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Brassicas

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I've had deer not touch brassicas for up to 3 years, then finally a light switched. Usually year one (usually) they get a taste for the radishes in the fall mix. But, most farms they pummel the brassicas including turnips the 1st year. It's bizarre the differences from one area to another. Keep plugging & they'll get a taste for it and you're helping the soil, etc so it is not a total loss the couple years you may wait.


The SPRING following..... Brassicas have an alleopathic affect on the soil & weeds will be way less. Which is good. But, it makes clover establishment hard with frost seed. BUT - I still have had success frost seeding clover, I've gone incredibly heavy with a 4-5 clover variety mix I made and put on THICK and it does work when I try it. But, yes, you do have the Alleopathic issues of the brassicas so the technical right answer is to disc it all up and plant the oat, clover mix. If you're not talking a ton of ground, a guy could try and frost seed clover extremely thick and see if the clover comes up or not - you'll know quick. If it doesn't, oh well, oats & berseem, red (or crimson, etc). Personally, I always try and frost seed but sometimes it doesn't work. One other option for big areas, you could drill beans in there. If they destroy the beans, I'll disc the clean beans up (from spraying all summer) & put the fall mix in. So, in THAT CASE - I went from Brassicas in fall to beans in spring/summer to fall dbltree mix in late summer. Because I'm so overloaded, I go with the frost seeding route and if the alleopathic affect was too great for clover, then I drill in beans. Just what I do. Good luck, looks great guys!
 

BDAHMS

Be here Now
I think I need the deer at some of you folk's place to come teach the ones around here that the brassica mix is edible. This is my third year of planting it and so far it has pretty much been ignored. Deer are pounding the clover as well as the rye/oats/peas strips and are really enjoying the winter wheat that I put in for next year's dove plots, but little or no activity in the brassica strips again. At least they are good for the soil when the rot. Maybe when it gets colder they will finally discover them...:confused:

I actually have more rye/oats/peas/clover than I do brassicas. That side is coming in extremely thick and lush- they just seem to be in the brassicas and not really touching the oats mix just yet.
 

dbltree

Super Moderator
Unfortunately it's been so wet in southern Iowa that I was just able to plant rye and clover last week. One plot couldn't even be disc'd so I broadcast it in anyway hoping to minimize weeds in the spring. Hopefully we have enough warm days left so it will have time to take the pressure off of the brassica. Time will tell.

We had the same problems, last year drought this year flooding rain's! We planted later then ever but the plus side is seed germinated almost immediately and grew quickly.

BJ you can frost seed clover as Skip does or we plant oats and and annual clovers (berseem and crimson )as a interim crop until we till it under for the rye mix. Plenty of options to keep deer coming in and to provide nitrogen for the rye mix next fall :)
 
Checked on some of my brassicas before heading to my bow stand. Doesn't look like they are hitting them yet but they are really coming in nice! I'm going to move a camera over to watch this plot this week. Look forward to pics of it getting munched on.

Tim
 

Daver

PMA Member
Deer are mainly eating the tops in my brassica plots right now...

CORRECTION...:D...after watching deer eating live in some of our brassica plots the last couple of evenings...I now think the reason that I wasn't seeing a lot of nipped tops and evidence of browsing is because the deer are almost always eating the WHOLE plant in one gulp!

Over and over and over we watched deer pull up the whole plant and eat it all, dirty bulb and all. I have seen them do this before, but for some odd reason they seem to be doing this 90% of the time the last couple of days.

We saw a great amount of activity in our brassica plots, with some activity in the rye mix plots too. Knowing that there are some acorns in the woods, I was surprised to see as much "field" feeding activity as what we did.
 
Received a text last night from my cousin who was hunting our family farm. He said he saw 20 different deer last night while sitting over a dbltree mix plot. He ended the text by saying "the deer love those turnip greens!"

