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FOOD PLOT

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I need some advice on flod plots. I have a small food plot that I want to plant again this year. Around 1/4" to 1/2" acre counting my lanes. I planted it last year with wheat and oats. I did not do any soil testing, but I did put fertilzer and prepared it pretty good with a pull behind plow on my 4-wheeler. It came up ok. and it the allowed my 8 year old to see some does while hunting with me. The thing about my food plot is that the area does not receive full sun early season, but once the leaves fall it receives a moderate amount of sun. I want to plant something to be an attractant and I'm not worried about biulding hugh racks. I want my boys to have a better chance seeing deer when we go. I am thinking of planting oats, wheat, and australian winter peas. Any advice would help.
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I plant some small plots like yours and I have come up with a mixture that works well. For a 1/4 acre I mix 50 lbs. rye grass, 25 lbs. clover (I get 5 different kinds of clover 5 lbs. each = 25 lbs.), and 25 lbs. of field peas.

I plant it all at the same time, and it grows thick. The field peas and rye grass come up about the same time. I noticed that the deer eat the peas first. By that time the clover sprouts and the rye grass will get green green.

Before you plant try some triple 8 and some lime.
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   Chad D
With a plot that size, you won't be able to lant much of anything that will build racks, so it is good that that is not your goal.

There are a number of attractants that you can use that will come up good. Short of it being an area that will get flooded, just about anything will grow with moderate sunlight.

The good thing about austrian winter peas it that they are a legume, so they don't require fertilization. Liming is always good, though. Oats will probably provide you with the best germination as far as grass seeds go. test plots I have seen will almost always show the heaviest utilization on oats over wheat or rye, with wheat being the most nutrituous. Rye really should be reserved for cattle, as they are about the only thing that will eat it when given an option.

With a plot that small, I would say to just stick with the austrian winter peas. they have the best browse tolerance and will bring them in, and require the least amount of "work". at 1/2 acre, you can plant at about 25 pounds and be just fine (15 would really be more than enough, but a bit more won't hurt as long as you don't go overboard with it)...Mixing with too many other seeds will just add for competition for nitrogen and ground space. If you were planting several acres, I would say to mix it, but it is not really needed for what you are trying to accomplish....
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   scalahan
Big Fish: I'm not positive, but I think the recommended rate of seed p/acre for clover is 3 to 5 pounds. Maybe even less if you're mixing with other seed. Check with your local co-op. If so, 2lbs should be plenty for a plot that size.
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   Chad D
scalahan, the recommended rate for most clovers is 5 pounds per acre.....
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   sledge
Buckinrut, what Chad said is true, but while most La. soils need lime,I would have the soil tested before putting any out. If you do lime, you should do it now, and well in advance of planting time. Without much sun, Austrian peas may get too "leggy" to do much good.You might try mixing a half pound of rape seed in with your rye/wheat. Deer love it. But, don't go overboard. On a quarter acre, about 10 to 15 lbs of Rye, and the same with wheat, should be ample. Get it too crowed, and it will defeat it's purpose by not growing tall,and broadning out. The thing with these 3 seeds, you don't have to do much covering, as a heavy dew, or light shower will root them quick. If you can, and it won't ruin your spot, thin some of the trees on the South side of your plot to let in more mid-day and afternoon sun. For that size, I would fertilize with about 50 lbs of triple 13, and till it under 2 to 3 weeks before planting to give it a chance to breakdown. Good luck.
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   BUCKINRUT
How much lime to put in a 1/4 to 1/2 acre food plot?
I have never put any and have not planned on having the soil tested. Where can I purchase Winter peas and Rape seed in the Lafayette / Broussard area? Keep the info. coming, I am sure it will help not only me but everyone on this site. Thank you.
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   Rambow
Chad, I don't know what type clover you're using, but I plant crimson clover and the recommended rate is 10 lbs./acre. I use to plant all the high price brasssicas,vetch and other things you see on TV and magazines. They all work well, but I took the advice from my area biologist and plant only winter weat mixed with crimson clover. I put down 120# of weat & 10# of crimson clover/acre with 200# of 13-13-13 and lime/acre. The weat is a stifer stalk and won't bend over later in the season and shade out the clover. I scatter five 1 acre plots on 300 acres. We shoot deer in every plot and the bucks scrape all around every plot. I do plant a special 1/2 acre bowhunting plot with iron clay peas. I put down 50# with 100# of 8-24-24. The deer don't let them go to seed.
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   chev
Generaly its about a ton of lime per acre, I used 300# over a 3week period to get my pH right I broadcasted about 2# of seed from biologic, havent check it in two weeks but the last I time I did some of the plot was about knee high.
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I would recommend two options.
1. rye grass! Frowned on by most wildlife experts but your goal like most peoples is to see deer while hunting. Rye grass (not to be confused with rye) is one of the easiest crops to grow, does very well in the shade compared to most forage crops and is cheap.

