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Any Fertilizer Needed For Winter Rye?

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Any Fertilizer Needed For Winter Rye?

Old 07-25-2013, 08:42 AM
  #1  
MZS
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Default Any Fertilizer Needed For Winter Rye?

I am planting a 1400 sq. ft "shot plot" for my bow stand of winter rye. So far, I have killed off weeds. Next I will till this up and then plant in the 3rd week of August or so. Is this about the right plant date for N.WI?

I have read that low pH is OK - I am about 6. So I don't think any lime is needed. What about fertilizer? Any needed? From what I have read, they say no, but perhaps some 10-10-10 would be helpful?

And oats, from what I have read, will freeze out here by mid-Oct. We can get killing cold temps that early. Tired of seeing a nearly dead food plot just when I would like to see it green. I have read that winter rye will stay green right into the winter.

Should I plant some clover in too? I would like to replant this with winter rye again next year - will I have to repeat this procedure each year for this "shot plot"?

Last edited by MZS; 07-25-2013 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:27 PM
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Needed to survive? No.

Is it helpful? Absolutely.

This is one thing that most people mix up. The kind of seed you plant doesn't matter (ok, doesn't matter as much as most people think). How you fertilize it has a lot more to do with both the nutrition levels, and how the forage taste to the deer. You will definitely benefit from fertilizer but how much and what type depends on the soil test results.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:59 PM
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Mid-August would be a good time to plant winter rye in NW WI. It will stay as a small green rosette all winter, and then grow fast next spring. After other plants start to green up, deer will ignore it and it will head out about this time of year. Mixing in brassicas will probably give you more green biomass in the Oct-Nov time frame than winter rye alone (brassicas will not survive the winter). You could plant annual (crimson) clover in the spring next year, and then winter rye (or brassicas) if you like them in the late summer again. It would be tough to establish rye into a perennial clover field. A pH of 6 is not the best for perennial clovers, you would need to lime for best results.

I agree with Hoss on the fertilizer. If you have good soil P & K fertility, I might use some lawn fertilizer to boost the green biomass and protein content of the rye.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:22 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! I took a soil sample by drilling in 5 different spots and combining and the sample is on its way to the extension office. In looking into inexpensive home soil tests, some have cross-checked them with lab tests and found the results to be way off. So my home pH test I have used may also be way off. This "real" soil test result will be nice to have.

Now to till up this heavy clay! What I am doing is lifting the top 8" with a garden digging fork since we just had a little rain to at least soften it up a bit. Then I will cultivate with a tiller. Just a tiller alone won't hardly touch this clay. A large tractor would work but I don't have one and don't want to bother a neighbor to come in, and also it would tear up the other plot I already have. I think the tiller will work fine the way I am doing it.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:31 PM
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In the future, you could probably save some time and money by sending them to the lab yourself. The extension will no doubt send it to one of the UW soil labs: http://uwlab.soils.wisc.edu/farm-soil/ The Food Plot test is a gimmick to make more money, and the field test is the same for nearly half the cost. A field test is $8 plus shipping.

Good luck with the tiller. It sounds like anything you can do to break up the soil will help.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Soilman View Post
In the future, you could probably save some time and money by sending them to the lab yourself. The extension will no doubt send it to one of the UW soil labs: http://uwlab.soils.wisc.edu/farm-soil/ The Food Plot test is a gimmick to make more money, and the field test is the same for nearly half the cost. A field test is $8 plus shipping.

Good luck with the tiller. It sounds like anything you can do to break up the soil will help.
Thanks for the link. That is where I sent the sample. It was $15 (per sample) and they will email me the results. Hoping it does not take too long.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:32 AM
  #7  
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Land may need so much fertilizer and lime to grow. After awhile you learn to use a minimum amount needed in your area that year to saves money.
Then you learn what a farmer knows.
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:58 PM
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Got the soil test results back and are shown below. Since my plot is 1350 sq ft, I multiplied the amounts recommended per 100 sq ft by 13.5 . Then I got all nitrogen, all phosphorous, and all potash fertilizers and divided amounts by the fertilizer percentage number. So if I needed 6.75 pounds of phosphorous and the fertilizer was 0-46-0, I divided 6.75 by 0.46 to get 14.6 pounds. Did the same for Nitrogen and Potash. Broadcast it all out today and tilled in. Actually, since I did not have the tiller, I had to break up the soil with a digging fork to allow fertilizer to work its way down in this heavy clay soil. A lot of work, but I think this winter rye will grow very nice. Plan on planting early next week - will broadcast with a little over-seeding and rake the surface - more manual labor! I could get my ATV out for some of this, but I would rather not pack things down - also it is a tight space for an ATV or tractor. I am going for top quality here.

My pH is 5.7 - from what I have read clover does OK at this pH but will do better at higher pH. This is what I have observed with my other plots. I think it a little low for the brassica mixes that come with my plot mixes. Turnips require 6 or higher. I think drainage may be a bigger issue for the brassicas in my clay. When I was able to bull disc my field to maybe 4 -6 inches (with a tractor), the brassicas did much better than where I could only get down a few inches. The winter rye of this small plot does fine at low pH so no lime was recommended.

Attached Thumbnails Any Fertilizer Needed For Winter Rye?-soiltest-2013-600wide.jpg  

Last edited by MZS; 08-07-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:53 PM
  #9  
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Most clovers would like a pH of 6.3 or higher. I would definitely lime if you intend to plant perennial clovers.

Wisconsin does not recommend liming until the target pH is 0.3 units lower than the field pH. Turnips would like a pH of 6.0, there would be no lime rec for a pH of 5.8, your pH is 5.7. I wouldn't hesitate to plant turnips on account of the pH. If the pH was 5.5 or lower, I probably would just go with grasses like the winter rye.

Poor drainage is a problem for many perennials. Alsike clover tolerates wet and lower pH better than other clovers.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:48 PM
  #10  
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Still waiting to plant. It is hot and dry, so unless I bring in a generator and pump, I don't think what I plant would come up and last. Supposed to cool off in a week or so - should I wait til then? I am in far north WI.
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