What to Plant in a Food Plot - Not Corn

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What to Plant in a Food Plot - Not Corn

Postby StephenChilcote » Wed May 09, 2012 6:23 am

What to Plant for a Sure - Fire Food Plot

For the second time this spring, the subject of planting corn in a food plot came up. One plot was for a WHIP funded project that would be planted under a power line. The other was on top of a mountain on old strip-mined land. Both areas are relatively small at about an acre to an acre and a half.

As attractive as corn is to game, in non-agriculture areas, poor soils and small plots, it is a waste of time, money and effort. By the time hunting season rolls around, the corn will be all gone and fail to attract anything. Corn takes a tremendous amount of energy to make. All competition must be removed from the field; copious amounts of fertilizer are needed, especially expensive nitrogen and most of the plant is not palatable. Better to buy corn and put it in a feeder – but only if you mix in some alfalfa pellets and roasted soybeans to make it a healthy ration.

My motto is – corn is for cows.

I will talk about food plot systems in another article. For now, I will say that the most important food plot plants I put in are hybrid brassicas and forage oats. Notice I wrote hybrid brassicas and forage oats. Hybrid brassica is a cross between rape and turnip. It doesn’t make a bulb but puts more of its energy into making green tops. Sometimes deer eat turnip bulbs, but my experience is that they usually do not, so they are wasted. It also can survive browse pressure better than turnips and they are more palatable. I don’t even bother with turnips any more. They are sold in seed mixes of the major brands – t-raptor and Pasja are in my plots and I am trying a new variety this year as well as some canola.

I tried forage oats many years ago and was really impressed with the attraction on a fall plot. There were no acorns in the woods that year where I planted them and deer crowded the food plot. There are multiple varieties of these as well.

But Steve…what about clover? Clover is over-rated but still an important part of your food plot strategy. The problems with clover are: it can be tough to establish, it comes up a little late in the spring and goes dormant in the hot dry weather, then freezes out after a few hard frosts. Brassica and oats will be attractive all through hunting season. I put clover in all my plantings in case what I planted doesn’t work out due to weather or overbrowsing. Clover can sit in the soil a long time until the environment is right for it to grow. I use Alice clover since it seems to be more palatable and attractive to deer, lasts a long time and grows in marginal soil.

If you have a limited amount of space, these are your best bets. But, keep in mind that brassicas and oats are annuals. If you have more space, work grains into the system. More on that later.

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Re: What to Plant in a Food Plot - Not Corn

Postby Modeerhunter » Fri May 11, 2012 6:33 am

I guess if you are just looking for a plot to hunt over during the season, brassicas and oats would be a good choice, but for year round nutrition, they aren't all that good. Soybeans and clover are much better options for a year round food source. Clover shines in the spring and fall, and soybeans shine in the summer and winter. You can also broadcast wheat, oats, or cereal rye into your standing beans as they begin to yellow for an added food source.

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Re: What to Plant in a Food Plot - Not Corn

Postby msbadger » Fri May 11, 2012 8:13 am

That's whats great about forums...a variety of opinions and experiences...I agree to disagree on your assessments....due to many years of field experience for my area,,,as with deer all areas are different one degree to another ;)
Romans 14:10
Romans 14:13
James 4:11
Luke 6:37

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Re: What to Plant in a Food Plot - Not Corn

Postby Legion » Sat May 12, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi, new to the site. I recently planted to very small plots deep in the woods/bayou. The first was a small plot of the E.H. Throw and Grow. Checked it a few weeks later, very beautiful, but not one pic off the camera of deer. So let it be and created another small plot about 50 yrds from it and half in the E.H. Throw and Grow and I did the other half in E.H. Maximize. A month later checked both plots again. The very first plot was still pretty but no pics still. I was starting to get disappointed and thought I had killed the only deer in the area, but when checking the second plot, once again, very pretty, bit this time, I had several good pics of 4 nice does. I didn't realise it at first because I was so happy their was stop deer in the area, but the deer would routinely come back night and day to eat, but only off the half of the plot that had the Maximize on it. All areas are different and deer in different regions I guess are acustomed to different foods. I have a few other experiments I want to try and will post some pics that I have. Will let you know.

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