To Combine Food Plot Forages or Not to Combine...That's The Question!

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Habitat' started by Nice Shot 1982, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Nice Shot 1982

    Nice Shot 1982

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    Another newby question :)

    So, I am planning to plant a few different varieties of forage this year. Clovers, oats, rape, brassicas, etc. Probably about 1-2 acres total.

    That said, should I plant separate 1/4 acre plots with each variety or just blend them all together?

    Obviously, each forage requires somewhat different seeding rates, nutrition, fertilizer, etc. I see some blends have a lot of these varieties mixed in 1 bag (e.g. evolved harvest 7-card stud), but I'm just trying to understand what the benefits of each method is.

    What'd a guy to do? Thoughts? Experiences?

    Thanks, fellow Whitetail Habitat friends!
     
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  2. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    Clover could be planted with rye or oats. It is a perennial so you would only need to plant every 3-5 years depending on your bed prep and maintenance. Brassica and cereal grains require different planting dates.

    My recommendation would be to purchase Ed Spinazzola’s food plot book. It will save you more time and money than the book costs.
     

  3. northwoods whitetails

    northwoods whitetails

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    We plant ours in various strips. Strips of white clovers, strips of brassicas and strips of a combo of red clover, rye, oats, peas and radishes. Paul Knox developed this many years back and we still use it today.
    Look for Dbltree/ lickcreek strip planting. Days worth of reading.
     
  4. hunterrep

    hunterrep

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    I do the same thing but have pared down all of my annual food plot plantings to brassicas and a mixture of grains (wheat, rye and oats mixed together). I plant in strips like the picture attached. I will rotate next year and plant brassicas on the RH side of the plot. The reasoning is, deer will hit the different plantings at different times. I want to give them as much diversity in one plot so that they use it more often throughout the season regardless of what they are eating at the time. Many times they are eating just the grains. Other times just the brassicas. Other times they are eating both.
    You could mix these together, and I do broadcast some grains into the brassicas, but I separate them like this simply because brassicas require a rotation and both require separate planting dates about a month apart. thumbnail.jpg
     
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  5. Nice Shot 1982

    Nice Shot 1982

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    That pic says it all! Awesome! Thanks!
     
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  6. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    A good spot to look to see what worked and wasn’t producing are the LFTS daily threads. Lots of pics of deer using food sources at different times of the season.
     
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  7. cakebaker

    cakebaker

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    Clover, rye and radish get hammered every year at my place.
     
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  8. Nice Shot 1982

    Nice Shot 1982

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    I assume you mean that they get hammered together as one plot, right?
     
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  9. don

    don Premium Member

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    I always plant some type of blend in each plot, regardless of size. All plots are divided into halves or strips with each section planted to perennial clovers, grains with annual clovers and/or winter peas, and some planted with a mix of clovers and forage radish, turnips, rape, or other brassicas.
    With this method I can seed at different depths in each strip or half, mow if necessary, and easily rotate as needed.
    I want to keep something growing somewhere in each plot 365 days of the year as it helps with weed competition, soil erosion and compaction, and also provides a source of green forage thru the winter and into spring when the animals need it most.
    I let the farmers provide the majority of the food during the summer months but just the same, I want them to remember where my plots are all year around.
    Lots of good information available in the Curated Post section, it will be worth your time to check it out if you haven't already.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  10. cakebaker

    cakebaker

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    Yes, in strips. Dbltree was a great person I've spent a lot of time on the phone and email with him about deer Habitat. He is the reason my miscanthus and switchgrass plantings have done so great. IMG_20180217_083804.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  11. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    You don’t have to worry about getting things perfect. Many factors come into play that can and will impact your plots and success. Weather is the biggest factor and your neighbors are probably next in line.

    No rain, too much rain or rain at the wrong time. Weather around Michigan is greatly controlled by the Great Lakes so clouds also impact the amount of sunshine your plots can receive.

    Things that you can control are what you need to work on. A soil test is the cheapest part of a plot and often the step that is skipped. If your soil ph needs amending it takes time to work. It could take up to 6 months to get it near 6.5, that’s a full growing season in most of Michigan. That doesn’t mean you can’t plant it just means incorporate lime in first.

    Neighbors are something else that can impact your plots. Not killing enough deer, killing too many, their habitat and what they plant will impact your plots. The reasons are obvious.

    What to plant is down the list of things to do. Your soil will tell you more than any of us can. Get it near a ph of 7, fertility near optimum levels and get the organic content up then experiment with a variety of seeds. You’ll figure out what’s best in a season or two, just as soon as that happens Mother Nature will throw a curve ball at you.

    Good luck and just do it.
     
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  12. Nice Shot 1982

    Nice Shot 1982

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    Great insight. Really appreciate it! C'mon Spring!!