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Food Plots

cotty16

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Well, we are getting into the Spring planting season. What do you guys plant and when? I have a nice tract of land that I can use with a few different locations for plots. Some is full sun, some partial, some pretty shady. Will anything work in the shady area? Is a variety of items a good idea?
I'm just throwing some questions out there.

Two years ago I planted Antler King along with alot of clover in May. This past season I focused on brassicas, sorghum, and winter wheat (again planting in May).

What has worked for you guys? :smiley_chinrub:

Suggestions for Spring and Fall planting?
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Well, we are getting into the Spring planting season. What do you guys plant and when? I have a nice tract of land that I can use with a few different locations for plots. Some is full sun, some partial, some pretty shady. Will anything work in the shady area? Is a variety of items a good idea?
I'm just throwing some questions out there.

Two years ago I planted Antler King along with alot of clover in May. This past season I focused on brassicas, sorghum, and winter wheat (again planting in May).

What has worked for you guys? :smiley_chinrub:

Suggestions for Spring and Fall planting?

Food plots in the spring are a hassle, atleast IMO. In the spring you typically have decent growing conditions, however, the weeds are starting to germinate and I have found it is an ever ending struggle trying to keep the weeds at bay.

To counter that obstacle I started planting fall food plots. On my farm I plant a variety of forages including grains (oats, rye), clover (both red and white) and brassicas (turnips, rape and radishes). The above forages are cheap to plant and provide nutritious foarges to my deer when they need it most. Here's a couple of my can't fail mixes that I use on a rotation every year to feed my deer:. All pounds are per acre:

My grain mix:
50-80# of winter rye (not rye grass)
80-120# of oats (don't buy buck forage, buy regular feed mill oats for $8 a bag).
20-40# of field peas
5# of radishes
8-12# of red clover or 4-6# of white clover

How to plant: Till ground and mix winter rye, oats and field peas into your hopper and broadcast. After planting the larger seeds drag the plot with a harrow or cultipacker to push the seeds 1/2-1" deep. Once you have dragged the plot, then overseed the plot with the tiny clover and radish seed and walk away. This mix will feed deer from two weeks after planting all the way through the next summer if you decide to till it. The winter rye rye will feed the deer all winter long and it will never die. It stays green and becomes a great forage for the deer when everything else is dead. The oats and field peas are more of an early season attractant. They will die off after a couple good frosts. The radishes, like all brassicas, will increase in sugar content once you have a freeze and is accompanied well to the rye as a late season food source. The clover is the sleep in the mix. In the fall it is establishing its root system and come spring it exploded out of the ground. At this time we have to go back to the rye because rye gives off alleopothetic chemicals that keeps many weeds from growing. By May, you have a clean weed free clover plot. The rye, as long as it's not planted real heavy, will mature and break off by June or so. If you plant the rye at 80# or more an acre you might have to cut it, but I normally do not. I let it seed out for the turkeys.

My brassica Mix:
3# purple top turnips
2# rape
5# radishes

Once again till ground and drag or cultipack ground before spreading seed. Brassica seeds are very tiny and if planted too deep they will not grow. After tilling and dragging plot, simply over seed the plot and walk away.

If you plant the above mixes and the deer won't eat it, you don't have any deer!

Plant the grain mix between August 15th-September 1 (approx 30-45 days before bow opener)
Plant the brassica mix from July 15-August 1 (approx 75-90 days before first frost)
 

jagermeister

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
16,638
166
Ohio
Food plots in the spring are a hassle, atleast IMO. In the spring you typically have decent growing conditions, however, the weeds are starting to germinate and I have found it is an ever ending struggle trying to keep the weeds at bay.