Thanks to dbltree again for all the guidance on foodplots and habitat improvement. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent reading through all these posts but it's especially rewarding to see such positive results already.
 

harleyjohnc

Member
FWIW I've been slowly concerting about ten or so acres of neglected, fescue pasture on a property in southern MO, into a dbltree type mix over the last three plus years. When I first purchased this property, most of the deer that we saw were traveling through to the neighbors small food plots.
Now, just three years in, I sit off the edge of my plots and watch in amazement as about an hour or so before dark the deer literally run to the year round food sources on this property. Thanks dbltree, the information that you provide, is priceless, and without a doubt has had an effect on more people, and more properties than you probablly could have ever imagined.
Prayers and best of luck to you and yours.
John
 

skyleralan

PMA Member
I have hunted over my brassica plot the past two nights. They are doing exactly what I wanted. They are coming down of the timber ridge (that has lots of White Oaks), and I assume after hitting the acorns browsing through and across my plot then heading out to the Ag fields. Got some good video last night.
 

dbltree

Super Moderator
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Things don't always go as planned, weather can stall planting date's well beyond what we recommend.

This year we fought rain every step of the way starting in July, we planted the last brassicas in early September and the last rye mix m September 21st on the same farm. The following pictures were taken October 1st.




This farm is all low ground, good rich soil but this year it was under water several time's, very unusual for August!





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If you had to delay planting for any reason, please share result's so others know what to expect.


I hope to post pictures later to show growth just before the rut.



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Two days until rifle opens up here. Been able to get out a few days with the bow but haven't seen a thing except two doe who were able to see me first. :mad:
Got some pics of the plots while I was down there confirming the rifles. They are hitting the winter peas/cowpeas/clover mix pretty well although they seem to be really focusing on the cowpeas. Thought the winter peas were supposed to be the candy?
No sign of them touching the brassicas yet but the plots are coming in great!
Did overseed some rye in the farmers ag field earlier this week before we had three days of crazy rain. Think it should come up great regardless of whether or not he ends up harvesting them.
You guys seem to like to use your hats as a reference for growth so I took one so I could fit in. ;)

Thanks again,
Tim
 

dbltree

Super Moderator
Two days until rifle opens up here. Been able to get out a few days with the bow but haven't seen a thing except two doe who were able to see me first. :mad:
Got some pics of the plots while I was down there confirming the rifles. They are hitting the winter peas/cowpeas/clover mix pretty well although they seem to be really focusing on the cowpeas. Thought the winter peas were supposed to be the candy?
No sign of them touching the brassicas yet but the plots are coming in great!
Did overseed some rye in the farmers ag field earlier this week before we had three days of crazy rain. Think it should come up great regardless of whether or not he ends up harvesting them.
You guys seem to like to use your hats as a reference for growth so I took one so I could fit in. ;)

Thanks again,
Tim


We don't use cowpeas (which are not peas they are beans ) because they die at the first hard frost which typically is October 5th here in SE Iowa. You have done a great job with your plots so you have a ton of food and very few deer. Here peas rarely get 3-4" tall but deer in your area are probably adapted to beans.

Just for fun put some exclusion cages up to get a better idea of usage. Thanks for posting :)
 
We don't use cowpeas (which are not peas they are beans ) because they die at the first hard frost which typically is October 5th here in SE Iowa. You have done a great job with your plots so you have a ton of food and very few deer. Here peas rarely get 3-4" tall but deer in your area are probably adapted to beans.

Just for fun put some exclusion cages up to get a better idea of usage. Thanks for posting :)

Hopefully the deer will start moving more as the weather gets cooler. It's been in the 80s the last couple weeks but a "cold" front just came through so it looks like it'll be cooler for a while.
Yeah, we have a ton of soybeans in the county so maybe that's it. We'll see as it gets colder what they end up eating.

I did put up some cages but the couple pics I took today didn't come out well. I'll get some more tomorrow as I have to sight in my .308 I put a new scope on.

