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BLACKJACK

Food plots-what the deer are eating now

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BLACKJACK

I've got a two acre food plot below my house broken up into 4 parts - a pumpkin patch, 20 rows of corn, an annual mix (turnips, rapeseed, clover) that I planted this spring, and a cold weather mix (ryegrass, rapeseed, peas) that I planted in late summer. The last two mixes come from the MDHA, the seed that BLB pushes.

Sunday morning as it got light I saw three deer in the plot, one was in the annual mix and the other two were in the corn. Pretty soon they were all in the corn munching away for awhile before they took off. I could also see in the snow where they had done some digging down to the cold weather mix. Monday night as I was making supper, it was right at dusk and I saw a deer come running into the plot, it ran right thru the corn and started munching on the tops of the plants in the annual mix, the turnips and rape.

My advice to anyone looking to plant a late season plot would be to try that annual mix, the deer really like it!! Of course corn is the top choice for late season/winter but corn is hard to do if you're not able to fertilize and spray properly. Clover is still the all-around deer favorate but when you have enough of that planted, try the annual brassica mixes.

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vister

the down side to annuals is you have have to plant them yearly. but, i still plant them, the same you do. brassicas, rape, turnips, and rutebegas. and boy do the deer like them. even in the snow, the greens are still green, and the turnips and rutebegas have more or less turned to sugar. i have noticed that the deer will prefer to munch on the rutebegas next spring and early summer. why, i don't know. maybe because they are too big to dig up when the ground is frozen.

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Scott K

Has anyone tried just planting alf-alfa ? They sure like to hang around in the full fields of them at night were I hunt.

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vister

the deer prefer the miscellaneous clovers and grasses typically found in hay fields. alfalfa alone causes a bit too much gas in the stomachs of deer for them to want to eat it. times like now, they may chow on it, but alfalfa usually dies off with the first frost and other cold weather. there may be different types of hay, but the one the typical farmer raises for cattle isn't a favorite of whitetailed deer.

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jlm

Corn is by far your best choice for late season plots, especially in deep snow. If we have mild Winters with little snow, alfalfa, clover, rye, you name it, they will eat it. However, get a foot of snow and the entire picture changes. Corn will bring deer in from miles around if there is enough of it! Round up ready corn sure helps for those looking to make it easy! Good luck all!

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BLACKJACK

I've planted some alfalfa on some of my trails, the deer will eat it if you keep it mowed, which is kind of what the farmers are doing with their multiple hay cuttings. Clover is definately preferred but what I like about alfalfa is that it seems to last longer and it also grows better on the dryer hillside spots. Some of my trails are actually firebreaks around my CRP, I want something that will green up early in the spring.

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BLACKJACK

Quote:

Corn is by far your best choice for late season plots, especially in deep snow. If we have mild Winters with little snow, alfalfa, clover, rye, you name it, they will eat it. However, get a foot of snow and the entire picture changes. Corn will bring deer in from miles around if there is enough of it! Round up ready corn sure helps for those looking to make it easy! Good luck all!


I agree that corn is king but its hard for the average guy to plant corn. Clover you can just scratch the ground, broadcast some seed and you have a food plot. Corn takes better tillage, a better planter, and some roundup and fertilizer in order to grow something with cobs on it. Thats why I wanted to emphasize the brassicas, they're in the same category as clover, scratch the ground and broadcast the seed and you have a late season food plot.

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BLACKJACK

Quote:

the down side to annuals is you have have to plant them yearly. but, i still plant them, the same you do. brassicas, rape, turnips, and rutebegas. and boy do the deer like them. even in the snow, the greens are still green, and the turnips and rutebegas have more or less turned to sugar. i have noticed that the deer will prefer to munch on the rutebegas next spring and early summer. why, i don't know. maybe because they are too big to dig up when the ground is frozen.


I've never tried the rutebegas but I'm not really that impressed with the turnips. I'll see the deer take an occaisional bite out of one but I never seen them eat the whole thing. Now they're frozen hard as rocks. We'll see what happens next spring but in the past they've jsut rotted down into mush. But the deer DO eat the tops down.

Has anybody ever planted sugar beets?

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PerchJerker

I've planted a blend with sugar beets, not sure they did much though. There were a lot of brassica varieties in that mix that I wasn't familiar with and the leafy growth was incredible, didn't seem to get much for bulbs though. I think I've read that sugar beets are touchy to grow, really particular about soil, fertilizer, maybe even planting technique, etc???????

My goal with brassicas now is to maximize the leafy growth and not worry about the bulbs. Sometimes the bulbs get eaten, sometimes not, but I no longer worry about it as long as the tops grow well because they always get devoured. A lot of the brassicas I use now are designed to maximize leafy growth. I've never tried rutebegas.

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kobear

My corn failed with the drought this year so I disked it the third week of August and scattered 2 bushel annual rye and 2 acres of turnip/brassica onto a 2 acre food plot. Drug it in with a bed spring. Came up in a week, got almost knee high, it nearly bare now. First was the rye they loved it, then after rifle suddenly the rape gone in ten days, now the turnips they kneel out there and eat them right down into the ground although they are mainly on the surface. cool.gif I got the turnip/brassica seed too deep so the stand could have been better, but the rye was nice and even. There's been 6-12 out there every night,last night I watched 5 but never got a shot, plots too big. Three were there at 3:00 when I got there. PS We only saw four deer all rifle season. confused.gif

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