the crop is susceptible to the fungal disease `black spot’ (Mycosphaerella pinodes) and has low stem strength and a lodged canopy. Black spot causes yield losses averaging 10-15% per year. Lodging results in difficult and costly harvesting, increased disease pressure and increased wind erosion from exposed soil surface when stems break at the basal nodes. This project aimed to address these problems through breeding, and through the application of quantitative genetics theory to a recurrent selection program. A quantitative measurement of relative stem strength was developed which could be used effectively in the field on single plants. Accurate laboratory measurements of stem strength were closely correlated with the field measure of compressed stem thickness in the basal node region. A diallel analysis of stem strength of the progeny of crosses among a range of pea lines with different values of compressed stem thickness concluded that the genetic control of stem strength was additive, with no maternal inheritance or dominance or epistasis effects.