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jlm

Fall Food Plots

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jlm

Its that time of year again folks! Thats right, its time to start preparing (or planning)those late Summer/Fall food plots. In my opinion, this is one of the most important aspects of attacting and holding deer in your area. Spring and Summer plots have usually run their course (browsed out or are mature and no longer are preferred browse for deer). What are some good crops for your area? What has worked the best for you? In my area (NW MN), the late season plot will attract and hold lots of deer because most farmers have their crops off and this limits the deers ability to find preferred sources of food/protein. I have tried about everything there is and have found the best luck with rye grass. I plant in September (usually pretty late but depends on the weather) and apply a liberal amount of fertilizer. It will usually stay green beyond the rifle season. I have had over 30 deer in one 2 acre plot before. I recommend planting big, small plots will get hit hard and over browsed. The best part about rye is that it is VERY cheap to plant. Any other suggestions on what works well for late season plots?

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BLACKJACK

JLM, I'm going to try some of that winter rye for the first time this year, I've already bought the seed, was thinking of starting the plot workup with plans to plant about mid-august. Last year I planted something called Buck Forage Oats in early september, but it was so dry that it didn't come up very well, thats why I want to plant earlier.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the clovers, if you have access to a mower. I'll mow the plots several times during the summer to keep them fresh, but after Sept 1 I like to leave them about a foot tall. By Dec 1, the deer have them eaten down to the ground, they'll even paw down thru snow to get something green. I'm experimenting this year, I planted four different types of clover in one 2 1/2 acre spot to see which one the deer like the best. I also planted a small plot of rape to see what it looks like and see how the deer like it.

Have you ever tried turnups or sugar beets? Also see my post on the deer forum concerning pumpkins, I may try them next year.

Good luck!

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jlm

Blackjack-
Sounds like you are hooked on the "food plot bug". I feel you for sure. I have tried sugar beets and have had very good success with them. Pound for pound, sugar beets will draw in deer more so than any other food source...at least in my experience. However, the problem with them is that the deer can only eat the top of the beet and the rest stay frozen in the ground. I have always thought I could disk them up but I believe that would be considered baiting so I decided not to take the chance. Clover works pretty well all over but it does not seem to hold deer for me. I have tried about every kind of clover as well. I have never tried turnips but will do so next Spring. I think your best bet is the rye! If you have a good seed bed, it takes little water to germinate. It stays green forever, and you can leave it in as a Spring food plot because it will survive the Winter. Be sure to fertilize though, that makes all the difference in the world. Will you use a planter or broadcast it in?

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Swamp Scooter

Great topic to get going on as Summer progresses. I was looking hard to find out what I should use and what I could afford to use. The name brand stuff is not cheap! Some things I have looked at are the sugar beets. clovers, grasses, rape. The sugar beets and some of the small grains are only annuals and that is not so bad but I am trying to get some cover year round and then supplement with tasty annuals.

I will not post the site but e-mail me if you want to get the address for FREE SEEDS AND MINERALS. You just pick up the shipping. I found it and am quite impressed with the program of testing out the different types of plantings for free before spending big bucks to seed an acre.

weyer003at umn dot edu

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BLACKJACK

JLM, planting the food plots is kind of a hobby that fits in nicely with my love of bowhunting!! I've had a farmer plant a corn plot the past several years, and I've planted several spots with clover, the deer like the clover, but I'm still looking for that one plot that the deer can't stay away from, that why I want to try some of the more exotic things like rape, pumpkins, sugar beets (I may have to try them next year and see what happens). My big food plot (3 acres) I put in grain sorghum every year for the pheasants, that plus the corn keeps them going. The farmer didn't do my corn plot this year, so I put in some wheat, I'm thinking doves or maybe geese come September!! I may have to mow some of the weeds in the wheat to keep it green smile.gif

Swamp Scooter, I know what you're talking about, I planted a couple different types of that Imperial clover (did I guess right?) to see if its as great as they say.

Next step is to buy one of those scouting cameras and put them by my plots. I've been holding out for a digital, waiting for the price to come down. Do either of you have one?

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jlm

Good luck! Hey, good idea, lets start a scouting camera thread!

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Swamp Scooter

Yup. Imperial clover and a few others I am going to try in N. WI next week. I picked up a double sample pack and my Dad got a single one. That should cover about all I have open right now with a good test as to soil and wildlife preference. As to cameras I have not found too many digitals that are reasonable enough to leave them in the woods. My food plot for starters is right outside the cabin so I hope to view them from the deck! Hope... I already had two bucks come within about 5 yards of the deck while we were there and had the dogs in the cabin so maybe I will get lucky and get a good picture or video to share.

