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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many guys have food plots started .and how are they doing.
I put in two different spots .the same oats.but on one bag.it said plant in the spring.the other it said plant in mid Aug. So I planted it last week.we have been getting rain.and it s up already.
 

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been doing food plots since the late 1980's
was one of whitetail instutes first customers in PA LOL
I typically plant about 16-17 acres a yr in food plots of some type
I personally am not a big fan of oats
never had great luck with all the types I tried
for a hunting plot, corn is still hard pressed surrounded by some type of brassicia
corn is like candy to most animals
I've planted it all over the yrs
corn always holds deer in winter too, and helps them get thru winters where snow falls, as it keeps food off the ground, saving them energy to get to ti
MAY NOT be the best health wise for them, it will pull them and keep them wearm in winter
I typically plant atleast 3 acre's in corn, and I am lyucky if it makes it till late jan(I have a ton of deer)
Brasicia, and turnips, will help in winter too, and make for a great hunting plot IMO
clover, chichory and even soy bean, unless you can plant about 3 acre's and leave beans, they get picked clean on my place before second third week of archery here in PA
then its a waste of space
I found I can re seed a soy bean plot in late summer with a cheap rape seed, and then when the beans are opicked clean there is still some greens left to still draw deer
as I personally think soybeans make huge draw for deer , they hammer it as soon as it grows till it drys
and is a super easy plot to plant

something many foplks don't know about
BUT if your a national Turkey federation memeber , they sell discount left over crop seeds, dirt cheap, are a spring time deal only
but you can $300.00+ dollar bags of seeds for like 25 bucks!
deal is they must NOT be harvested and are for wildlife only!
which I am fine with as its what I want them for

but can add acres of plots on the cheap(well fertilizer and lime and chemicals stll add up)

but yes I am a BIG time food plot guy for a LONG time
simply said
you plant it and animals come
its a super rare deal to ever sit in a stand over looking one of my plots and NOT see a lot of wildlife on every sit
great for taking kids out, even if no kill happens, they get to see wildlife abnd that keeps them interested and NOT bored in a stand!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.
I don't have that many acres .to plant but last yr I tryed buckweet in one spot and it started out OK
But then it died off. A smaller plot I had with the oats .took off great and lasted till we got about 3 inches of snow on the ground and that was the end of it. But the deer were in it every night.
So that's why I went with it in bought spots.
I have tryed mixed trow n grow seeds with clover etc.the clover does good but it doesn't draw the deer like the oats has for me.
 

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well first things, if you don't mind me giving some expeience here
is, you need to have a soil test and have the soil set to grow what ever seed you plan, and THEN you also must do weed control or add more fertilizer/urea/or what ever once crops are growing to get a good take on anything, and THEN< mother nature has to be helping do her part LOL
Buckwheat is a great plot for spring time, , reason being this, its a simple cheap plot to plant, that stull willgrow in crappy soil ,
but its made by nature to go dry about early summer, and seed out
from there, what it does is it helps keep the soil softer
this making it a bunch easier to till over come summer time when you THEN want to turn that buckwheat plot into something lese
Buckwheat and Brassicia's type seeds do wonders on keeping a plot site soft, and that residue can help with some fertilizer as it breaks down too(brassicia's with bulbs do much better for this)
what I suggest is if you want a plot to pull deer in hunting season?Fall
is plant plots that gave good food sources at that time of yr
YUP some oats are winter hardy, some do better than others
BUT they IMP< don'
t yield as much food as other crops, plus they are rather OPEN and , like you said, deer tend to ht tham at night then?
I do some Brassicia, and I sprinkle in some corn seeds when I plant
it causes an ear to grow here and there and helps add cover to the plots and deer tend to feel safer and come out in daylight more often

advantage of clover is these IMO
one that start as one of if not the first green up GOOD food for deer after winter, giving your deer good food as soon as snow starts to go and it warms up some
second, it adds free nitrogen to the soil, a cheaper way to get it, and have a plot at the same time
third
it grows yr after yr, and can grow for 7 yrs or more if taken care of
and can make tons of food, so its a great plot to have!


down falls, it kinda go belly up about the time hunting season starts
not making it a great hunting plot
second, seeds are not cheap, third, it can be over taken with weeds really fast, and to stay on top can costs in both time and chemicals and tools(mowers/sprayers and so on)
but it makes food again first and for a LONG period of time, and over the yrs, it does pull a lot of critters as most anials will eit it ot the bugs it draws!
so clover is a good plot
just NOT the best for hunting over!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your info.I am new at this stuff.
And having fun with my old tractor and equipment.
. maybe that was it for the buckweat. about mid summer like I said it started out great. I disked it up
And tru in winter rie.
I never did any soil test.because it most likely will tell me I need 6 ten wheelers loads of lime .and I am not going to invest 30'000 dollars in my plots
500.00 bucks maybe.
 

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NO problem, IF you have any farms in your area, go talk to some farmers, about bulk lime
reason being most will deliver and spread it for about 45-50 bucks a ton
NOPT douing a soil ttest is silly and can lead to a lot of wasted funds too
a soil test is like 10 bucks

and its a 100% smarter to plant a small plot in correct soil, than a bigger one is so so soil
you will yeild higher tonage out of a plot done righht even if smaller!
when I fist did my hunting camp in plots, our first sites were in need of like 3 ton almost of lime an acre
and we bought it in 40 lb bags and spread them while on a trailer with a guy driving the truck and us(4 of use dumping and 3 opening bags witha knife) dumping a bag at a time off the back of the trailer LOL
talk about hard dusty work!
then we bought pelletized lime and man that adds up in $$$ fast
and then rented a tractor ground driven drop spreader
and NOW we have a guy that comes ina tri axle and dumps and spreads it, for the cheapest way yet!
so odds are theer is someone that can spread it rather cheap
as at 40-50 bucks a ton, thats as cheap as lime gets
I use Biologic for soil tests too
go to there site, print out a shet, fill out mail in, and you get results VIA e mail or hard mail FAST and accutare
andf you will NO longer be guessing what you have or need to add
and before long you will have much healthier food plots
I'd be glad to answer any questions you have, been at this a LONG time,a nd I am also a part time farmer, for over 30 yrs now too
so, I have a lot of trial and error's already done LOL
and some short cuts and tips I found along the way as well
and not scared to share either!
 

