Biggest change is removing Alfalfa from the legume mix and replacing with Birds Foot Trefoil.
Established September 2016 with annual cereal grains and clover Alfalfa mix. Put in Frost seed Alfalfa Clover chicory mix late February looking at what type of maintenance recommended. 100 acres Woods ponds 4 Acres in six plots. Thanks for any advice haven't seen any Alfalfa clover chicory food plots in the Forum so think I might have screwed up LOL.
I did soil tests, I highly recommend only getting them done at your local AG feed store and discuss results with the local agronomist for what you want to grow and why. I applied the max AGlime and fertilizers based on the tests then planted Chicory, Red and White Clover and Alfalfa.... This was before I knew how fickle and fragile Alfalfa is. It doesn't matter what you 'Want" to grow, you need to grow the best species based on what the soil tests and environment will support that meets your Management goals. If I had done that I would have planted Birdsfoot Trefoil in the plots instead of Alfalfa and saved some decent $$ - Birdsfoot Trefoil it is a much more forgiving legume. I planted a nursery crop of oats and cereal rye over the Chicory, Clover and Alfalfa. We're all in Ohio so planting was mid Sep, the pic below is late Oct.
I planted an alfalfa/clover/chickory mix last year. Mowing kept the weeds out but the chicory didn't like the mowing either. Also sprayed the plot with a generic for slay called "thunder" and sprayed clethodim. Although I do think spraying helped during the dry summer months when I didn't want to mow I think the mowing helped the most. The alfalfa and clover are both coming back strong! Good luck with your plot!
Hi Bob, I saw the plots and they looked familiar so I check who it was. This is your neighbor. There sure are a lot of turkeys in the area. I am going walleye fishing tomorrow and hope to have fresh fish for turkey season. I am planning on hunting the first week of season. I can bring some fish and single malt. Your plots look good. Cliff
Pat, a couple of thoughts for you to ponder. For a full season blend with alfalfa, ladino clover might perform much better than red clover in the summer months, especially if the weather is hot. Ladino clover does not lignify like red clover and alfalfa, this makes it much more palatable in the summer heat. Secondly, I would not underestimate the benefits of chicory in a food plot blend. One of the biggest benefits of chicory is its ability to bring minerals to the deer. I run a small grassfed beef farm and my pastures have chicory blended into them, it has reduced the mineral supplements I feed by a tremendous amount. I don't think we always recognize the total benefits of individual plants in a mix, nor do I believe that we reap the full benefits of most plants when they are planted in a single species plot.
So fellas what I was wondering 1) is there is a herbicide that will work on a Red/White clover, Alfalfa, and Chicory mix plot? 2) If not then a mowing schedule to keep the weeds at bay?
Twanger - Howdy partner! I plan to bring some of the wild boar I got this winter and it definitely goes well with single malt. If you get lucky fishing I'll wip up that Walleye Marsala again. I will be there the first week as well.
Here is early stages of plot I planted 3 yrs ago. Like Pat, the clover took over. One mistake I made... I waited to long to mow and lost all my chicory. It seemed like it was to mature and never grew after I mowed it. Hoping the the roots will produce new chicory this year. Good luck!
OK, looks like a spot spray of Clethodim 26.4% Herbicide for the plots with Clover (red/white mix), chicory, and alfalfa to knock back grasses, as well as regular mowing. This is what it looks like late Apr. Will spray in mid-June after mowing. Thanks for the input and advice, new to the plot kabuki dance - just learning the steps.
Drycreek - the stems you see are the nursery crop of cereal rye and oats from last fall. I jsut established the plots in Sep '16 those oats and rye they will die off in the next few weeks and make some mulch for the somewhat poor soil in the plots.
So many people don't realize that many of the broadleaves in your new food plots are annuals. If you clip them, they might regrow but the 2nd time you clip them they pretty much are gone. How do you think organic farmers make a living without the use of chemicals?
A firm seed bed that allows your perennials to germinate fast, getting ahead of weed canopy is essential.
This is the field Sep 10, 2016 at in initial planting, the neighbor organic farmer that disc'd it did it three times over the summer to kill all native grasses / veg - not a drop of herbicide on it to date.