2. Clover is my other recommendation. Clover covers many different species and not all are suited for what you are looking far. But white clovers such as Ladino are excellent and in well maintained plots don't need to be reseeded each year.

I would stay away from the peas because although they deer love them, they probably love them to much. A pea field usually doesn't last long once the deer decide it is time to eat there. Small plots can be wiped out in a week.
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Also known as Buck Forage Oats (without the buck on the bag) will do well as an early season, tender forage. Broadcast them at a rate of 80 lbs/acre, fertilize with 13-13-13 (200 lbs/acre) at planting. They are tolerant of soils with PH from 5.5-7.0. Top dress with 34-0-0 in January. I would broadcast these, harrow or cover them to a depth of around 3/4 to 1 inch, and just before a light to moderate rain event (if possible) broadcast some Ladino clover at a rate of 6 lbs/acre on top of your plot. Let the rain do it's job of setting the clover seed. FYI - make sure the clover seed is inoculated, or buy the inoculant and do it yourself with a can of cola. If you choose the clover route in addition to the oats, I would skip the top dressing of 34-0-0 in the late season, as you will fertilize any weeds in the seed bank that will compete with the clover. To fertilize clover, have your local seed store mix you a blend of 0-24-24. Clover is finicky on soil PH -- one option is to look at the Biologic PHfertilizer. I got some on sale at wal-mart last year at $6 per 40lb bag.
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   Redbuck
Get your-self a leaning stand and put it buy an oak tree thats droping acorns or find a bottom where the deer ar traveling thats your best bet at seeing deer. But if you want to put a plot down I suggest cow peas and soy-bean! I go with the leaning stand Idea get one that sits two people the way both of you can enjoy the deer fever hopefully buck fever!
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   Don T
At the QDMA seminar this spring there was someone talking about clover. What he said was that crimson clover is not a high choice for deer usage but it put the nitrogen back in the soil supporting the other plants on the plot. The white clovers were more prefered by the deer.

I planted crimson with my plots last year and it did not get big enough for browsing until after the season. I mixed 2 oats & 1 wheat and 1/2 Austrian peas. These peas are very tolerant of browsing, but under very high usage would not maintain the plot for the whole season. However in the spring the deer usage was very heavy mostly eating new growth rather than the actual peas themselves. The turkeys took care of that.
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   oatdawg
is not Coker 227 oat. It contains a patented, exlcusively licensed oat variety (by Arkansas County Seed) developed by LSU AgCenter. Coker 227 is a 1972 oat variety developed by Cokers Pedigreed Seed (formerly of Hartsville, SC).
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   scalahan
If you're going to plant oats, save your money and don't buy the hype. I tried the Buck Forage oats on a plot 2 years ago. I usually use feed oats (for horses) that costs about 1/5 the price, but it doesn't have a picture of a deer on the bag.

I planted two plots at the same time, with the same conditions only about 400 yards apart. There was no discernable difference in growth and/or deer utilization.
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Sorry to say this, I don't know much about food plots, but I will suggest some healthy food items to eat to be fit. Mostly I prefer to eat healthy breakfast at Subway restaurants because they have a separate menu for healthy breakfast items. I prefer Panda Express restaurants for fast food because they have plenty of different types of fast food items on their menu. Panda Express restaurants are taking their customer's feedback through an online survey at panda express/feedback website, and by using their customer's feedback, they will improve their services to give a better experience to their customers.
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