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2018 Food Plot Seed Review - Discuss
The results are in after another year of testing food plot seeds and recording both the growth and utilization by deer. Interesting results this year!
Great looking plots, Pat. I have yet to plant any Austrian peas, but plan on doing so this summer in some sort of mix. Did you plant Gen2 or the Northern blend of the RW beans? We had tuff drought conditions last summer till August, so not a very good indication of normal results, but my RW gen2 beans seemed to do a little better than the northern variety. They were definitely more shatter resistant. The one negative to them, IMO, is the longer maturity date. They hold their leaves longer, which affects growth on my cereal grains and radish/turnips seeded into the standing beans.
t-roy, it was the Northern blend. Last year I had the gen2 variety. You know, I forgot about that. I bet that's the reason the beans did not draw as well in the early season but I couldn't keep them out of my beans in the late season. Very interesting and thanks for bringing that up.
I am curious about the RW beans. They are more pricey than Ag beans. Their claim to fame is that they hold the beans in the pods better than Ag beans. We keep some of our Ag beans fenced until December and I have not noticed beans dropping out of the pods. I have not planted the RW and am not convinced they are worth the extra money over Ag beans. I suspect that the RW plants don't make the forage that Eagle beans do though. What do you think Pat? Eagles are getting pretty pricey though - almost to the point where I am going to start looking for an alternative. I have high deer population and use the forage beans in some of my bigger plots that are open in late summer and through the fall. Those beans have always shown that they can stay ahead of the deer if I give them a few weeks head start by fencing them. I have also been impressed with GR's Frosty delight.
I used RW beans last season on my 4 acre plot in IL and the deer crushed it. TRoy, so true on the leaves, I tried broadcasting in some Rye and Red Clover, it came up but was spotty at best due to the leaves lasting so long.
Pat, I am not sure why but the deer are not eating my radishes either. For the past two seasons, I had most rotting in my fields. Not sure if I planted too early but this season, I am sticking with grains and beans.
Good looking plots as always ! I'm going with Gen 2 RWW beans this year in two plots on my place, per your suggestion Pat. I've planted other RR beans in the past, and had good pods one year and hardly any the year before. As everything was the same, I can't figure that out. I'm also gonna broadcast wheat and Elbon rye into the plot for the first time and see if I can slip that by the hogs. It will be an educational experience if nothing else.
Pat, With all of the foodplots that you have built, the RW soybeans may have stayed ahead of the deer just because of numerous food sources....not because the plants grow so fast that the deer can't keep ahead of the growth....right? I am thinking about planting RW beans this year.....but thought that a fence might be necessary, since there aren't many foodplots in the area (maybe I'll have my answer in early May). Since our turkey numbers have really dropped off in recent years (western NY), I would like to consider a foodsource that not only attracts deer, but will also help the turkey population. The only photo of turkeys that you show in your summary, were in the Hancock Daikon Radish plot.....which wouldn't have been my first guess for a turkey favorite. What other plots showed reasonable turkey activity in them?
Mad Trapper....I’ve planted a lot of different varieties of RR ag beans in the past and have had varying degrees of success with them. Anywhere from mowing them down early in the fall to barely touching them clear into March. Unfortunately, I did not document which variety was which. Many of my friends have had similar results here in Iowa. I think there are certain varieties they just don’t care much for and won’t touch them until they don’t have any other choices. I think these RW beans are just another ag bean variety that have been proven to be attractive to the deer, plus, in the gen2 variety, it has the additional selling point of being more shatter resistant. (which I don’t think makes a huge difference in that, we see deer out in the middle of picked bean fields here all the time in the winter foraging for the waste beans off the ground). Shatter resistance is more of a positive selling point for ag harvest than anything. I will plant them again this year, if for no other reason than I know the deer will utilize them during the season. I know several guys that rave about them on several fronts. Hopefully, we will have a “normal” growing season this year so I can get a better look at what they’ll do.