Same field in June with the cover crop of cereal rye and oats up, we cut the grains after seeding (as you can see) to provide a straw mulch and to put the grains where the poults and other critters could get at them.
How short do you all cut the clover chicory plots? I cut mine about 3 weeks ago with my brush hog up about 8-10" but afterwards thought I should have cut shorter. I think I could mow again this weekend with all the rain we have gotten.
Cut it 7 inches high roughly but it was the first cutting actor the cover crop went down so we felt it could take it and it's responded very favorably. Note that there is chicory and Alfalfa in it as well.
Lewis based on my limited experience Plant in early fall with a nursery crop of annual rye and oats, frost seed it in Feb - if you have woods near - blow the leaves before frost seeding for best seed/soil contact...
Stressless, I can see that grain now that I look at it again. I'm gonna try that myself in about a month. I'm planting Granpa Ray's Mass Builder on a 3/4 acre plot and using wheat as a nurse crop. Hoping to get something in there that the deer can't outrun.
Good stuff, Rob-VT - glad it came in thru summer. The clover here in Ohio is fading some in the heat but the alfalfa and chicory is doing well. All are producing good root systems helping push N back into some poorish soils. Here the utilization, chicory is getting beat!
I'm South of Millersberg, Coshocton county. Def mow before they go to seed, also make sure your soil samples are up to date and follow the agronomists advice for your plots. Also Ohio DNR has a Private Lands Biologist program where they will come out to your farm and review your management plans for the entire farm, ponds, woodlands, food plots... for free.
Very happy with 6-7 of the 8 plots I put in last fall, got this pic almost to the day a year since I plowed the ground to establish the plots. The tire marks are the winter wheat overseed, 11-52-0 and 0-0-60 fertilizer I put on three hours earlier then this pic.
Epilogue: All 8 plots, 6 disk and plowed, 2 natural worked REALLY well. We took all 4 deer off the plots and saw/had GREAT hunts on them almost every sit. Making access trails this year to get-in /get-out better. My second P&Y - I'm hooked on the plots and the sound management. Thanks for the help/tips I'll be back over 2018 for maintenance questions on the plots.
AWESOME. Soil test now and keep PH above 6.3 and get your base saturation K above 4% (6 or 8% is even better) Alfalfa really pulls out the K, and evnthough you are not taking hay, heavy grazing removes most of the forage (and the deer droppings mostly elsewhere) Keep building the soil and the deer hunting and deer quality will improve in kind.
All my plots growth -> winter wheat and rye was grazed chin high - and remained grazed that way until early May '18 when the growth overtook the pressure. This is from Mid Apr '18 just prior to OH turkey season.
Harvested 2 mature toms off those plots, opening day and the 2nd day of the season. P&Y last fall 2 mature toms this spring. Thanks Bowsite and Youtube, and Twanger and all the rest. A small town county bumkin can read and listen and learn. Stay tuned for the 2018 season.
Love the turkey pic with the flowers I always have flowers in my turkey pics you can't have a funeral without flowers.So are you frostseeding wheat and rye over your clover and alfalfa.That I have never done but I commend you on your plots been doing it a lot of years probably 45-50 and yours look great congrats.Lewis
Update, I went in with "what I wanted" not fully appricating how much effort and delicate Alfalfa is, so a bit more then a year into it I've already headed to integrated Birdfoot Trefoil into the plots to replace diminishing alfalfa. https://extension.psu.edu/birdsfoot-trefoil -> Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) is a forage legume that is more tolerant of these adverse production conditions. and when you're not there to love and protect alfalfa that can happen fast.
So, without starting a new thread (I'll see if I can change the title) I've moving the summer and later fall legume in the plots to Birdsfoot Trefoil (BFT) - my plots aren't pH perfect and don't have loamy soil, most are 60 y/o old weathered spoil banks from strip-mining. I need something that will take those conditions and produce.
Here's the plot mid summer, doing well and a decent mix although the BFT is still young and not robust, but it's there.