Tim
 

dbltree

Super Moderator
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Fertilizer
Lot’s to be learned about soil nutrients but starting out, a basic understanding of NPK and PH will suffice. Soil testing should be the starting point but nitrogen must be added yearly (usually at planting) to produce lush, dark green brassicas like these…o


I have never eaten a starving deer but one can only imagine it wouldn't taste so very good. The same could be said for nutrient starved crops, especially nitrogen so if we hope to compete with neighboring crops or plot's and we have to feed ours.

Most farmers fertilize to the max, including micronutrients, which means their crops are healthy and tasty to boot. I understand budget's and paying for fertilizer is sometimes hard to do, yet we blow a grand on a new bow and skip a $100 worth of fertilizer. Nitrogen comes in three form's and can be "fixed" naturally using legumes, something our seed mix and rotation are designed to do. We use 46-0-0 urea because it is commonly available and least expensive




Phosphorus and potassium are also very important but unlike nitrogen they can be built up and stored in the soil. Not only can P&K be applied earlier but it is advantageous because it takes time to break down and actually become available to the plants. We usually till them both in at planting time, but late fall through early spring would be better. Knowing this it sometimes works out to combine shed hunting with broadcasting P&K, one less thing to do at planting. Regardless of crop planted, timing of application is not overly important and soil test may reveal that only one or the other is needed. In our area soils typically require copious amounts of potash (K- potassium) but far less phosphorus P, so avoid spending more than necessary by relying on soil tests.



The great thing about rye and the brassica family is that they bring up subsoil nutrients, the deep taproots drill 4-6 feet deep and pull otherwise unused or unavailable nutrients. When the roots decompose the next crop follows those channels to water and more nutrients and this helps keep the soils loose and porous. This also helps build soil organic matter that not only holds water (important during summer droughts) but also minimizes leaching of nutrients. Corn and soybeans are notoriously hard on soils, so it is nice to have alternatives that improve them. Much can be learned from farmers trying to squeeze an extra bushel per acre an acre and even they apply P&K months ahead of planting.



Micronutrients are important and should be overlooked, especially if crops are not healthy or discolored. We have never had to apply them but some areas need one or more to grow healthy crops.

Testing PH and applying lime is extremely important and failure to do so means other nutrient May be tied up and unavailable to plants. Paying for fertilizer is bad enough but if we it can't be used is even worse! If PH is low we use pellet lime which is fast acting but not long lasting then ag lime which is the opposite.




Brassicas are heavy nutrient users and require roughly 100 lb of nitrogen which can easily be provided with a healthy legume crop planted with the rye crop, red clover and hairy vetch fill this need. As the crop rotation builds organic matter, more water and nutrients will be available, resulting in greater yields at lower costs.



Turnip roots have an advantage over corn, soybeans, sunflowers, milo and other grain crops because other wildlife doesn't feed on them. Corn can cost $500+ an acre to plant only to be decimated by coons, squirrels and birds. Turnips last into late winter in the Midwest north so once forage is eaten they will dig through several feet of snow to get at the roots.

The roots of both turnips and forage radish are cleaned up in virtually all the fields we plant and along with winter rye hold deer not only through late season hunting but all winter. When March rolls around those plots are often littered with sheds, another sign we have adapted whitetails to depending on our year around food sources.


Brassicas are very important to our habitat management system because of the tremendous yield potential, however they are not magic nor necessary. Many think they MUST have or deer won't show up but nothing could be farther from the truth. Whitetails will eagerly advantage of any food source nearest their safe bedding area.



The following is a link to a thread I put together on soil sampling, fertilizer and more...