To counter that obstacle I started planting fall food plots. On my farm I plant a variety of forages including grains (oats, rye), clover (both red and white) and brassicas (turnips, rape and radishes). The above forages are cheap to plant and provide nutritious foarges to my deer when they need it most. Here's a couple of my can't fail mixes that I use on a rotation every year to feed my deer:. All pounds are per acre:

My grain mix:
50-80# of winter rye (not rye grass)
80-120# of oats (don't buy buck forage, buy regular feed mill oats for $8 a bag).
20-40# of field peas
5# of radishes
8-12# of red clover or 4-6# of white clover

How to plant: Till ground and mix winter rye, oats and field peas into your hopper and broadcast. After planting the larger seeds drag the plot with a harrow or cultipacker to push the seeds 1/2-1" deep. Once you have dragged the plot, then overseed the plot with the tiny clover and radish seed and walk away. This mix will feed deer from two weeks after planting all the way through the next summer if you decide to till it. The winter rye rye will feed the deer all winter long and it will never die. It stays green and becomes a great forage for the deer when everything else is dead. The oats and field peas are more of an early season attractant. They will die off after a couple good frosts. The radishes, like all brassicas, will increase in sugar content once you have a freeze and is accompanied well to the rye as a late season food source. The clover is the sleep in the mix. In the fall it is establishing its root system and come spring it exploded out of the ground. At this time we have to go back to the rye because rye gives off alleopothetic chemicals that keeps many weeds from growing. By May, you have a clean weed free clover plot. The rye, as long as it's not planted real heavy, will mature and break off by June or so. If you plant the rye at 80# or more an acre you might have to cut it, but I normally do not. I let it seed out for the turkeys.

My brassica Mix:
3# purple top turnips
2# rape
5# radishes

Once again till ground and drag or cultipack ground before spreading seed. Brassica seeds are very tiny and if planted too deep they will not grow. After tilling and dragging plot, simply over seed the plot and walk away.

If you plant the above mixes and the deer won't eat it, you don't have any deer!

Plant the grain mix between August 15th-September 1 (approx 30-45 days before bow opener)
Plant the brassica mix from July 15-August 1 (approx 75-90 days before first frost)

Good post, Darron. I can attest to your grain mix... as I basically used that mix last fall, minus the peas and radishes. It turned out pretty good, I thought. I haven't been down there yet this spring to see how my clover is doing, though.
 

Buckmaster

Senior Member
13,511
146
Portage
Darron,
What is your fertilizer of choice and how much do you broadcast per acre?

With 6-24-24 I priced this week at $18.99 per 50# I think I'm going to lighten up from my usual 300# per acre. I used to use 500# per acre back when fertilizer was $ 7.50/50#.
`BM
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Good post, Darron. I can attest to your grain mix... as I basically used that mix last fall, minus the peas and radishes. It turned out pretty good, I thought. I haven't been down there yet this spring to see how my clover is doing, though.

The peas I sometimes leave out as well. However it is the candy in the mix and the deer love it! It doesn't last long, especially on plots an acre or less. I was down to my farm yesterday. The clover I planted last August has jumped out of the ground with the few warm/sunny days we have had. The frost seeded clover I broadcasted on Feb 19 is starting to peep out of the ground. It will be about 30-45 days behind the fall planted clover. Nonetheless, by June I will have thick clover plots. The rye is springing to life as well at a great time because the woods are still bare. My plots look like cows have been walking through them eating the rye and clover popping up due to the amount of deer traffic. Keep in mind rye will germinate down to 34 degrees and actually grow at 37 degrees. Any warm days we have this spring the rye will keep growing. Once rye gets about 12" high or more it becomes less attractive to deer, which is why we have to make sure not to plant it too early in the summer. I have planted as early as 8/15 with good success. I wouldn't plant any earlier than mid-August.
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Darron,
What is your fertilizer of choice and how much do you broadcast per acre?

With 6-24-24 I priced this week at $18.99 per 50# I think I'm going to lighten up from my usual 300# per acre. I used to use 500# per acre back when fertilizer was $ 7.50/50#.
`BM

That's what I like about the grain mix above. I by no means have great soils and that mix thrives without fertilizer. In fact, you don't want to put too much fertilizer on the grain mix because it makes it grow fast. With grains, you want them to be anywhere from 3-8" come season, not 12". By putting fertilizer on them, you can actually make them grow too fast and become less attractive to deer. If one is wanting put fertilizer on that plot, I would do something with a low first # (nitrogen).

Brassicas on the other hand need Nitrogen. On an acre brassica plot I like to till in 150# of urea (46-0-0). This will feed your brassicas and make them explode out of the ground. With brassicas, unlike grains, we want them to create the most tonnage possible without seeding out and rotting.

