Wildlife Management / Food Plots This forum is about all wildlife management including deer, food plots, land management, predators etc.

Small Plot Help!

Old 08-02-2010, 08:40 AM
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Default Small Plot Help!

I am planning to make 6 or 7 small food plots, becuase there are no fields or huge clearings, in my 80 acre woods, i am going to use a no till product and just rake the soil, let me know any tips or products to use, and about fertilizers and lime. I am willing to learn.

Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:56 AM
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For fertilizer and lime, a soil test will teach you far more than anyone can on here. Throw and grow type mixes need good soil contact, not covered up necessarily, but good contact. Spray the area a month ahead of seeding to kill all the weeds and give you a fighting chance. FWIW, I'm not a fan of most of the store mixes. You can do better with 40lbs of cereal rye mixed with 5lbs of clover/acre.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:40 AM
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At this point in the summer, your best option IMO is some late oats as I call them. You should get the plots sprayed, cleared, and limed (pulverized only at this point) as soon as possible. You will want to plant around just short of Labor Day. That way they will be up and 6 to 8 inches by the time season starts. This works like a charm.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:58 PM
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I'd go with Rye (cereal rye grain) because it will sprout without much ground prep and will tolerate adverse conditions better than the other small grains (oats, wheat or barley). Not saying Oats isn't a good attractor under the right conditions though.

Soilman's from up in WI and can give you some ideas on what's the best route in that area also.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:55 PM
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A soil test is certainly needed before anyone can give you specific fertilizer and lime recommendations. I would suggest you take as many soil samples as you can afford, and send them to a WI certified lab (UW Madison has a lab, $7 per basic "farm field" sample). Instructions for taking a soil sample can be found on the web. Ask for fertilizer and lime recs for crops you may want to grow, and do not pay extra for food plot tests (same tests, just charge you more money). If you want to group plots together, do so by soil type or landscape position (for example: all black soil plots in 1 sample, all hilltop plots in another sample).

You will not be able to mix lime into the soil effectively with a rake, so I would not try it (especially since you do not know if you need lime). Spraying with roundup ASAP will certainly help your plots grow food for deer and not weeds. Oats and Winter Rye are great options. With 6-7 plots, I would try both to see if the deer have a preference. You may want to try a peas and oats mix instead of straight oats. All of these seeds will do fine this fall if planted by Sept 1 (S of highway 8), do fine on poor soil, they need little fertilizer, they are cheap, and you can get them at a local coop (don't worry about variety either). For this fall, use regular lawn fertilizer for the plots (not with any crabgrass or weed preventer). One 25 lb bag of 25-0-0 would be enough to fertilize about .15 acre of small grain (6800 ft2).
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:19 PM
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Thanks, I guess now it will be 3 plots, i want to use throw and go, but the local coop sounds a lot better. so what should i all buy when im there, i wanna buy it all att once, i will be there this weekend and then the last weekend in august, it is 3 hour drive to the land so i will only get there once a month, as far as the samples, i cant see myself doing that, but i guess i will.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:04 PM
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I would suggest taking at least one soil sample that is a composite of all 3 sites. It is risky to try to grow perennials (clover, alfalfa, etc.) without knowing the soil you have. Throw and grow has a lot of rye grass. Rye grass (as opposed to winter rye) makes a pretty lawn, but a poor food plot.

This weekend, spray the heck out of the area you want to plant with 2 qt/a 41% roundup (buy any generic weed killer with 41% plus glyphosate, provided it isn't "season long control"). You can take a soil sample if you are so inclined.

Last weekend of August, buy 100 lbs per acre winter rye, and 1 bag urea (50 lbs, 46-0-0) per acre. Rake up the soil as best you can, and spread the seed and fertilizer. If you can drag something light (chain link fence, small log) behind an ATV after planting, even better.

Pray for rain.

This is about as simple as it can get, and you should get good results with a little rain.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:14 PM
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okay, it is suppose to rain sunday the day after i would spray, the have anything to concern? Also, i sent you a message.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:24 PM
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Roundup is rain resistant after 2 hours, so rain the next day is fine.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:35 AM
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I think all the advice is good. I planted a small foodplot several years ago. I did get a soil test, but in lieu of that I would bank on the fact that it probably needs some lime (unless you are in a lime rich soil area). If you aren't in a naturally high lime area I would put 2T/ac. to start (for small plots that isn't too much). I'd also put down a low/no N, med. P, med. K fertilizer (if no clover planting until next year you could use higher N to get the grain going). Definitely hit the areas with "round-up". You may want to plant the cereal grain (winter rye) and let that come in thick to help control weeds and plan on planting the actual perennial plot in the spring (deer will hammer the rye). You can mow it off early in the spring (deer should graze it then also) then go in with your plot seed (I am a fan of straight clover - all types of varieties - and get them at your local farm stores/co-ops - I haven't messed with the fancy-expensive mixes - $5/# is alot better than $25/# and does the same thing). You do need some decent sun to get a good stand. You can also plant the clover with the cereal grain - it should start to establish in the fall and the cereal cover will help protect it from winter kill. You will also want to keep an eye on the plot and control future weed with mowing and/or spraying. I am having weed issues on my plot now - looks like I'll have to spray - the mowing isn't getting it done. Just my 2 cents.
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