Soil sampling and fertilizer FAQ’s

Dbltree seed mix and rotation

Plant ALL in one plot in strips or blocks

Alice, Kopu II, Durana (or comparable) white clover 10% of plot, sow at 6#'s per acre with the rye combination in the fall or in the spring with oats and berseem clover. Correct Ph and P&K with soil tests

Brassicas in 45% of plot

Purple Top Turnips 3#
Dwarf Essex Rape 2#
GroundHog Forage radish 5#

Plant in mid to late July in most Midwest states, or 60-90 days before your first killing frost, Use 200#'s of 46-0-0 urea and 400#'s of 6-28-28 per acre. Follow the dead brassicas with oats and berseem or crimson clover in mid spring at 60#'s oats and 12-15#'s berseem clover and/or crimson and/or 50#'s of chickling vetch)

Cereal Grain combo in 45% of plot...we use 50# each rye, oats and peas along with radish and clover seed all planted in half of each feeding area

Winter rye 50-80#'s per acre (56#'s = a bushel)
Spring oats 50-120#'s per acre (32#'s = a bushel)
Frostmaster Winter Peas or 4010/6040 Forage peas 20-80#'s per acre

Red Clover 8-12#'s per acre or white clover at 6#'s per acre (or 20-40 pounds hairy vetch and 20-30#'s crimson clover on sandy soils)
Groundhog Forage Radish 5#'s per acre

Plant in late August to early September, if following well fertilized brassicas use 100 - 200#'s of urea, if starting a new plot add 400#'s of 6-28-28 but for best results soil test and add only what is necessary.

[FONT=&quot]Rotate the brassicas and rye combo each year
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dbltree

Super Moderator
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> My friend John Komp of Northwoods Whitetails sent me this picture of his brassicas, definitely worth showing off! John sells a mix he put together that is very inexpensive and obviously very productive, give him a shout for your seed needs in the Great Lakes region.


There are many reasons the dbltree crop rotation work's so successfully for landowners managing for whitetails, but one that is overlooked is the adaption factor. Whitetails are creatures of habit but we seem determined to constantly force them to break habits and develop new ones. Our hunting culture has been centered on hunting deer rather than whitetails themselves, this is why many people really know little about their quarry and the habitat they live in.

For years now people have done nothing to improve native cover and browse and planted crops solely to shoot deer. Providing all their habitat needs never crossed their minds.




It makes no sense from neither a hunting nor management perspective to break habits and force deer to move, possibly to neighboring property. That is exactly what happens however when we plant food source's that barely last through hunting season. When bitter winter snows blow through open timber deer leave, when acorns or apple's rain down from neighboring property deer are naturally attracted to them. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if we provide year around food sources, soft and hard mast all in one place, whitetails have no reason to roam.

Note the apple and pear trees in this food plot.





As trail cams became popular, the average hunter was only interested in bucks, how many, how big and how old. Because of my love for wildlife and habitat I found myself looking beyond bucks and learning more about whitetail behavior and habits. Over time the cams revealed that deer groups would do almost exactly the same thing every day. Because I had two separate farms, I observed deer in completely different habitat yet they responded to habitat improvements in the same ways.
As God blessed my habitat business and it continued to grow, I was able to observe deer responding in the same way on more farm's, to many to ignore.

Note here that we have planted hundreds of hybrid oaks which bear sweet, low tannin acorns, around the perimeter of the plot.


When deer have everything they need in one place year around, year after year they become habituated to depending on those food sources. Whitetails are not like us, they don't get bored with what's for dinner. They are survivors they are interested in nothing more than having a safe place to bed and feed. A centrally located feeding area, screened by conifers and shrubs and surrounded by thick bedding cover is like winning the lottery to a whitetail!

With everything they require and more, deer not only won't leave but they will do the same thing every day. They will travel the same runways, enter the plot the same place and largely ignore other neighboring crops.

This field has been in corn and soybeans every year for a decade or more yet deer walk right through it, they are so acclimated to finding everything they need in plot beyond.




You see it's not about brassicas or rye it's about habitat, utilizing every square inch of property to maximize your property for whitetails. Obviously hunting a deer that does exactly the same thing every day is easier than one that is forced to change constantly. Hunting whitetails that bed close to feed because they feel safe in thick cover rather then a half mile away in open timber, they will be under your stand before dark.

When deer walk through standing corn to get to the rye, brassicas and clover they come to depend on they are easier to kill.
Brassicas are just one tool in our habitat plan, while very important they alone are not the answer.