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HAHA, I think I am not hunting this yr, but still enjoy the food plots and wildlife
been not enjoying hunting as much the past few yrs, so sitting this one out I think, as far as hubnting animals goes
will be spending mroe time chasing trespassers, seems last few yrs I have an over load of folsk sneaking about the farm, cheaters I call em!

But best of luck to you,hope you get a big one!
 

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how fast they eat turnips , wil depend on how many deer you have
here I have so many deer they eat them from the time they pop out of the ground as a stem, till there dug out and gone
temp change does change the chemicals in the plant, and make them more of a sugar tyoe, thus why its said after a frost or two
deer hit them harder
but again all depends on your deer herd numbers
when food is scarce, they eat what ever they can get as soon as they can get to it LOl
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mrbb. Due you think horse manure would help
Disked in the ground. I know cow manure is better
But I can get the horse for free..
I am goingto get a soil test done .asap. I bought a three way test meter to stick in the ground to read
The soil alkaline or acidic. I will give it a shot late
Today and see what it says.
 

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Western,

mrbb and others have given you some great advice. While I can't speak to what works where you live I can speak for what works for us down South.

* First.... Definitely do a couple soil tests. Well worth the money and you will then know exactly what to do to allow your crops the best chance for success.
* We plant both fall and spring as this keeps the deer conditioned to feeding in your food plots. After a generation or two you will recognize the same deer coming with their young to feed on your salad bar
* Generally speaking we plant peas and soybeans in May. Deer will eat both as soon as they come up and mostly through the heat of our summers.
* In the fall, around third week of September we plant a mix of the following: winter rye, (not rye grass), winter oats, winter peas, red clover, (cheaper than white), white clover, and turnips or forage radishes.

Here is the thought process starting with a fall plot:
We seed each plot with the mix. Generally the rye is first up, followed closely by the oats and peas. All 3 of these offer an early season attractant and down here deer will eat them all winter as we generally dont get snow.
The turnips/radishes get right for late season food for the deer after first few frosts.The clover doesn't offer much forage in winter, but works at putting down solid root systems during the cold months.

Both clovers will take off like crazy during early spring warm up. We often have fields completely covered in calf high clover by April. A quick high cut bush hogging will do away with the remaining rye,oats and peas and allow clover to really take over. The clover can feed the deer well into the summer months.

Generally mid May we will go survey the plots and see which are heavy in clover, These with heavy clover get cut only and the clover comes back and provides for some free seeds. The fields where the clover hasn't taken over get disced and planted in the peas/beans.

In the fall when ready to plant again the clover gets disked in and provides additional nitrogen for your soil, reducing the fertilizer requirements. Then the process starts all over again.

We have used this approach on 3 different leases over the past 10-12 years and really see a difference after 2-3 years of planting spring and fall. Plus while it is work and there is a cost associated with it, it provides another excuse to get out and explore your grounds for sign :)
 

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Horse manure is great stuff, and free to boot, good for you
BUT it takes a lot to vhange things
as for them stick in the ground soil meters
there junk, so many things change there reading its sad
water moisture, and such play hell with the readings
best way is to walk about your plot site and take a ton of small hand full samples
put all samples in a bucket
mix good with your hands
and pull sample from the bucket
DO THIS before you add horse manure too
to get the best readings

like I Said, I use biologic for my soil test, the use the same testing plant as every other seed company too
and they all just charge different rates, niologic has been the cheapest I found, 10 bucks a test, and fast great results every time
good luck, good advice so far too from others
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well just laughs I stuck the meter I each plot
A few times the one I will call plot 1 reads
7.5 alkaline
#2 reads 7 alkaline.
So when I get the test done will see how far off it is.
I am headed up to camp for a couple days. When I get back I will send a test out.
 

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if your at a 7 PH , thats about perfect for most crops
BUT odds are , its not right
PLUS the soil test will also show you what you need to plant "X" crop too if you list what you want to plant
they will tell you how much of what per acre your soil will need to grow"X" crop there
this way no guessing and or going light or heavy on fertilizer then too!
I Have a meter soil tester, its been used about 3 times , and was always wrong LOL
been sitting in its packing like new ever since hanging in my barn! LOL
 

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mrbb is right again! I woukld doubt that hand held meter is right as a 7PH is damn near perfect.

I dont know how long your plots have been established or what they were before you made plots out of woods, fallow fields, old roads etc, but it would be a pure stroke of luck if they really were a 7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I am back going to find out were to thke my soil test and I just found a small
bag of seed I forgot I had .tecomate chicory.l think
I will fill in the bare spots with this stuff.haven't tryed it before. Let you know how it goes.
 

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If the seed is not this yrs seed, you really should add some inoculant to them, its cheao to buy and will double the odds of it growing
can be had at stores like Agway, and so on
 

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well as long as its not muddy, I don't think it matters?
moisture can change things, and them meter testers want the soil moist. so??

I have always mailed my samples out
BUT if you wanted to contact your local soil conservation office, they will run tests too for you, some times even for free
BUt its normally fatsre to send it out
never let my Agway do my tests so??
 
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