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Food plots on muck ground
Pouring rain here in Michigan so I'm thinking about next year. I have a 40 acre piece of ground that has maybe 10-12 tillable acres. I want to plant maybe 5 acres at most of it to something. My family has been attempting to farm it(alfalfa) but due to the dry mucky ground it's not really cost effective. My ground is quite wet/saturated until about mid may, then by July is quite dry depending on rainfall. So looking for suggestions for a fall draw plot. Kicking around soybeans, or some sort of brassicas but would like some input from anyone who has similar soil. I do plan on doing a soil test in the spring. Also I have access to lots of equipment so theoretically tilling/planting is not an issue.
birdsfoot trefoil can take the moisture without dying on you before the ground dries up.
I would start with a mix of Winter Rye and White Ladino Clover planted in late August early September as Rye will grow anywhere. The Rye will be young and yummy for your first fall attracting deer and will be a cover crop for the clover as the roots get established on the clover. The rye and clover it will over winter. In Spring it will continue to grow and suppress weed growth. Late Spring Early Summer can either cut the Rye or let it go to seed, especially if you have turkey or need high fawning grass. After the Rye goes to seed and dies your clover will continue to grow and you will have a nicely established clover plot for your next fall. This would possibly be the easiest and most cost effective for what you describe. See how it does for you before you try other more difficult and expensive stuff. Start with as close to a guarantee as possible and then go from there.
I agree with what has been written above. I am in northern Michigan and do not have wet ground. My soil is sandy.
In addition to a late summer planting which will work, I suggest this while you do the soil test and have time for lime and fertilizer instead of waiting for fall.
Fixation Balansa Clover, a cold-tolerant annual clover that establishes its robust root to support vigorous top growth. Flowers vary from white to pink and are attractive to bees. A nutritious and favored food source for deer and waterfowl, crude protein levels range from 22% - 28%. Tolerant to drought, heat, shade and low fertility soil types, will grow through short periods of standing water. Thrives in acid-soils with low pH values. Suppresses weeds, prevents erosion and keeps soil moist. Nitrogen collected is released into the soil for use by other crops. As a favorite of deer, Fixation can be fall sown or frost seeded. In the northern climate, the clover will remain dormant in the winter. Soil Types: Wide variety of soils Seeding Rate: 8-10 lbs. per acre Planting Depth: ¼ inch Planting Date: Fall and Frost Seeded
Frosty Berseem Clover features a high leaf-to-stem ratio, has excellent disease resistance and grows rapidly when temperatures exceed 60 degrees Fahrenheit. An excellent choice for wildlife food plots, either by itself or in a mixture with clover or cool-season grasses.. As an annual clover, Frosty Berseem will eventually die and the nitrogen that it has created will be released to the benefit of remaining components. Maturity is later then when other annual clovers and bloom period is similar to that of red clover.
Frosty produces an abundance of flowers and is favored by pollinators. Frosty Berseem is tolerant of moderate periods of waterlogged soils and can be dormant or frost seeded. Soil Types: Wide variety of soils Seeding Rate: 12-16 lbs. per acre Planting Depth: ¼ inch Planting Date: Spring
Both can be frost seeded and you might even have a chance to plant buckwheat before fall.
The clovers will provide nitrogen for the following soybeans or brassicas.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Seasonally wet ground, which may have standing water in spring, and sometimes in fall, tend to be higher in phosphorus due to decomposing organic matter. In case this area gets too much rain in fall, don't invest too much on this ground. Mid August some cheap winter wheat/alsike clover, or a brassca mix is very reasonable. Apply Nitrogen and seed in Mid August if ground is dry enough, and let it go. If it stays dry great, if it floods out, no big deal. Ed Spinazzola describes planting this type of ground in his book "Ultimate Deer Foodplots"
I actually have a piece of ground that is very similar to what you described. I’m drought years it would produce great corn. However we’ve gotten a ton of rain in the last few years. I elected to put all, but 1.5 acres into the crep program. The 1.5 acres was left for food plots. What I’ve noticed over the years of putting in food plots is that the deer won’t touch any rye or oats that gets planted in it and brassicas always drown out any way. The only thing I can plant down there that the deer will touch is corn or soybeans, both produce really well. I’m going to be sticking with that. I have no explanation why deer won’t touch anything else in that food plot.
With my wet soil clovers work the best for me.