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What to plant


PMA Member
Okay guys. I've been in the hunting scene for a long time but have never gotten into the food plot business. This past spring I was approached with an opportunity to watch over some land in exchange for hunting rights. The landowner lives out of state so he is not able to keep a presence around the area to keep people off. They guy who was watching over it just took a new job out of state so I was fortunate enough to be next in line. Hurray for me! The land is 160 acres. 23 acres of tillable that is farmed by the neighbors. The remaining is 107 acres of CRP and 30 acres of timber/creek line.

The neighbors to the north hunt their land fairly hard and leave standing crops every year. Rotated between beans and corn. The location for a food plot that I am considering is about 1/2 mile from the north fence line. Looking at a minimum of an acre, maybe up to 2 or 3 acres for this plot. The owner is on board, I stopped at the NRCS this morning and got their okay for it. I won't be doing anything with it this fall but want a good plan to jump into come next spring. So this is where you all come in. What do I do? I'm a rookie when it comes to food plots. I have some AG background and very good resources for the general practices of prepping and planting (my dad and brother both farm). I'm more looking for info of what to plant based on the info I provided. I am leaning towards something that would be more of a late season source rather than early season. Due to how it's set up with natural bedding and cover, this ground has better potential for late muzzleloader season than archery season (not that archery season is out by any means).

I have not read any of the forums in dbltree's corner and know they would have some of the best info I could get and will likely use that info, but where do I start? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
I would start off by attempting to get it prepared this fall then go in with p&k this next winter/spring and then just frost seed into clover...those way you have a good base and when you put in your fall plots you can till the clover in for the nitrogen...then go in and plant half in brassicas and the other half in the dbltree mix and then you be able to create your rotation for years to come
I personally would plant a clover blend on half of it so you have food year round and then rotate the other half. You could go beans that put nitrogen in the ground and then in the fall plant your brassica mixes and then next year go with winter rye. I would not put all my eggs in one basket. I would put it where you can have easy exit/entry without bumping deer.
I know my plots were hammered late season with the mix Airassualt and myself planted last year and this year - had deer from OCT through Feb in the plot

1/2 was Dwarf Essex Rape, Purple TopTurnips, Forage Radish Field Peas, Clover (crimson and white)
1/2 was winter Rye, Jerry Oats, Clover
and a strip of just clover on the outside

I don't think I am leaving anything out?? and each year we flip flop what side has what. Turned out great last season and its looking awesome this fall as well!
The best advice I could give is to read through the dbltree threads regarding the cereal grains and brassicas. It's a good mix that isn't too expensive to put in. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but if you can dig into the threads, you should be able to figure it out. it took a couple months for the deer on my place to eat the turnips and radishes, but come January they figured it out. After a couple years of planting the plots, they have it figured out and eat them earlier in the fall and eat them until they're gone. The rye/oats/peas/clover thy bit earlier in the fall because it's th only green browse when everything else is dying.

I've also planted soybeans. It seems like they haven't browsed them too bad before the beans turn brown. But I have 2 acres. And it seems like the deer don't hang out as much on my farm during the summer. If you can plant enough of the beans, it'll be a good food source for later in the fall. But can be quickly wiped out.
If you know exactly where the lots are going, start mowing and spraying this fall. I would read through the DBl Tree threads on grain, brassica and clover and stick with his three level planting system.
Figure out the area or area's where you would like to put plots. Mow - spray with 64-80 ozs. roundup per acre -- and SOIL TEST! and as many said before plant clover this fall or early spring and you are prepared for success next year. Soil tests are cheap ($10-20 per test) and will tell you what or if you need to worry about lime to raise PH or are in need of p & K fertilizer. will still need Nitrogen for many crops but if you plant the clover soon it will put some in the soil for your next crop. Either Dbltree or Outreach outdoors have an abundance of information to help you succeed. Best of luck in your journey!
Awesome! Thank you for the replies. Keep them coming. At a minimum I'm going to try to get out and mow the area this weekend and start figuring out a game plan.
I think that what you plant depends a bit on what you want to accomplish with the food plot(s). I've got a couple acres that have been in the Dbltree mix for the past 3 years and deer use it some, even though they are really slow learning to eat brassicas, beets & radish. Bucks also cruise it during rut so it works OK. On the other hand when it comes down to numbers of deer, & good deer, feeding in a plot during daylight hours after the rut, the 1 1/2 acre corn & soybean plot that my wife hunts over during late muzzy season wins hands down! If you watch the TV celebs, more late season upper midwest bucks fall over corn & beans than anything else. The Dbltree mix may attract deer and feed them year round on a large piece of ground but if you want a late season "kill plot" especially on a smaller tract of land, I'm not sure it will compete with the corn/beans that your neighbor leaves standing.
I'll agree with above, if you have corn or beans when it gets real chilly, you'll have deer. I have a smorgasbord planted behind house. Brassicas, clover, alfalfa, winter wheat, rye, sorghum, and corn and beans always draw them in.
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