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No Till Food Plots - So Easy

at1010

*Supporting Member*
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As the deer population has increased on the farm and I continue to read more about the symbiotic relationship between plants and mycorrhizae. In laymen’s terms - roots and soil. Soil is alive folks!!

So this year I left the tiller in barn.

I created my own mix that balances the carbon to nitrogen ratios in the soil (I’ll share below). This mix will feed deer and soil microbes.

I have not added ANY fertilizer (I did add lime in spring).

step by step process
1. Spray glyphosate (round up)
2. Drive tractor with PTO on back and spread seed.
3. Pray for rain
(you can invert one and two. You also “pack” seed down if needed)

This heavily reduced my time and inputs planting fall plots, which allowed me to spend more money on seed and plant more acres!! Win win!!

still not sold?! Haha here are a few pics.
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
4,053
103
So at the farm this year we went through periods of drought. Because I did a “no till” method. I was able to maintain moisture via thatch.

this picture shows about 2-3 weeks after planting. Where there wasn’t a thatch layer the ground was cracking. Where there was thatch - the ground was damp, even from holding dew - reducing evaporation!
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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Mix
Rye grain
Oats
Triticale
Winter wheat
Hairy vetch
Radish
Turnips
Red clover
Crimson clover
Rape

In spring I’ll use same method but a mix to balance the CtoN - again reducing need for inputs by feeding soil microbes.

I hope you all find this interesting. I’m happy to answer any questions.
 
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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Why the vetch? As a N fixer?

Yes. Deer will browse it as well. Solid root structure and used a lot now as a cover crop by farmers going to no till.

A few things -
One - I used green cover seed.com. They have “smart mix” it’s free. I played with that and tried to shoot for my desired C:N - every species added, increases or decreases. This is important because if you have too many high C:N crops (wheat for example) after a few years the crops will NOT break down fast enough. The balance is important - so N fixing crops and lower CtoN helps with that balance for building soil.

The second item - diversity. There is assumed to be 1 trillion soil microbes and in today’s current environment, soil scientists believe they have identified 10% or less. The reason this is relevant, is because some crops being mixed and having diversity may show to be beneficial on the surface - example fixing nitrogen. However we could be missing a far greater positive impact that is happening below the surface.

By creating better soil through these methods - we can create higher nutrient density foods. Great for deer and people - as for deer is should drastically increase the “draw” after a few years of soil building.

A quote that stuck with me from Gabe Brown - “our grandpas could eat 1 orange for 7 we would need to eat today for the same amount of VC”

Diversity and building soil OM - will allow us to feed our families and deer higher nutrient dense foods!!

Sorry for long answer - just no simple way to answer it as we are on cusp of some major findings!!
 

at1010

*Supporting Member*
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Wanted to give you all some updates - plots are getting smashed this year. Saw 25 deer Saturday evening (most I’ve ever seen on farm in a sit).

I’ve got 10 acres of plots this year. No fert. No till.

I am impressed with results!! Can’t wait to keep building the OM!!
 
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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Update video on my no-till plots. Absolutely blown away at the tonnage produced, time saved, and the positive impact on the soil I will be having by not tilling, increasing inputs, etc.

Let me know what questions you all have!
 

at1010

*Supporting Member*
4,053
103

Update video on my no-till plots. Absolutely blown away at the tonnage produced, time saved, and the positive impact on the soil I will be having by not tilling, increasing inputs, etc.

Let me know what questions you all have!

I meant decreasing inputs*
 

at1010

*Supporting Member*
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103
Ok. So as the seasons are winding down, what is next?

Well my ultimate goal is to continue to keep active roots growing, build OM and continue to focus on capitalizing on the symbiotic relationship between plant and micro-organisms in the soil.

So how do I plan to do this?
Frost seed inexpensive clover - probably buy 10-12 acres worth to frost seed into my mix (already has some clover in it) in March or so.