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Mark Christianson

I am brand new into this food plot stuff.
Currently I have one plot behind the house, and 7 plots up at my Dads property in Ottertail. (biggest plot is about 15 x 50 yds)
I have a mix of all kinds of stuff.
This is my year to learn what works.
I have the following currently planted:
Chufa
Trophy Grazin Buck Mix
MDHA Annual blend
MDHA Wildlife blend
Big and Beasty Brassicas
Imperial Clover

And the good old corn, sunflower and sorghum.

I just checked it out last weekend, and overall things are looking great. The best looking one right now is the Trophy Grazin Buck Mix.

My plans are to do some late summer plantings as well. This is just a gas. I don't know why it fires me up so much, but it really has grabbed me good.
OK, maybe its exciting to know what may be coming to one of those plots this fall that has me so fired up. smile.gif

Swampscooter, you have mail.

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PerchJerker

I'm in north-central MN and I plant brassicas for the fall, and usually more and more every year. Only "problem" with brassicas is that once the deer start hitting them, they clean them out in just a few weeks. I bowhunt every weekend so having the brassicas disapper before gun season isn't an issue for me, but if you're looking for something for gun season you better plant A LOT of brassicas.

One year I planted some rye in August and the deer absolutely pounded it all fall. I plan to try some more fall plantings, which would be a combo of clover and oats, wheat, or rye. From what I hear, the grains grow great and provide a lot of food and a lot of attraction for the deer, and the clover gets a good start and is ready to kick into high gear the following spring. Sounds pretty good to me.

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BLACKJACK

biglakebass, let us know how the MDHA blends work, I was going to get some but then found some others to try.

perchjerker, what kinds of the brasicas have worked for you?

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jlm

Alright guys, I have to say it. I was once one of the guys who lived and died by all these gimick packaged seed dealers. I have tried most of what is out there and have spent a ton of money. After several years of doing this, I wised up. My plots were getting way too big and the money I was spending was just crazy. Here is my best advice for you. Most of MN is agricultural in one way or another. Almost every area has a grain co-op or some kind of seed dealer. GO IN AND TALK TO THEM! They are the people that work with this stuff everyday and can tell you what will work in your area. They are the experts, not some guys from Texas or Alabama. I had a guy once tell me that these packaged seed dealers spend millions on research for there seeds and that they were a must have for a successful food plot. I replied that the agricultural industry spends billions on research and that they are the ones that you should use for successful plots. I still believe this today. You can go in and have them mix you up a seed blend for half the cost of what you would spend on packaged seed and sometimes you can save even more. You can also pick up the appropriate fertilizer when you are there to. I go to a seed dealer and he even puts the fertilizer in 50 pound bags for be right from his bulk bin! Fertilizer is very inexpensive. One piece of advice that I would offer is to plant double what is recommended. I say this because most guys broadcast it and drag it in as opposed to using a drill. This will cause significant disruption in germination rated because if varying planting depths. By the way, if you have the money to spend on packaged seed and want to go that way, more power to you, it works great. However, I choose to get the most bang for my buck and go the route I explained above. Good luck!

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Mark Christianson

The Wildlife Blend is doing very good.
I am pleased so far.

The best part is that the West Metro chapter of MDHA was selling their 3 blends at a 50% discount.
They use money from Hides For Habitat, to subsidize the seed.
There is no seed you can get anywhere for that price. No where...
The West Metro Prez lives right by me, so if anyone is interested, I can check his inventory of seed blends, if you want some cheap seed for a fall plot.....
(It is actually packaged by RJ Hunt in Wadena)

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Swamp Scooter

Once you figure it out it would really pay to go local at the feed mill. You are right about planting double too. I know that some of the mixtures you can buy are not too great but I wanted to try some of the different ones before I went full scale. for under $20 it is worth the variety for me right now. I am also covering most of it with perennial Rye and just using the special stuff as a test in small areas.

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BLACKJACK

JLM, I hear what you're saying, when you buy the blends sold in the hunting magazines you're paying for a lot of advertising, research, and shipping, but at this point I'm not sure what to tell the seed dealer that lives ten miles down the road. Theres red clover, white clover, alsike clover, other 'special' clovers, alfalfa, rye grass, timothy, winter rye grain, wheat, rape seed, turnips, sugar beets, peas, chicory, etc. What percents do you tell the seed dealer to mix it at?

My next purchase will be one of those spreaders that I can use on fertilizer and seed, but I have yet to find a cheap source of fertilizer, the local Cenex was selling 40 lb bags for $11, I didn't think that was a very good price.