Had a great season and let some nice ones walk, all the stands are now in relation to the plots, once again the only thing green in whole lot of brown woods. I overseeded winter wheat and oats in Sept and the light freezes haven't killed the clover.
SMILES! here's of the plots (in the background) update once I frost seed the Birdsfoot Trifoil.
For plots that aren't in a "woods" it's obviously not necessary but all of mine are circled by mature woods and the leaf matter chokes out a large % each year. For spring green up (see the turkeys in '18 above) I think it is deal maker.
T-Roy -- I count on a windy day and "blow with the wind" and usually in Feb they aren't dry - I hope to do it in early Dec next year following a 3-4 dry spell wet and wetter well, it's a PITA but seems to be worth it - I have 4.5 acres in food plots and takes most of one day. I'll tell you that it working them a foot or two at time, you'll know exactly where you need to frost seed the bare spots.
Year three on the plots - sprayed one last year - def saves $ just cutting the weeds - but I have two plots that are getting taken over so in '20 I'll prolly burn them down. Just did the last AgLime for prolly 6-8 years. all should be right about 6.7 ph...let it all winter and check again spring '20/ anything growing will be much more palatable then what was pushing up prior.
After some experimenting in the last two-three years I've found a crop combo that is as low maintenance as possible to produce the highest yield, stands up to the high browsing pressure in our local area, has multiple crops, has the same blend of legumes and cereal grains across all plots to spread the pressure and lasts thru the hunting season.
To kickoff the bare dirt/poor soil I split apply 2T of Lime and I use the pulverized AgLime that will flow thru a ATV multre spreader. Having a good friend/neighbor (Goyt) to loan a 2nd spreader makes quick work of it between two bikes helps!
This is applying 1500#/acre of gypsum to loosen the clay and leach some Magnesium I got too high by spreading pellitized dolomite lime for the first couple years.
All the plots are in perennial legumes: 15# total live seed/acre
40% Birdsfoot Trefoil
20% White Clover
20% Red Clover
One application of IMOX in mid Apr
One Application of Clethodim mid summer (edited)
Overseed tillage radish 6#/acre ~1 Aug
One spot spray of broadleaves ~ 1 Aug or as needed
Overseed 150#/acre cereal rye ~ Labor Day weekend
They love it and it keeps growing unlike brassicas and buckwheat that I've tried. This is a summers growing season inside and out of the UT cage. All plots experienced about the same browsing pressure.
That's the growth tuff over on the left in the UT cage
Greenbrier that half was sterile clay/shale after work last year. The light stuff is 2T/acre Aglime from the Moultre spreader.
Dam Plot (this doesn't get any herbicide only overseeding and mowed)
Pine Plot (this doesn't get any herbicide only overseeding and mowed)
APauls, They seem to love it and dig it out from under the snow. Only time they don't get after it is when it ice crusts over and they can't actually get to it.
This is Bottom Plot from this winter, '22, same legume mix overseeded with 150#/acre of cereal rye. Didn't put tillage radish in last fall so they're after just what's still green under the snow.
Which brings me to good story from last year on the plots and that fits at this point of the thread on plots - and who doesn't like a good story!
So, on Bottom Plot I snuck in on 27 Oct and picked up a card.
That was my #1 hitlister Dutton and so with the right wind forecast I got into the stand on Bottom mid afternoon the next day.
He came out and He hit the licking branch at 30 yds - but looked like he was just gonna keep heading up the plot - and it was a quartering to shot - which is a no-go for me. Bow in hand and hooked up, he continued up Bottom Plot, stopped and looked back at the licking branch= I drew back, he started back up the plot and passed the 20 yd mark I had ranged.
To "Baaaa" or not to "Baaaa" that is the question - kinda screaming in my mind as he got parallel with me. good form, good sight picture, 20 yrd pin right where it needed to be, watching him walk and he took that front foreleg out for another step - release. Saw the arrow hit true and thru and thru.
My first thought was That's a dead deer running. Second was that's the first deer I shot walking - arrow was buried in the ground on the far side of him at 18 yards.