Jake......My corn and soybean plots would be disasters here if I didn’t fence them (and there is an ocean of beans and corn growing all around me). They would never keep up with the browsing. They are all in somewhat secluded areas that the deer feel safer in. I’m strictly growing it for hunting plots and winter forage. They can eat the farmer’s crops in the summer (including the stuff I cash rent to my buddy!)
Also, have any of you guys planted straight Austrian winter peas? Good idea or dumb? I probably will plant them with rye or triticale, and possibly some brassica, but curious if they would do ok by themselves?
Beautiful beans. At my place in central Alabama a soybean plot would never get six inches tall without fencing.
Lots of benefits to radishes even without the consumption part.
I initially planted beans just for the forage aspects and went to RR beans because the first feed store beans gifted me with some weeds that I didn't even recognize. I planted Eagle beans two years in a row and about wiped out the weeds, but I noticed the first year hardly any pods, but lots of forage. The next year I had bean pods out the wazoo and they lasted through deer season even after the deer discovered them. This is not ag country and I'm sure those were the first soybeans that these deer had ever seen. I have no trouble keeping ahead of the deer because our deer density is fairly low, plus the native browse is good. I went to IC peas for the last couple years simply because they're so much cheaper, but I'm ready to try the broadcasting grains into the beans thing. I know I'm gonna have hog trouble but I'll try to deal with it. If that doesn't work, I'll go back to IC peas until September, then terminate them and plant wheat/rye like I have in the past.
Mad Trapper, I planted Eagles the first year. They came up great and the deer ate them up. But there was little to no pods and I need the winter nutrition so I dropped them and switched the the RW beans, which have a good balance of both greens and pods. As far as how they compare with Ag beans? I have no idea. I imagine any RR bean will work fine, but I would never plant a non-GMO. I don't want my beans to compete with pigweed doc and lambsquarter. I would lose half my bean crop.
Jake, I have tons of turkey photos in my plots, I just didn't share them. Here's a bunch in my beans after the winter thaw last year. I have lots of turkeys using my clover. I have none using my brassicas, however.
In my years planting food plots I found the preference order for turkeys to be this:
I would also add that this next season I'm going to plant grain sorghum which will definitely draw turkeys. I may do a strip of sunflowers as well alongside that plot.
That tom on the right looks kinda familiar 8^}
Pat you can get RR ag beans. I think that I paid around $55/bag at the local feed store. They make tons of beans and I have not noticed any problem with them not staying in the pods until late in the season. We have even held them into January. They just don't have the leaf size of the eagles and they don't tolerate grazing like the eagles. I agree though that I would not plant the eagles if my primary goal was beans.
Here in farm country, I don't usually plant food plot beans for their forage. In regions lacking row-crop agriculture, forage beans are more useful. Here I plot beans mainly for later season use of the grain by deer. Once all the surrounding row crops have been pulled by the farmers, these plots become a magnet for deer. But I've never found an ag bean that will retain pods much past late November here. The plentiful fall/winter rains we have here make the problem worse. The cycles of wet/dry, sun/shade, heating/cooling, causes pods crack open and curl up, with the beans falling to the ground where they quickly rot & disappear with more rains. Very frustrating. Most ag beans have been selectively developed for easily-shattering pods for ease of harvest through the combine. This is the opposite of what I want for food plot beans. If I could buy ag bean varieties with known shatter resistance, I would possibly do so, but it is just about as simple to get the RW beans. They only charge about 10 dollars more per bag than standard ag beans. The forage beans are a good bit more expensive, and I'm not looking for summer forage in farm country anyway. There's already an ocean of it in every direction all summer long. The main problem with food plot beans, even in ag country, is getting the plot to maturity without getting foraged off. I don't fence, probably should, but instead I just try to fine-tune plot locations and create adequately large sized plots. My preferred winter plots would really be standing corn because its so long-lasting and desirable to deer, but it's a difficult and expensive crop to grow.
T-roy, You're right.....and he finally stopped running.
Pat, you won't see the benefits of the balansa until this spring summer when it will have time to grow. It's a hard clover to get established but looks like you did a good job on it. Might want to hang some cameras on it and see how much they utilize it during the summer.