So much here to discuss.After 15 years of plotting, I feel I have a very easy way. I always have some perennial clover(actually crimson clover which is an annual but reseeds itself every year) available but other than that don't feel the need to put the time and expense into summer plots as there is so much available to them.
As for fall plots, I have pared it down to brassicas(which are on a short leash of being disregarded) and grain plots. All plots are no tilled. My equipment includes a quad sprayer, a broadcast spreader, and a drag. I spray my plots 3 times throughout the summer, broadcast triple 19 and brassicas on August 1st, broadcast triple 19 and my wheat rye and oats grain mix on September 1st and run over it with a drag. I follow up by over seeding in mid September with more grains.
This has worked so well and takes so little time and expense I sold my disc. I do about 3 acres(mostly micro plots) in less than a day and costs around $250 for the year. Can't get any easier than that.
Great and enviable philosophy - I'm all for accomplishing my objectives with a minimum of time and expense. This sounds like a very workable formula.
Stream of consciousness time:
Do you mow your clover?
Though I always have clover in my rotation, it remains a very viable deer draw throughout the hunting seasons through January 1. I have found the ladinos and, especially, alice white to be highly preferred in the late season. I've grown crimson clover a few times and found it well consumed by deer. However, when mixed with the whites, I've found it gets outcompeted and diminishes in time on my dirt.
After well over a decade of planting every variety of rape and turnip known to man, I pared my brassicas down to zero a few years ago. Though they weren't expensive in time or money to grow, deer use of this stuff was so negligible that it simply wasn't worth it. I understand that in some places that deer may take some time to develop a taste for brassicas; at my farm, I'm convinced that could mean something like 50 to 60 years, and I'm not that patient.
Cereal grains are wonderful and I grow them every year. A solid draw in my area, and they have the advantage (at least so far as wheat and rye are concerned) of providing an excellent food source for hungry deer during spring greenup. And they are particularly dynamite if you get a good thaw in December after an extended cold spell. Of the three, my favorite is wheat.
I like your comment about planting grains on September 1. My target is Labor Day, though I've gone as late as 09/17 with very good results. Unless I'm planting with a mix of other stuff that require an earlier planting date, I will never again plant grains before September 1. I've found that when I do so, and get excellent growing conditions, the wheat/oats/rye gets too tall, too tough, and too stemmy, and the deer will pretty much ignore it.
Lower maintenance foodplotting is compelling. Not yet for me, though, as I like to plant soybeans every year. And I've been impressed with the results of combining them with sugar beets.