I heard him run in the dry leaves for about 2 seconds - he ran outa sight and stopped, 5-6 seconds later - seemed like a week passed - I hear a step - then crash. Rain was about 30-45 mins out so I made the call to trail after only about 5-10 mins just in case -
I dint think there was any doubt... and there wasn't// ran about 40 yrds and stopped in a thicket... died right there.
Glad you brought this to the top. I am looking for simple/less expensive ways of food plotting. You have given me some great ideas. I do have some questions. If you answered above, I missed it. I am not questioning what you are doing, or why, just want to learn more about your system.
Doesn't the rye come back in the spring? Does your mowing take care of it, or how are you controlling it? Imox?
Rye, 150lbs/acre why this amount?
Doesn't Butyrac kill the chichory? Must not ( I answered myself :) ).
Birdsfoot Trefoil, why the highest percentage of the mix?
- Do Not terminate the rye the first Spring let bolt and cut when dead in June.
- Soil Sample and apply the correct TNV (Total Neutralizing Value) of lime to get your plot to 6.8pH
- Add fertilizer, P and K as needed
- Spray IMOX 6.5oz/acre with crop oil directly after cutting rye
- Spot Spray boradleaves Jun and Aug
- Spray clethodim in July or Aug after a good moisture event so grasses are growing
New area I opened up 27 Aug, Lime, rye and legumes went in 3 Sep. Pic is 6 Sep.
^Treat as an established plot thereafter
Established Legume Plot recipe.
- 6-8#/acre LiveSeed Legume mix in Feb-Mar (Frost Seed)
- Spray IMOX 6.5oz/acre with crop oil once mid-April when weeds are 4-6" and growing aggressively.
- Spot Spray boradleaves Jun and Aug
- Spray clethodim in June + or - 3 or 4 days from mowing
- Cut plots to 6-7" as needed over summer
- 6#/acre tillage radish o/a 1 Aug
- 150#/acre rye on o/a labor day
- Mow plots directly after seeding rye
- Soil Sample every other year amend as suggested
^ Repeat annually
The yearly mix is what I've found to offer a blend of crops they desire and that withstands the browse pressure in my small plots while also improving the soil to make the crops work in a bit of harmony. The legumes are all inoculated so they make N, the rye and tillage radish consume N in a big way. Since I don't till, I use the tillage radish to open up/break up the surface soil and offer organic materials below the 1-2" zone. Note that my lands are NOT fertile black loamy soil.
Perennial Live Seed Mix:
15#/ acre bare dirt 6#/acre frost seed into existing plots.
Note that it's 40% Birdsfoor Trefoil and 40% clovers, 20% chicory. Each will have it's own % coating so you or your seed folks will have to do some math.
Your questions are good, my co-op neighbor sprays Butyrac but I don't as, yes sir, it will kill chicory. The Single application of IMOX in the spring stalls broad leaves and like Pat mentioned in one of his posts, I make a mix of Gly and 24D, and spot spray the broad leaves. Did that in Sep after I planted rye this year.
- Doesn't the rye come back in the spring? Does your mowing take care of it, or how are you controlling it? Imox?
Yes and Yes and yes -LoL Cereal Rye is an annual. On a new plot I let it bolt and die, then cut (brushhog) and spray Imox mid Juneish after the fawns can get up and away. The IMOX spray after cutting terminates any viable rye seed from the seed heads - as well as everything else IMOX kills.
Established plots I terminate the rye when I spray the plots with IMOX in mid-April - what I miss or doesn't get fully dead I mow in Mid-June
-Rye, 150lbs/acre why this amount?
I know I'm not getting good seed to soil contact when overseeding into a established legume plot so there will be a decent percentage that doesn't germinate and or is not viable for all sorts of reasons.
Conversely I need the rye to come in thick enough when the legumes start to falter and die off in late Oct - Early Nov to continue to draw deer to the plots - and to green up first thing throughout the winter when the temps are > 37F.
150# is an easy # to work with and I guesstamate when doing rye by the 56# bushel. I made a spreadsheet to help me figure the totals and by the plot.
-How big do the tillage radish get.