I plan to then stay out and let nature do its thing. I am not concerned with weeds, mowing, spraying, etc.

Come May/June - I will broadcast into the fields a mix similar to below. This will feed deer, birds, pollinators, and most importantly soil.
1. sunflowers
2. buckwheat
3. Milo
4. sorghum
5. pumpkins
6. clovers (not sure which yet)
7. cowpeas
8. forage beans
9. spring oats
10. rapeseed

I will be adjusting this mix but that is my goal currently. I hope to broadcast right into thatch and whatever comes up, comes up. This fall, my mix that is in the above posts/videos will be seeded into this mix - at that time I may or may not spray GLY to kill of the existing plot. I will need to see how/what has grown up and how the fields look.
 
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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I think I've asked you this before, but why no birdsfoot trefoil?

No I don’t think we have covered that - if we have I don’t recall.

In all honesty - I never have thought about it. It’s a legume and in pea family so I am thinking it would be a great seed to add to the mix! Especially to balance some of the higher carbon ratioed grass type crops.

I may add it for next year!
 

jagermeister

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
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Ohio
Man I respect what you’re trying to do here, Albert... I really do. But broadcasting that mix in May/June over thatch that you haven’t sprayed or worked whatsoever is more than likely going to lead to just a bunch of wasted seed. That bigger stuff - sunflower, buckwheat, sorghum, pumpkin - has a pretty low probability of successful establishment. Any seed that is remaining after the birds and rodents pick away at it likely won’t have good enough seed to soil/thatch contact to germinate. Even if your sunflowers germinate, the deer will eat them before they even get to be 6” tall. I know I sound like a Karen with this post. I apologize in advance. I’m not trying to be overly critical... I guess I’m just really skeptical is all. If you were going to no-till by actually drilling seed into the soil I’d be all about it. But just throwing seed out willy-nilly like that seems like a waste of money and effort to me. Please please please prove me wrong in July!!!
 

at1010

*Supporting Member*
4,053
103
Man I respect what you’re trying to do here, Albert... I really do. But broadcasting that mix in May/June over thatch that you haven’t sprayed or worked whatsoever is more than likely going to lead to just a bunch of wasted seed. That bigger stuff - sunflower, buckwheat, sorghum, pumpkin - has a pretty low probability of successful establishment. Any seed that is remaining after the birds and rodents pick away at it likely won’t have good enough seed to soil/thatch contact to germinate. Even if your sunflowers germinate, the deer will eat them before they even get to be 6” tall. I know I sound like a Karen with this post. I apologize in advance. I’m not trying to be overly critical... I guess I’m just really skeptical is all. If you were going to no-till by actually drilling seed into the soil I’d be all about it. But just throwing seed out willy-nilly like that seems like a waste of money and effort to me. Please please please prove me wrong in July!!!

Well a few things here - as I agree with you buddy.

1. I’ll seed heavy to accommodate some predation.
2. I don’t have the goal of feeding deer - I want to feed soil. So even if a plant gets nipped - I’m extremely happy as long as roots are established and still growing.
3. I’m not sold on method yet. If my farm was flat ground I’d rent a drill. However it just isn’t possible and I don’t have means for compact drill currently.
4. I’ve been told time and time again I cannot do things, so I try them lol! Yes it’s a bitch to be married to me lol! Hahah. All joking aside. Last year I was told buckwheat into established clover would never work. So I tried it. I had a fantastic stand of buckwheat emerge. Much did get browsed by deer but it was still growing and feeding soil microbes untill I planted my fall crop.

All in all - it is trial and error for me. Worse case scenario I am out a little money and will adjust untill I do buy a compact drill - which taht market is becoming more affordable every year.

Also not a Karen at all brother. Skepticism is a good thing! Without it we would never develop new ideas!!
 

jagermeister

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
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187
Ohio
Well a few things here - as I agree with you buddy.

