Old 09-22-2008, 09:10 AM
Critr-Gitr's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: TX Panhandle
Posts: 620
Default RE: Calling all food-plot specialists... need help!

Well Greg, it's getting pretty late in the season, so you don't have alot of time. I am also assuming you are talking about a hunting (kill plot) vs a nutritional plot, so I will reccommend accordingly.

Fall hunting plots, especially on short notice, are best done with annuals. Annuals grow fast, and as such the protein/nutrient levels are very attractive to deer in the fall. Most folks don't realize the most nutritious parts of the plants are in the actively growing tips. Another thing I am really fond of is mixes. Different plantings will come in and out of their maximum attractiveness at different times, so a mix affords you more leeway.

The bottomland you are talking about probably doesn't have too many problems with acidity (ph), or fertility, but it wouldn't hurt to check it. The farmer probably knows the soil in his region very well, so I would leave that up to him. He will know if there are issues there.

What I tend to use for my fall attraction plots is a mix of cereal grains, brassicas, and usually some austrian winter peas (AWP). This year I mixed oats, AWP's, and Shot Plot (an econimcal brassica blend). Oats may not be quite cold tolerant enough for your area, wheat or rye may be better. On the cereal grain I would go with something that is not nearby. If there is a wheat field across the road, then use rye, or vice versa. AWP's are a legume, and as such fix nitrogen from the soil. Putting AWP's in the mix allows the cereal grains and brassicas to take advantage of some of the excess nutrients fixed by the bacteria on the nodules of the AWP's. Brassicas may not be touched untill it gets cold, and if it is the first year, maybe not at all. Second year they probably will though. After the first freeze, the starches in the brassicas turn to sugars, and palatability to the deer wiull change overnight. I have seen plots go from lush to near bare in a week or 10 days. May or may not work like that in your area, but worth it to throw some in just to see.

Main thing is that the cereal grains and AWP's need to be in the ground deeper than the brassicas. Your farmer will know how to plant them, but the brassica seedis small and only needs to be in less than 1/4". Plant the others, then broadcast the brassicas on top, and thne drag or pack it, do not disk them in. A rain right behind is perfect.

This is a simple, easy mix that should work well without breaking the bank, and be locally available. Any questions, feel free to pm me, I study plots and plotting alot. If you want to learn more, there are lots of books. There are a couple of good ones, let me dig up some links and I will post them.
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