I typically do not fertilize my grain mix. I'll put out lime to increase the soils PH, but that's about it. When I till the grain mix under to plant brassicas the clover and other organic matter in the food plot improves my soils.

Speaking of clover and nitrogen. I like to rotate my brassicas and grain/clover mix every year. Why? Because clover makes its own nitrogen. By leaving the clover in the field a minimum of 6 months, you are getting free nitrogen. The longer the clover stays there the more N it puts back in the soil. Till the clover under and plant brassicas------ free fertilizer!!I read in a farm magazine that an acre clover plot of one year can put as much as 30-50# of Nitrogen back in the soil which can reduce your cost in Nitrogen. Beats buying urea when one can buy red clover for 1.50 a pound.
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
I understand this is the deer forum, but the turkeys also approve of the grain mix as well. Before I get bombarded, I do not bait turkeys during season. I do however supplemental feed both deer and turkeys during the winter months (December through February) to help them through the winter wihen the food plots are covered with snow and ice. As you can see the feeder is empty and has been empty for a while.

This particular food plot is one of my kill plots and is located on 16 acres that I purchased last year that adjoins our other 90+ acres. It's only about 1/8th of an acre plot, but it is tucked back in a small clear cut area. Before I bought the property, I walked over it obviously and noticed some real nice areas for food plots. To the SE of this plot by about 150 yards I have a larger plot of about an acre or so. The deer stage up in this plot and around the thick areas before coming into the bigger plot as dusk. The bigger plot can be seen from the road, but I plan on taking care of that in a few days.

As you can see, the rye is really starting to green up and the clover will be shooting up here in the next few weeks given we have warmer weather. It will provide fresh succulent growth for both deer and turkeys. In addition, the fresh rye and clover will make great spots for turkeys to bug in the spring.
 

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Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Here's a pic of my upper food plot. This one is tough because of the shade factor. I thought about cutting back the edges, but when I took a closer look, I would be cutting almost all red and white oaks. I opted out of that idea. However, this shows rye and oats growing in very little sunlight.

The second pic is in the fall. As you can see the rye is about 3-6" tall and the turkeys are wearing it out as much as the deer. I love hunting over this food plot during the fall turkey season. And I enjoy hunting even more the flat above this plot that is full of white and red oaks as the deer transition to walk into the plot:smiley_bril: I love having a North wind in November because I am camped about 100-150 yards off this plot on a shelf of oaks catching bucks cruising down wind pof this food plot and the thick cover trying to smell out does.
 

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jagermeister

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
16,638
166
Ohio
Dang Darron, your property is just crawling with turks! Nice pics man. I planted the grain mix last fall during the first week of September, with no lime or fertilizer, and it grew really well considering the soil it was in. For a budget-minded foodplotter, I don't think you can go wrong with the grain mix for annual plots.
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Dang Darron, your property is just crawling with turks! Nice pics man. I planted the grain mix last fall during the first week of September, with no lime or fertilizer, and it grew really well considering the soil it was in. For a budget-minded foodplotter, I don't think you can go wrong with the grain mix for annual plots.

The grain mix I plant is cheap too! Well under $100 an acre. A bushel of rye (56#) is $15. A bushel of oats is $10. Field peas are around $20 for 50 pounds. Radishes are around $2 a pound. Red clover is $1.50 a pound. Really, $50 could get you everything you need.

I can't lay claim to the following mix though. An internet buddy of mine created it in Iowa and I have been hooked since.

As far as turkeys go they are really startting to rebound in my area. The past 3-4 years I have not seen the fall flocks like I did in previous years. Now I am getting flocks of 30-40 hens on a regular basis in the fall, winter and early spring. I'm still waiting for a longbeard to show up. Right now I have 5-6 jakes strutting it up.
 

Darron

Junior Member
273
0
Dayton, Ohio
Darron,
Which ag store are you acquiring most of your seed from?
BM

For larger bagged products like rye and oats I try to buy locally. I have a grain mill about 10 miles from my house. I usually buy all my heavy stuff from there to save on shipping. My clover and brassica seeds I usually buy from any larger reputable seed company on-line since the seed is lighter and you don't need as much of it.