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.
Keep it mowed (Before weeds head out, or at full bloom if clean). I mow half when required, then come back a week later to do the other half
Mow now lower than 6". Do not mow when dormant
Ensure base saturation K stays above 4% , best at 6% for clover forage
Spray any grass weeds with Cleth (Arrow) when very small
This mix has been the best /most consistant draw of any during SEP - DEC hunting season
I will be planting an alfalfa chicory + mix, High and Dry from Grandpa Ray's this spring.
I have planted chicory with Durana clover in a couple plots. The chicory had come up and was hit pretty hard last year.
Nice observation on alfalfa, clover and chicory. Maybe we can get some opinions.
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.
A firm seed bed that allows your perennials to germinate fast, getting ahead of weed canopy is essential.
Will mowing thistles before seeding get rid of them. I got thistles with some seed I planted. Never had them before.
To start I'll hit the wavetops.
- Sep '17 Fertilized as in the previous post Plus added a awnless winter wheat and cereal rye I mixed.
- Mar '18 Leaf Blew the main plots and DIDN'T blow one half of one to see if really makes any difference. Frost seeded some sketchy/thin areas.
So I'm a FIRM believer in blowing leaves off if frost seeding and actually for the health/growth of the plots. Here are a couple examples - my plots are all thin and get heavy leaf cover.
Best Rergards, Stressless
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.
2 1/2 months.... smile...
SMILES! here's of the plots (in the background) update once I frost seed the Birdsfoot Trifoil.
So as in 2018 the mature Toms loved the food leaf free plots!
The video is here: https://youtu.be/ZHU7OApGEVM
Any tips or tricks on blowing the leaf litter off of your plots? I’m assuming it works much better if the leaves are completely dry, but maybe not?
Some of the turkey bowhunting highlights over the years on this plot and some others on the property.
Update on the plots next.
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)
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.
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?
How tall do the radishes get?
Almost all my plots are on ~70 y/o spoil banks from strip mines and hot (pH) as hell. There's a 1/2" or so of organic material on them then rock, shale, clay and other sterile compositions.
Bare dirt recipe, first year only.
- Anytime prior to planting apply 2T/acre Aglime
- If dirt opened up more than 3 weeks before planting your fall crop rye and legumes
-- Spray 2 quarts/acre Gly with 1 pint 24d ester + AMS
-- If less than 3 weeks just spray Gly and AMS
- 150#/acre Rye o/a Labor day
- 15#/acre Legume mix Live Seed o/a Labor Day
- 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.
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...
THIS ? is not helping my objective outlook ??
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.
I wouldn't access the stand sites by way of the logging roads. Access would be from the property borders, then perpendicular to the logging roads.
I was more interested in planting them in order to direct the deer toward the larger (1 acre) plantings which are 20 yards by 250 yards rectangular.
This was just a thought in order to provide some more food in an area that is heavily wooded, versus taking in equipment or manpower to clear a 0.25 to 0.4 acre plot along the border.
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.
Can you provide some details on your equipment (ATV, spreader, mower/brushhog, sprayer)? I'm looking to upgrade some of my equipment.
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.
*Sprayer/Boom - FIMCO 25 Gallon ATV Sprayer 4.5 GPM 7 Nozzle
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.
Wow! What a great response! Very thorough.
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?
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.
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.
I’ve adopted many of your practices here in MN with good success....including the spring leaf blowing practice!
Congrats on your successes and thanks again for all your help!
The weekend before the week in OH the Mrs and I drove up to my boys place and found us working hard trimming and grinding about 3 tons of limbs and two trees Fri and Sat.
Some tasks have priority due to the time of year, those got in front and done:
5 of 6 mineral links in and going went kinda heavy year 2 for adding dry molasses to the standard mix.
All new turned dirt from Sep last year got gypsum finally, 2450# on 4 plots. Snagged the soil samples and went with WTI - sent Fri and got them back already.
With the price of fertilizer not sure I'll be amending in April as planned.
Had 2 duck boxes, poles, predator shield so got those two up.
Going to harrow the leaves and of course girdled tree fall into the center ?? time suck..
Got it all cleaned up ..
Trying to see if I can draw turkey to this plot, had good pics last year
Got a couple other strutting plots cleaned off as well.
Hope to have three spots for the blind this year.
All the plots are looking very good with the mild winter the rye and legumes are both putting forage up whenever the soil gets a hint warmer. Utilization cages making it easy to see.
Had many issues with the cold coupled with thick simazine for on switchgrass, lost many hours fighting that but neighbor Cliff and I got it all down for premeergent weeds. Biggest issue was the in line filter on the 25gal Fimco sprayer. It never seems worth it until It works, 2y/o switchgrass is standing shoulder high.
Didn't get to the stands I wanted to get up but don't need them in until early Sep, plenty of time. Marked some trees while scouting with Chris so all I need to do is put them up at this point.
Bottom line is early March and the herd looks healthy.
And the plots are frost seeded and rolling for the '23 season.
Ahhh just looked at the 6’ pull behind estate rake - it's a poor mans harrow. I use a harrow on the plot, it loosens the leaves but doesn't remove them. so how do remove the leaves after the 6’ pull behind estate rake is done loosening them?
I've tried just loosening the leaves and frost seeding but "removing" the leaves on heavy leaf matter really makes a difference. If you use the rake it must operate like a thatch/hay rake and make windrows 6"-1' deep that will have to be moved, or kill that line of in the plot?
Man I wish we had no snow. We haven't even had above freezing temps, so melt hasn't even started yet. Seems like the winter is starting later but ending later past couple years.
Once the leaves are 'unstuck' from the plot ground the question is how to move them to the edge the easiest. That's the mini hayrake I think - but wanted to get some 1st hand "how it works".
I think a smaller ag type hay rake would work better, plus I WILL be buying a “backpack style” leaf blower tomorrow! ;-)
Stress less, What an incredible thread! Thanks for documenting and sharing as Ive learned a lot!
Jake….I thought about using a mower and bagger as well, but my wife’s 4wd John Deere mower doesn’t have a bagger attachment. We’re about due to upgrade it, and will most likely get a bagger attachment for it, as well as a snow blower, too. She’s been complaining about her back after she gets done shoveling snow. It would be a nice Christmas present for her ;-) I’m wondering if a guy attached a de-thatcher to the front of the mower, if it would loosen the matted down leaves even better?
As for the plots I moved the leaves off and/or harrowed and frost seeded they are doing great.
Had a good turkey season, collected my globber off one of my plots - that makes me smile.
The teenage boys giving ol'Tom a hard time and he's having non of it.
Back to the plots- 2inch, note that it was mostly bare dirt in early Sep '22.
Edge, again mostly bare dirt early Sep '22.
Spoil, established plot that was browsed to "chin high" about mid Dec but the rye kept producing in the those warm periods.
I had planted Chestnut trees, they're one of those diluted Chinese Chestnut's with American Chestnut... after getting them behind browse guards they really responded and had good growth. The freeze nipped them fairly hard thou... other tree species that had bedded out didn't show anywhere near this level of burn.
I got the second application of lime down on the plot areas zi opened last Sep. Letting it cook over summer and test again this Sep to know where I'm at... put 1700# on the plots and 1150# in Crescent pond.
The 160 buck Cliff shot last fall walked thru FrontPad and 150 Dutton the year prior walked almost the exact same place. Hung a stand, licking branch and dropped trees to funnel them where I might have an opportunity before they cross the road and "Killer" Goyt gets a crack at them LoL ;)