Bucks will travel during the rut when feed of any kind is of little interest to them. They will however check both feeding and bedding areas in search of and they will hit the rye and brassicas hard when the rut end's.

Brassicas yields are beyond what most whitetail managers can achieve growing other crops and far less expensive to grow. Even brassicas can be wiped out if planted alone and alone they can't feed deer year around so those that plant only brassicas or any other single crop will have a tough time holding big whitetails. Neighboring landowners will of course appreciate mismanagement that sends bucks roaming for food and cover.


Dbltree seed mix and rotation

Plant ALL in one plot in strips or blocks

Alice, Kopu II, Durana (or comparable) white clover 10% of plot, sow at 6#'s per acre with the rye combination in the fall or in the spring with oats and berseem clover. Correct Ph and P&K with soil tests

Brassicas in 45% of plot

Purple Top Turnips 3#
Dwarf Essex Rape 2#
GroundHog Forage radish 5#

Plant in mid to late July in most Midwest states, or 60-90 days before your first killing frost, Use 200#'s of 46-0-0 urea and 400#'s of 6-28-28 per acre. Follow the dead brassicas with oats and berseem or crimson clover in mid spring at 60#'s oats and 12-15#'s berseem clover and/or crimson and/or 50#'s of chickling vetch)

Cereal Grain combo in 45% of plot...we use 50# each rye, oats and peas along with radish and clover seed all planted in half of each feeding area

Winter rye 50-80#'s per acre (56#'s = a bushel)
Spring oats 50-120#'s per acre (32#'s = a bushel)
Frostmaster Winter Peas or 4010/6040 Forage peas 20-80#'s per acre

Red Clover 8-12#'s per acre or white clover at 6#'s per acre (or 20-40 pounds hairy vetch and 20-30#'s crimson clover on sandy soils)
Groundhog Forage Radish 5#'s per acre

Plant in late August to early September, if following well fertilized brassicas use 100 - 200#'s of urea, if starting a new plot add 400#'s of 6-28-28 but for best results soil test and add only what is necessary.

Rotate the brassicas and rye combo each year

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Brassicas are coming in nice! Had our first frost Monday night as it hit 28*. Looks like they may be starting to hit them. Just put up the camera on that plot so we'll see.

Thanks,
Tim
 

LoessHillsArcher

PMA Member
Paul always mentioned how brassicas have some allelopathic chemicals that affect plant growth the following spring. One reason broadcasting clover into a spent brassica plot can be risky. Here you can see the strip of brassicas down the middle of this plot doesn't have near the weed growth in it compared to the outside strips of Paul's rye mix. We'll be following this brassica strip up with some soybeans this year but one could also plant oats and berseem clover as a cover crop and then do brassicas again or the rye mix in the fall!

What is everyone else doing with their brassica plots from last year? :)

11214055_10101057966428973_6514653744753859597_n.jpg
 

skyleralan

PMA Member
Paul always mentioned how brassicas have some allelopathic chemicals that affect plant growth the following spring. One reason broadcasting clover into a spent brassica plot can be risky. Here you can see the strip of brassicas down the middle of this plot doesn't have near the weed growth in it compared to the outside strips of Paul's rye mix. We'll be following this brassica strip up with some soybeans this year but one could also plant oats and berseem clover as a cover crop and then do brassicas again or the rye mix in the fall!

What is everyone else doing with their brassica plots from last year? :)

11214055_10101057966428973_6514653744753859597_n.jpg


I am going to start fresh! Mine were rained out/flooded and I late planted some rye and clover. I haven't had much time to prep the area with all of the RAIN we have gotten. Will mow, spray, and disc in preparation for the fall.
 

Tim Hull

PMA Member
I planted mine into beans a week ago. If they don't turn out well I will till them up in late august and put winter rye in. the beans put in nitrogen so that way I can use less when I thrown the brassicas in next July.
 
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