What I saw in the bag looked far more like the contents of a bag of BOB fall food plot seed than a bag of your run of the mill birdseed, so I checked the seed label (always good practice no matter what kind of seed you're buying) and saw that it contained the following:
popcorn (seed, not popped) Maple Peas Canadian Field Peas Austrian Winter Peas Red Winter Wheat Whole oats Milo Sunflower Safflower Rapeseed (probably canola/dwarf essex) Buckwheat
I dont have the exact percentages of each but, by appearance, I'd say it was a good 30-40% peas, 30%-40% wheat and oats, 8-10% popcorn, 8-10% sunflowers, and the remainder made of up the buckwheat, milo, rapeseed, etc.
While a late summer/early fall planting wouldn't produce any viable corn, sunflower, or milo in New York, it would provide some cover and a trellis for the peas- and the deer crush sunflower seedlings in my neck of the woods anyway.
The seed looked to be in great condition and was packaged in this calendar year- so my only concern was whether it had been treated in some way to prevent sprouting. But it was on sale for $25 for a 50lb bag so I picked a bag up figuring if nothing else I could just feed the birds with it.
When i got the bag home i did the old 4th grade seed sprouting experiment, making sure to include a few seeds from each variety in the bag. Soaked the seeds over night and then placed them on damp papertowels put everything into a ziploc bag and placed it in a dark closet.
Turns out, all of the seed was viable and everything i had placed in the papertowels had sprouted within 48 hours!
Did a little research online and there are several varieties of pigeon feed with different percentages of the ingredients mentioned above, plus some that contain barley, some with no corn, some with field corn, etc. etc. ranging in price from about $25-$50 per 50lb bag.
Thankfully the sale was still going on when i went back to the feed shop and I was able to get another couple bags. Plan is to plant 100 lbs of this mix on a 1 acre plot at my lease and another 50 lbs on a half acre plot at a friends place with an additional 5 lbs of radish and 10 lbs of red clover per acre mixed in.
This may not be the best way to go for everyone, but for the average plotter who plants a few acres or less, I think this is a really good option for getting a diversity of crop species like peas that will attract deer and handle a fair amount of browse pressure thanks to the oats and winter wheat. For $30 per 1/2 acre (including the clover and radish seed i added) this should make a nice plot that provides forage at least 10 months out of the year.
The exact brand of pigeon feed I'm using is called "Brown's". I did a quick internet search and its available through a bunch of different sources online or brick and mortar.
If it performs alright this fall, I may try to plant some next spring as well and will definitely follow up with my results!
Attached is a photo of the seed (not sure if its the exact blend I purchased but, if not, its very close.
With that said, I had planted bird seed in my younger years and it grew well. Not worth the risk though.
I hunt in Putnam County as well.
Having said that, when I first approached the landowner about clearing planting a few food plots, the landowner chuckled and told me two things- 1. Check with the logger before cutting down any trees and 2. Do myself a favor and buy a couple bags of birdseed instead of wasting money on food plot seed- so in my particular situation, the landowner isn’t subject to or concerned by the possibility of “years of frustration and financial headaches” posed by planting a bag of birdseed.
This is exactly what I meant when I said using pigeon feed may not make sense for every food plotter- but is also true for anyone planting bin oats, rye, or barley; anyone who applies, straw, compost or manure to their plots; anyone buying repackaged seed online; and anyone who buys seed from a local farmer or grain mill that isn’t specifically bagged and tagged for agricultural planting.
It’s also worth mentioning that I’m not talking about wild bird seed. the kinds premium pigeon feeds I’m talking about are lab tested and tagged for nutritional analysis, ingredients, inert matter, noxious weeds, and “other”. Only thing not on the seed label is germination %.
Again it may not be for everyone, but I think it’s a little presumptuous to comment on what you’d do if you owned the land I lease (which you don’t) when youre talking about glyphosate resistance in the same breath. Plenty of landowners where I hunt would be way more concerned about the application of herbicides on their property than the introduction of weeds. Not all of us lease ag land and everyone’s situation and concerns are different which is why it’s always a good idea to clear whatever you do on a lease with the landowner first and not assume anything is ok, even if it’s use is often treated like a foregone conclusion on forums the way glyphosate is.
The points about introducing weeds and getting permission from landowners are totally valid, but I don’t get the way some ideas get attacked/discredited while others like the use of herbicides are accepted almost universally without question despite the possible risks associated with their use.
I happen to be good friends with the landowner of my lease and would never do anything on his land that I didn’t have permission to do, which is why I took offense, but I def overreacted to the suggestion that I might not be welcome on your land if I did something that the owner of the land I lease couldn’t care about less.
You are 100% correct that seed is not the major cost driver in most situations- I just really liked that it’s available locally in 50lb bags that have good percentages of winter wheat, oats, winter peas, buckwheat, and rape- not exactly your normal bag of birdseed!
Having to buy 50lbs of each is more than I need and would be substantially more expensive with shipping and given that this seed is tagged and tested it seemed like a good alternative.
I’ll report back with the lab results when I get them.
Getting the bird seed tested is a great idea. Looking forward to you posting the results and to see how your plots turn out.