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Diversity or Multi Species Plantings
I’m looking at planting more diversity in my food plots and going no-till and trying to avoid using chemicals.
My thoughts are using beans, peas, corn, and clover. All conventional seed and hoping the peas and clover suppress weeds. I’m not afraid of weeds ragweed is a great deer food but I’m wondering if this is crazy. My farmer friends think so :)
I had beans and cereal rye and turnips on this field last year. The rye will be coming up so I will either have to drill into the rye and then hope my cultipacker crimps it or terminate it with gly.
I’m wondering if anyone has tried this?
Ragweed will completely take over your plot;made that mistake two years in row.Glyphosphate doesn't work on it.2-4-D this year. Corn doesn't like competition either;plant separate and spray for weeds.
Beans need a warmer soil temp before planting, which might make your corn, if planted at the same time, produce marginally with the wrong variety.
I planted a climbing type soybean with Milo and the deer loved it.
Avoiding chemicals in food plots is a noble cause and sounds reasonable when you read about it or hear about it on podcasts.
Unfortunately, I've found that the reality is that weeds will overcome your efforts if you don't use herbicides. In the real world the weeds will always find a way to overtake your intended seeds. Your farmer friends have already learned this.
If you do go forward to planting food plots without fear of weeds please let us know how it worked out.
If your goal really is to create a naturally diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife then I would recommend prescribed burns. They create a wider variety of food than a food plot and are considerably less expensive.
My wife (turtlebuc22) and I (RD in WI) are considering some improvements to our 4 acre woodlot. After some chainsaw work, we are thinking some fruit trees, two conifer hedges, edible shrubs, a pond, and some black locust trees for the winter pods. We figure this will require less upkeep after the plants get established. Maybe a similar planting combination might work in your situation. Best of luck, Sir.
Hi! I think you can absolutely do this, but you might have to approach it more like a gardener and less like a farmer. We use no-till in our garden and don't have a ton of weeds, but we do have to use mulch and do some occasional hoeing to knock back the more aggressive weeds that hang on. I'd recommend checking out articles by Lee Reich or Charles Dowding- both are experts in the no-till method, but again, mulching the planting area is key to this technique working. Like my husband said above (he's using my laptop while his is in the shop), consider planting with native plants and shrubs for even better diversity and a variety of types of forage (leafy greens and woody browse). I included a link for a Wisconsin specific native deer forage mix that uses perennial grasses- so you'd only really have to seed it once and then just occasionally manage via burns or mowing and removing the cut organic material. Good luck!
Just ask Bloomberg for the answer! After all, farming is "easy"...according to him.
^^^^^^^ Yeah buddy, just get a hoe, drop in some seeds and cover ‘em up. Just like magic ! Probably easier for him though Woods, since he ain’t but 4’ tall.......
I think you're close but my advice is to go with a combo that you can use a light herbicide on, I'm frost seeding a couple plots with this and using IMOX, it'll get the rye, grass, and broadleaves.. First year doing it, this forum is to cubersome to use effectively so I'm blogging it over on TheOhioOutdoors.com same username.
I’m doing what you’re doing. But I’m new at it too. My understanding is cover crops are the key. Never have bare soil and try to have live and preferably growing roots at all times is the goal. Diversified environment for bacteria, fungi and native insects. Good luck.
Nice to see high diversity/regenerative food plotting being discussed more and more on forums like this. You can absolutely do what you’re trying to do.
Cultipacker will terminate rye- at least enough to get the job done- I if you time it right. Wait for the rye to start forming seed head to terminate. If it‘s still in vegetative growth phase it will stand back up even with a crimper- so it’s even more important to time right without one.
I refuse to use gly on established food plots (personal preference is to avoid pesticides and synthetic ferts as much as possible even though that means accepting some weed growth. my plots were never gonna be on a magazine coved anyway and it’s just deer food!)
If you don’t have a grain drill, broadcast the beans into the standing rye a good 2 weeks before you plant to crimp or burn down with gly (if using gly tolerant beans). The standing rye will shelter the seedling soybeans and help keep deer from wiping them out before they’re established. When the seedling beans are about 4-6” y’all go ahead and knock down the rye. It’s scary and you might lose a handful but 99% of the beans bounce right back from it and have a good head start by then.
Most important thing I’ve found is to up the seeding rate for soybeans when broadcasting into rye. I used almost 3 bags or about 150lbs on 2 acres and got good coverage.
If you’re willing to tolerate some weeds and/or volunteer rye (which I am), try mixing in some sunflowers, cowpeas/lablab, wildlife sorghum, and/or a little buckwheat. I also like to mix in some trailing soybean varieties- Kester bobwhite is a good variety and I believe , eagle northern mix, and whitetail institute power plant have trailing beans as well.
If you keep a diversity of plants in the dirt you will find they require less of everything- less water, no outside ferts, no herbicides, etc and deer use will steadily increase over time. As the soil improves so will the nutrient levels in the plants. Plants build the soil, the soil builds plants, and plants build deer!!!
Feel free to shoot me a pm and I can point you to some great resources on this subject.
Join "habitat talk" or "deer hunter forum". Lots of threads and info on those sites. I still use gly but much less than I used to. I sometimes plant 15 species at a time. No discing or turning soil, no drill either.