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We have a 13 acre piece of property on Kirby Rd in Battle Creek. Its mostly open forest with some thick, swampy areas. We want to add a 1-2 acre plot there this coming Spring. I've read Ed Spinn's book but wanted to get your help as well.

The spot that we're thinking of is on higher ground with a mix of Maple, Oak, etc, near tall White Pines. We know we have to cut/hinge-cut some of these small Maples, Oaks to get ample sunlight thru.

The soil is a mix of sand and loam. The soil is exposed if the leaves are removed.

The question is what to plant. I've heard Rye is good for a starter plot. The problem is, we own the property but don't live near there...about an hour away. We can get chain-saws, but don't own tilling equipment or 4-wheeler. Is there a seed that is low-maintanence and also palletable for the deer? Are the "No-Plow" brands any good?

Also, if there's anyone near Battle Creek that could help us cut/develop this plot, send me a PM anytime.

Thanks, Mark-Holland
 

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What purpose are you trying to achieve with the food plots?

Given the ample amount of agricultural product in the area that you would be competing with and the fact that you already have oaks on the property producing a natural food source, you may be better off planting switchgrass or something similar to increase the amount of cover, instead of planting food plots.
 

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I would recommend renting equipment or paying a local farmer to turn the ground. Before I got serious about plotting I first rented a Kubota tractor with rear tiller which did an excellent job. I wouldn't plant rye in the spring but would look at preparing the plot for a simple planting of winter wheat and Buck Forage Oats next September. If you get the soil softened up prior to a good rain you'll get good results with broadcasting the seed/mix.
 

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Agree with renting a tractor with tiller to turn the soil for the first time. I would also suggest a soil test and probably a lot of lime due to it's location and leaf involvement.

You could then try some buckwheat at the begining of June (after a couple ofand follow up with oats and rye in the fall. All of these seeds will germinate fairly well with minimal soil prep.

Round up and a back pack sprayer, hand spreader, and a rear tined roto-tiller are all I used to get my first couple of plots (.5-1.5 acres) started.

Good luck,

scott
 
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