1. I’ll seed heavy to accommodate some predation.
2. I don’t have the goal of feeding deer - I want to feed soil. So even if a plant gets nipped - I’m extremely happy as long as roots are established and still growing.
3. I’m not sold on method yet. If my farm was flat ground I’d rent a drill. However it just isn’t possible and I don’t have means for compact drill currently.
4. I’ve been told time and time again I cannot do things, so I try them lol! Yes it’s a bitch to be married to me lol! Hahah. All joking aside. Last year I was told buckwheat into established clover would never work. So I tried it. I had a fantastic stand of buckwheat emerge. Much did get browsed by deer but it was still growing and feeding soil microbes untill I planted my fall crop.

All in all - it is trial and error for me. Worse case scenario I am out a little money and will adjust untill I do buy a compact drill - which taht market is becoming more affordable every year.

Also not a Karen at all brother. Skepticism is a good thing! Without it we would never develop new ideas!!
Like I said, much respect to you brother... I know you’re no dummy. I’m super curious to see how this works out for you.

Have you approached your local Soil & Water Conservation District and/or local Pheasants Forever chapter about borrowing or renting a drill? I know a lot of the SWCDs have equipment available for use on private land. A lot of times they have seed available too.
 
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at1010

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Like I said, much respect to you brother... I know you’re no dummy. I’m super curious to see how this works out for you.

Have you approached your local Soil & Water Conservation District and/or local Pheasants Forever chapter about borrowing or renting a drill? I know a lot of the SWCDs have equipment available for use on private land. A lot of times they have seed available too.

Yea I know the guy, my issues is two fold.
1. I have a 40HP tractor and my county has a damn large GP drill - I think min. is 70HP (might be 80HP).
2. My secondary issue is I need a 3pt drill hook up vs. tow off draw-bar type - just the way the farm terrain is, trails, and size of plots, Id spend more dang time backing up then I would planting with a tow type drill.....pain in ass!! Hahaha

I have a few other ideas but just have not completely decided.

1. Is to seed and spray GLY - just as I did with my fall plot. The dying thatch will cover seed, and allow the spring/summer mix to come up -plus thatch will help protect it from predation some. However, I worry about the GLY binding to some of the micro-organisms in the soil, reducing their activity levels (I know Gabe Brown noticed this, he still uses some herb. but heavily reduced). I need to use it for my fall plot and would like to maintain only one spray period a year.

2. If I had a crimper - I thought I could seed in the standing rye and then crimp the entire field. Again creating that thatch layer for seed to germinate.

All of this to say, I love the journey of building soil/habitat work as much or more than hunting!
 

jagermeister

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Supporting Member
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Ohio
Yea, I think spraying Gly would be the ticket. But I understand your concerns of harming soil microbes. That being said, I don’t know a farmer who doesn’t spray Gly, and they’re as concerned about soil health as anyone. My vote.... spray baby, spray.
 

triple_duece

Ragin Cajun.
7,751
138
Your on the right track w soil mending. There is a great thread about it on texasbowhunter.com. Look for “a year in the life of a farm”. This guy has been doing this for years. Be prepared to read for a day and take notes. He has very good results.
 
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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You eating dirt? Or deer? 😉🤣[/QUOTE/]

hopefully deer who have ate from a nutrient dense diet that ive created for them.

That is one thing that’s overlooked about regen ag practices. Over the last hundred years the nutrients in our foods and deer food has decreased per same unit of measure from years prior.

A common example used is “we need to eat 3-4 oranges to get the same vitamin C our grandpas did”

This is also found in beef as well. As we have depleted soils our nutrient density’s of food have been depleted. So yes a cow today - in most circumstances- has less iron than 50 years ago, as another example.

Much of this is getting reversed as we focus more on how the SOIL actually works and stop treating it as just dirt.

I know I know. I am a nerd about this. Haha.

I am proud to say I have a few spots with 5% OM in Appalachia soils - which is just the beginning for me I believe!!!
 
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