Adding the tillage radish helps add food to the late plot as well. This is from -inside- the utilization cage last years failed brassica planting - it just couldn't keep up with the browse pressure. So outside the UT cage it got smashed and didn't produce. The tillage radish are the long white ones.
On a side note all this is done with an ATV - Pepe - Spreader/Sprayer/Pull behind brushhog.
These frisky boys started at 2027 up the hill and pushed and shoved their way down. Scuffled for 10m on camera.
Cliff and Chris are sitting cold front today, one across the gravel and one in Glenmont at his family farm. Having "those" conversations with the Mrs. on When and How long I'll be at the farm for this hunting season...
You mentioned that the deer don't use your plots when it is iced over. If you want some fantastic hunting during that time drive your atv or tractor around your plots to bust the crust up. Deer will thank you by piling into those spots eating right along where you drove.
Great thread! Thanks for taking the time to post all those pics and info. I have some acreage I've taken out of CRP, I may try this blend. May go back into some flowering forbs for the bees also...not sure yet.
Krieger - If your areas are big enough, make strips around the plots 10-20' of the your "Pollinator Blend" with the legumes and then overseeded rye in the middle. I don't have that opportunity but it's def a bonus.
Drought, it's one thing we don't any control over. In our county, since Jun, we're over 40% less than average rainfall. By keeping growing things in the dirt and not exposing the soil my plots are all diminished by the drought but not barren. Even with the high browsing pressure.
How wide are your plots (the ones in the woods, not the pad)?
What would you think is the minimum width for such a plot as yours in the woods?
Are you plots oriented in a certain compass direction to maximize sunlight?
Given that the GFR didn't produce outside the utilization cage, do you still recommend planting it at 6# per acre? If it is not able to grow, what benefits is it providing?
I have a heavily wooded area that has some logging roads on it, but not sure if I need to widen them or just plant them as is with a clover mixture and then add the GFR and rye. I have several larger plots on the property, but wanted to use the logging roads in order to direct/funnel the deer toward the larger plots.
Termin8r, I would be very reluctant to plant logging roads unless you are not using them to access stands and have a good way to hunt them. There are probably a few places on them you can have a small kill plot but I like to have access where hopefully there is no reason for a deer to be there that time of day. I have a number of plots a few hundred yards from crop fields with access on logging roads . The idea is that the deer will use the plots in the evening before going to the crop field and in the morning coming from the crop field. The plots are just wide spots on the roads and I do use the roads to get to the plots but my access areas are free of food if I can help it.
Thanks for the clarification. I think that anytime you can add food without hurting access it is a good thing. If you have an ATV mounted sprayer it is a simple thing to use roundup on the roads and then seed them with a clover blend, Some of the clovers are very shade tolerant. If it holds deer and causes movement you will gain from it. Very low cost.
The farm equipment I have is all based on no-till. The results are above. Get the right configuration for all your tow implements - I had a Pin and Ball connection on different implements and then bought the Ball+Pin Hitch for both the ATV and UTV to mount on both tow vehicles so you don't have to switch things to use any of the items below.
Environmental - most of my plots I can reach with 10' wide clearance - i.e., tractor, but some are only 6' wide paths to get tothe plots. So I use ATV/UTV to keep 1.5 miles of trails open and get up a couple 40° slopes
*ATV - (Pepe) Yamaha Grizzly 450 2005
I bought it used in 2010 for my brother who had developed a heart condition. Used it for general farm chores and game retrieval until I stated doing food plots in 2016.
After a couple years of plotting and using the machines I decided to add a UTV as the ATV was getting long in the tooth, and dragging the "implements" seemed to be just over the edge of the limit I felt was reasonable for the littler ATV. So instead of a newer bit bigger ATV which could do it without issue, I went with a new UTV.
*UTV - (Red) Kawasaki mule pro mx LE
This is a smaller UTV and packs more than needed for just "plotting". I could do the entire farm with either Pepe or Red but Red pulls the harrow and brushhog with more power margin / not work as hard. I could do the entire farm and 8 plots with either.