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jlm

BJ-
Well, the blend will depend on what you want. If you like the packaged stuff in the store, see what percentages they use and copy them (all that info is on their label). The guys at the seed dealer will be able to give you some help with it as well. Last time I bought fertilizer, it was .10/pound. 500 pounds for 50 bucks! That was bulk fertilizer!

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PerchJerker

The brassica that's done the best for me is Kale. Turnips have been almost as good for me, both Dynamo Stubble and Purple Top.

Maybe it's my black thumb, but I have had almost zero success with rape seed.

I was going to try something this year called "deer turnips", but I ended up instead going with a brassica blend from a seed company in Bemidji. It has a couple varieties of turnips, a couple varieties of rape, and a few sugar beets in it. Too early for the deer to eat it yet, but it's growing just fine.

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Iceman77

We raise canola(rape seed) on our farm in North Dakota so naturally I use that for my plots. I also use alfalfa and sweetclover around one edge, hard red spring wheat planted in the end of August, wild mustard, and sugar beets.

The canola has never been able to have a chance to grow since the deer will eat the plant down into the roots and kill the plant off. I will re-plant the canola in my plot 3 times through the summer. Wild mustard comes in at second, and then sugar beets are third.

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BLACKJACK

So rape seed is actually canola!!!! Learn something new every day! It will be a lot easier asking for that at the local seed dealer!

I did a google search earlier on 'brassica deer food plot' and found some interesting links and info explaining what it was and different ways of planting food plots, especially on the QDM website.

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Pooh

JLM
I am not sure about "farmers" crops that hold deer but a guy here in my hometown puts bags of suppoesed deer attractant together. they are different types of rape seeds, and some turnips and beets and clovers in one bag. some of the seeds are annual and some are perrential. it is put together by RJH seed company. I have heard many good things about it from area people. got any questions?

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this is just my 2 cents

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Mark Christianson

Pooh
Thats the stuff that the MDHA sells.
Mine is looking pretty awesome right now.

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jlm

They are a stand up company for sure, I know one of the reps very well and he is honest about their products! I think BLB has a great connection and would encourage people to check it out!

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Pooh

yeah thats the stuff!! MDHA i think only sells a few different varietys. there are more than a guy thinks with all the different seed mixes for different soil contents. i also have herd "high racks" is good stuff. never seen it in growth. it is on the internet may want to check it out

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this is just my 2 cents

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Ole1855

jlm and anyone else that can help me out,

The last several years my brother and I have been trying different things for food plots. This year we decided to try some of the stuff we picked up at the Deer Hunter's Classic. It's sold out of Bemidji and tout's that it's better for northern climates. We did our first planting in mid-May, the stuff is doing great and the deer seem to like it. So we decided to try a couple other brands and other types from the same place in Bemidji. We have a meadow in the middle of the woods, we had to clear it due to a torndao a few years back, it's approx. 3.5 acres. We now have 9 different plots within the meadow, we made them different sizes and shapes and varied the types of seeds. We planted some stuff I got at the local feed & seed up north, we planted it on Sun. Aug. 1st, on Sat. Aug. 7th, it was already 3/4" up, not bad for one week. The other brands were only up about 1/4", but they appear to be doing well. All of these plots are within 10-200 yds. of one of my bow stands, so I will report back on what seems to be the most liked thing.

Now to my question, when people talk about planting rye, are you talking rye grass or rye grain? When I was talking to the guy at the feed and seed, he asked which one I wanted. I told him, I was planning on putting it in next year and I'd have to ask around to see which is the prefered type.

Thanks for your help.

Ole

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Olson Insurance Agency
[email protected]
952-224-4774

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czl99

I am new to the hole food plot thing. I planted two 12'x12' food plots with bio logic new zealand full draw and Robinson laboratories antler blend. How big of a food plot do you have to plant to attract deer to an area and get them to stay. I planted them is a meadow about 20 yeard from the woods. The grass in the meadow has about a foot tall so I just dug it up with a shovel to get rid of all of the gras to get to the dirt. How can i dig up the ground with out doing it all by hand?

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Fishing isn't everything it's the only thing.

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BLACKJACK

Ole, I think you want to plant rye grain seed. I have three 50 pounds bags that I need to get planted in the next couple of weeks. Keep us informed on what works for you, what attracts the deer.

czl, look into rental places and see what it would cost to rent the biggest honking tiller they have, either walk behind or tractor mounted. Are there any local farmers that can help you out? Once you have some mechanical aids lined up, you need to mow the grass and hit it with roundup to kill it off. Roundup works best on actively growing grass, so mow it, then let it grow a week or two. Do some web seraches on food plot establishment techniques. NOW is a a good time to start getting plots tilled up for next springs planting. Start with some small ones, learn how it goes, see what works, then go bigger.

Good luck.

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