Home Forums Hunting Deer Hunting Food plot advice

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  • AvatarLundImpact1675
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    Post count: 260

    Let me start by saying that this thread may make me one of the biggest hypocrites on the site. I have communicated my views on food plots and my position is that they are no different than bait stations. That being said, food plots are legal and a new opportunity to leverage them to improve my probability of success has emerged. As a result, I plan to take advantage. “When in Rome…”

    I just confirmed with the owner of the property I manage that there is a 2-4 acre parcel that can be ripped up for a food plot without needing FSA permission. We formerly believed that his CRP contract prevented all food plots on his farm, but realized that a fallow pasture that sits between his 80 acres of CRP and a deep cedar thicket is not enrolled in the program. Its strategic location really creates an ideal situation, and this plot will be a remote island of high quality feed that should draw a good number of deer from the surrounding area if executed properly. Another advantage of this location is that the plot will be approximately a mile off of the nearest gravel and not visible from the road. This development comes as great news since neighbors’ recent CRP signups (without food plots) have eliminated all row crops in the surrounding 1.5 miles east and west.

    What I need from you all is advice on the best way to prep the ground for a mixed brassica plot. Right now the old pasture has knee-high to waist-deep grass and sedges for the most part, and will need significant tillage. The ground is fairly steep in some places and I do not plan to leverage a plow due to erosion concerns. Instead I plan to lean on a JD4020 and disc to turn the grass and soil over. I understand that this will require multiple passes and is not the most efficient method. However, I don’t want to mow or burn the grass and lose the nutrients banked in the vegetation. This raises some questions.

    1. Would it be best to disc this fall (after I tag out) to jump start the process before next spring?
    2. Is it better to wait to disc until spring?
    3. How soon do brassicas need to be planted, and can they be broadcast or require drilling?
    4. Am I missing anything else?

    Thank you in advance for the help, and I know the haters are gonna hate.

    AvatarTeamAsgrow
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    Post count: 9151

    Depending on the terrain and what machinery you can get your hands on will help determine what all you can do. Is there a road/path to drive your tractor? Is it in the gully where everything will wash out?

    Avatare.fork-walleye
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    Post count: 171

    It looks like there different brassicas that are shorter or longer growing. I’ve read there are some you want to plant 60-90 days before a killing frost and some you’d want to plant 150-200 days before the killing frost. If you’re going to do the shorter growing season I would wait to disk it next summer. You’d have to disk it, let it lay a few days, and then hit it again and see what it looks like. You may have to do this a few times depending on how much vegetation there is. If you want to do the longer growing ones I’d disk it this fall yet once (weather permitting). As Asgrow mentioned about errosion, if there’s a chance for it I would wait till after the heavy spring rainfalls to disk or you could end up with a disaster.

    AvatarLundImpact1675
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    Post count: 260

    Asgrow- that is classic and I was thinking the exact same thing after I wrote the OP. 😆

    There is a rough wheel track through the CRP that I can use to access the pasture, and it has two gates, one on the SE and the other on the SW. The line fence separating the CRP and the pasture runs E-W and is the high point of the tract and top of a ridge. The pasture slopes down and away to the north. The flattest high ground in the pasture is shaped like horizontal “P” with the lobe running north. The areas flanking the E and W sides of the “P” are steeper draws with cedars and brush. The northern border is a thick cedar ridge with a hardwood river bluff further north. Bedding areas exist within and flank the hardwoods.

    Based on guys’ recommendations on a mid-late summer planting, I should have plenty of time to disc, spray, cultipack next year after the spring deluges and crappie bite are over.

    Does anybody have a brand of brassica mix they would recommend? What am I missing?

    Avatarcmward
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    Post count: 451

    Spray it right now to start, I would then mow it as you will retain your organic matter. Then my best plots have had beans, winter wheat, and purple top turnips. A sprayer is your best friend, and I have broadcast every plot and had a stand.

    AvatarFranktheTank
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    Post count: 352

    It is very easy to fail putting in a food plot. Been there.

    Step 1: Most important step!! Have your soil tested where the plots going to be located. Whitetail Institute has a very easy testing kit. $13 they send you a bag with instructions on how to collect soil samples, mail it in and they tell you what your soil needs. Do not get cheap on this step. spend the money! Trust me its worth it! your soils probably going to need a lot of Ag Lime to fix the pH.
    Step 2 : SOIL SAMPLE TEST!! don’t forget step 1.
    Step 3 : do what ever steps Whitetail Institute tells you to do. Yes it cost more then a coop but it will teach you the basics of farming. then you can buy cheaper seed at a coop down the road.

    AvatarLundImpact1675
    Participant
    Post count: 260

    Thank you for the tips and recommendations. Soil testing is something I overlooked and may definitely look into!

    Avatarcyclones30
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    Post count: 3357

    Are you planning for 2017? If so, mow it off a few weeks or a month before you plan to plant it. Let the weeds and whatever is growing there now grow back a bit and spray it w/ roundup and 2,4-D. Wait 10 days or so and most everything should be dead, plant right into that. No need for plows or any tillage if you’re worried about the slope.

    Avatartwdenney
    Blocked
    Post count: 772

    Unless you have a damn good heavy disc it is going to have little or know effect on waist deep pasture. Burn it down with Round-up for what it is worth this year and do it again in the spring. Then try to disc the sod after it has set through winter and frost pattern. Should disc up nicely then. Too bad it s hilly and erodible ground because if your could plow it or chsiel it this fall it would be prime in the spring.

    AvatarLundImpact1675
    Participant
    Post count: 260

    Thank you all again for the advice. Quick question on fall burndown, we’ve had several frosts now, and I’m wondering about the effectiveness of spraying this late if the grass has already pulled its sap down. If not actively growing, I’m afraid uptake of the glyphosate or 2-4 D will be minimal.

    What about this plan…

    Mow/bale in June
    Spray after couple weeks when actively growing
    Disc or harrow to level
    Culti-pack
    Broadcast
    Culti-pack

    If i had access to a heavy drill I wouldn’t mess with the tillage.

    Thoughts?

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