Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

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HoneyHole
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby HoneyHole » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:21 am

If I didn't have the gear to do it right, I'd just leave it alone. I have an 80 acre plot I'm hunting that used to be a horse farm. It's grown over with briars and swichgrass and the deer absolutely love it for bedding. I bet there are 40 or 50 deer that use it regularly. You might look to see if you can find an old used disk and/or drag. It doesn't take a lot of money to get a plot going, just a lot of elbow grease. Roundup, disk or till it in, lime, lime, lime, fertilize, and then throw a clover mix on top and lightly cover the seed. A soil test is best, it'll tell you what your soil needs. 

FarmallDave
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby FarmallDave » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:42 am

ORIGINAL: bigbuckhughes

I have about a three acre cherry orchard that is now defunct.  Trees are all dead and land is over grown with weeds, briars, orchard grass, etc.  Have been contemplating mowing to about a 4 " hieght and broadcasting some sort of seed on top of where I mow.  Would also use fertilizer and lime.  I have no farm equipment.  Would this work?  Would the seed germinate by just top dressing?  What type of seed would be beneficial to draw in deer?

 
Well, I hope you have some kind of mower that will handle 3 acres of what you have described. There are lots of things that you could do with minimal equipment, but I will let you know that doing a 3 acre food plot with hand tools will be difficult at best. I would look for and inside corner that the deer maybe using or close to using. Pick yourself some generic glyphosate and kill the vegetation you have there now and if you have time, a month or two later, spray again. Take a soil sample now to find out what is needed to amend the soil. Remove as much thatch as possible, apply pelletized lime and fertilizer, spread your seed just before a good rain and you can have a dandy plot. There are several good dvd's out there to help you get started

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shaman
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby shaman » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:21 am

This is going to sound like terrific overkill.  However. . .

If you have a lot of stumps and brush and what-not. It may be close to being a lost cause.  The guy who rotovated my last plot pulled a few cedars out as he was going, but I would not have expected him to do any more.

If you have any work requiring a bulldozer, or if your neighbor does think about some way to get a guy into that orchard for a half-hour to an hour.  You're not looking to be thorough or pretty. You just want some bare ground on which to throw down seed.  You're looking for a guy who's hungry, want's a no-brainer job on the cheap for cash, and likes being creative. 

The reason I bring this up was that I had a bum situation in my yard at deer camp.  There was room for a circular drive, but the last half of the circle was soupy.  In wet weather, we were digging ruts. I needed a dozer for a couple of hours to grade, and lay down some gravel.  I also needed a few other spots worked on.  It took me two years to find the right guy in the right circumstance.  For $70/hour he came in and did it.  While he was there I burned an extra  half-hour and had him roll out into a field and tear it up. The treads alone do a pretty good job of chopping things up.  He won't even have to lower the blade to get done a lot of this.

Then I came back and spread 2 lbs of clover seed by hand-- made a nice little clover patch until the drought took it last year.

While I was getting my stuff done, my neighbor decides he needs a little stuff done, and has the guy come over and work over an acre of his ground. If you have a totally overgrown mess, you can also turn a dozer loose in it and have the guy just tear a few lanes through it.  The amount of edge you can create in an hour is tremendous.

Okay, so it's been 2 years and you can't find a dozer guy and your wife does not like the idea of  a basketball court in the backyard.  Now what?

Know anyone with ATVs?  4x4?  Dirt Bikes? Invite them in for a few weekends.  I allowed some neighbors in one summer in 2004, and I'm still enjoying the trails they made through the woods.  Just lay down the rules and let them know what you want and how you want it. Let them know this is just for little while, and eventually the ride will end, and they will have to exit to the left and go looking for fun elsewhere.  After they're done laying waste to things, just come back after them and re-seed.  I've used a mix of Ladino and yellow sweat clover.   It may be that in a few years you'll have to repeat the process, but it's nearly a no-cost solution.
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bmt4413
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby bmt4413 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:01 pm

There's options here.  It just depends on how much you want to do.  If you are going to plant you need to get soil to seed contact be it spay and rake, burn, disc, ect.  3 acres and no equip. I'd burn.  Then you really should do a soil test.  For plants to get the most minerals and nutrients available to the deer the soil pH needs to get as close as possible to 7.  This frees the minerals from the soil to be taken up in the plants providing the most nutrition for the deer (that's the point right?).  3 acres could be a good size plot or you could break it into strips to provide a better variety of forage for year round intrest.  As far as what seed to use, that depends on the seasons you hunt (archery, rifle).  Early season clovers are tough to beat in the fall.  Later in the season (rifle), brassicas work great once the weather breaks and HARD frost sets in, and sugars become released and the draw power is tough to beat.  A place you may want to try is the nwtf.  Sometimes you can get seed, lime, ect. for free or cost of shipping if you write explaining your plan.  There are other foundations that my be able to provide your needs free or real cheap like arbor day sometimes provides trees for free or real cheap.  Planting some soft mass trees are also a great idea.  Apples, persimmon, pear, ect. are great deer attractors.
 
If thats too much, cutting the natural forbes and grasses regularly is better than doing nothing on a food standpoint.  By cutting regularly you keep the natual vegitation from getting woody and unpalatable.  Soft tender shoots are best for deer and nutrition.  

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ranwin33
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby ranwin33 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:01 am

Soil tests are great and should always be taken.  But get ready for sticker shock on what the lime and fertilzier will likely cost you on that 3 acres if your soil is anything like what we've got here in Missouri. 
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

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whubbard
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby whubbard » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:12 am

I have a farm in the ozarks in southern Missouri.  I am wanting advice on planting peanuts as a food source in my food plots.  Anyone had any positive results with peanuts and deer?  I have planted soybeans, corn, wheat, turnips, alfalfa, and clover.  Each seem to have their advantages.  I have read that deer will walk past all of these things to get to peanuts.  Any advice on PEANUTS and DEER is appreciated.

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ranwin33
 
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RE: Food plot idea. Seeking opinion/advice

Postby ranwin33 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:42 am

You'll hear the "deer will walk past these" story on just about anything we plant - you just have to find the right person, so I wouldn't place too much stock in it.  As for me - austrian winter peas are the things our deer love and will walk past everything else to get too.[:)]
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

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