You want as much water volume as possible so the 4.5GPM is the way to go IMHO. [email protected] happens so get your expendable spares when you buy the sprayer/boom
*Harrow - 6 ft. x 8 ft. Loyal Drag Harrow
I really like this tool, you can configure it in separate 6'x 4' sections, rough and smooth, light and smooth, rough and rough etc or just use a single 6'x4' section. Very easy to configure.
* Brushhog - Swisher 11.5 HP Rough Cut Tow Behind 44"
Get the 2"ball hitch for it, spare belt (haven't changed my belt in 4 years) grind/sharpen the blades
* Spreader(s) - Moultrie ATV Spreader – Manual Feed Gate - and earthway hand spreader
This is the product I've used and used and abused - still keeps ticking. I use the Moultrie from Rye to fertilizer to pulverized AgLime.
* Culitapacker - Packer MAXX 4'
My soils are so poor that the rock and shale really don't allow this implement to really shine but it does help. I'm currently eyeballing the Packer Maxx Crimper attachment - but for hte $ I have to KNOW I'll use it in the plotting line-up.
That's it. No disc, no plow, no tractor - Not that there's anything wrong with that, just I'll spend my $ on other things I actually need.
What would you suggest would be the minimum width I should plan for when planting woods plots? I will be planting current logging roads, but will not be walking on them to hunt them. These logging roads parallel my borders, so I will be accessing them perpendicular to the logging road.
I've heard pulverized lime wouldn't work through spreaders and was told to use pelletized lime. Does that Moultrie spreader have an agitator?
Plot Width - It depends mostly on orientation. I saw you had a 60'(20yrds) x 250 ydrs. If the 60' is E<->W Then you're screwed. If N<->S then your golden. Regardless, if you have trees they will try and close the canopy across the 60' as they grow. I've lost a .4 plot called Pipline that is N<->S but the branchs closing in 30'-70' above the plot are shading it out.
AgLime - Look closely at the bag - this is a specific composite grind that will flow thru a drop or gravity spreader.
AgLime -So I thought, wrongly, after reading a bunch of posts that I'ld have to do Pellitized Lime (Powered lime that's glued together) which isn't really bad but generally you have to reapply every year or two which equals- expensive, labor intensive, time consuming - everything wrapped up neatly in what I don't want on my farm.
So I found this little GEM at the local Ag co-op which is truly AG Lime, but will flow via a simple spreader - it doesn't cake and pack like traditional hard to spread Aglime.
With a counterweight on the front of Pepe I load 3 AgLime bags or 150# in the spreader at a time.
Took a tour of the farm late last week to capture the current status. I'm done with 'new' projects for the foreseeable future. Plots, ponds, trails, roads etc are all in maintenance mode as of June of 2023. That's when the new dirt I opened on plots in Aug '22 will be finally be dialed into the same agricultural specs as the current plots. Need to add another 2T/acre of lime, the gypsum I reserved, take soil samples during turkey season and then fertilize that new dirt but then I'm - Done.
The process to dial it in and experiments to see what crops combos are all documented above. This is by far the longest in the season I've had good producing plots. Lots of thought, sweat and effort put into it.
Pine Plot is one that has had soil amended but no herbicides, just cutting 3-4 times a year and frost seeding legumes. I've noticed the legumes are coming stronger and more plentiful each year. These pics are from Dec 9th, post gun season and you can plainly see the edge of "Field" where I cut and let it go native. The grasses in it seem very pitiable to the deer due to the pH and other particulars being dialed in. It doesn't look like much until you look around and everything else is brown.
The plots, too many to do individually, have all come into 90%+ efficiency for production. Weeds, browse resistance, multiple species, etc... here're a couple.
BackPad and Edge two years ago just rye with no legumes...
Full legumes and overseeded rye - increasing dry tonnage a huge step.
Only three mature does taken from the 100 acres this season. With the plots in order and meeting the demand signal for browse thru the major hunting dates and finalizing the 1.2 acres of expanded plots for 2023 we should be good to go for years to come.
Robert I absolutely love that you keep coming back to this thread and posting updates! I hope you do it for years to come as I just love seeing your progress. Feel like I've learned a ton for some habitat improvements I want to make in the future. Thanks again.