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Thread: First time trying foodplots and I got a few questions before I dive in....

  1. #1
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    First time trying foodplots and I got a few questions before I dive in....

    I have been researching for HOURS, my brain hurts, but I am about ready to start I am doing a total of 2 acres, the main plot is exactly 1 acre, the secondary one is 3/4 acre and the last one is 1/4 acre. In the two bigger plots I will be using Tecomate Bucks N Bosses which is a clover, trefoil, chicory mix, the smallest plot will be a mix of oats, clover and brassicas. I have soil samples being sent in to Whitetail institute and I have also tested the soil with a kit from the local store. My main plot looks to be real close to 6.5 but I will be sending the test in just to be sure. My main concern is the fact that the two bigger plots I am doing are hay fields used for bailing in late summer. I cant start from bare dirt since I cant kill the hay so I have to over seed. The grass in the fields now isnt high at all, maybe 3" at most. Should I be ok if I lightly disc the fields and hope that some frostseeding will help as well? It really hasnt been cold enough to frost here lately so thats another concern but I would like to get the seed out by mid March. I am trying hard to make my first try a success and not waste a bunch of money in the process. I bought a decent sized drop spreader and I have access to bulk ag lime for $5.75 a ton so that shouldnt be a problem. I know I will probably need to fertilize but I am waiting on the soil test to see about that and the lime. is there any steps I am missing? Any suggestions for me? I cant wait to actually get started!
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  2. #2
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    Your lime wont do you a great deal of good with out being tilled in but it certainly wont hurt anything. I would probably spend some money this summer and put down a couple hunderd pounds of some 10-10-10 or 19-19-19 or something along those lines. I would figure out a way to "scratch" the surface of your hay fields, whether it be by light disc or peg tooth drag or something. I would make sure that you actually do scratch the the dirt, then I would wait till you know you have a good rain coming and hurry out and spread your seed. The rain will wash the seed into the dirt. With out starting from bare dirt you dont need to concern yourself with the covering of the seed.

    And as far as frost seeding goes your ground needs to be froze and thaw and freeze and thaw so if your ground is not in that process it doesnt really apply to you.

  3. #3
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    We had a soil test done recently and it will indicate exactly what you need. We had some plots that I thought were sure acidic and needed lime but the soil test indicated differently. If you're planting a legume nitrogen is not always necessary. We are planting beans and clover.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Also one issue we have had in past years is making sure the seed keeps good contact with the soil. We generally have had the best luck with a light raking or as the previous poster said a nice rain.

  5. #5
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    Let me get this straight - the two bigger plots ARE hay fields ----- and will continue to be hay fields? Or, do you have free reign?

  6. #6
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    just wondering y dont u just leave the hay or if u want to start a new plot burn down the hay with some roundup
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  7. #7
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    by leave the hay i mean i have had good sucess hunting over hay in the early season so y not just leave one of those 2 big plots hay for early season hunting
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  8. #8
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    It all depends on how good them hay fields are. Overseeding them will help. If you know someone with a 'no till' drill, you could drill in some brassicas/radishs after the last cutting. then come spring they will be dead.
    I also heard of guys broadcasting brassicas or winter rye into existing clover plots in August. I have not tried the rye, but the brassicas I did and it didnt work out as my clover was pretty thick. I will try again this year.

    By me, I have over 30 acres of hay(alfafa/clovers/timothy/grassier) behind my house. It is broken up into 15acres, 10 acre field and a 5 acre field. We cut half the 15 acre field first. and then the smaller ones.
    Basically then the field is growing up at different times. I can watch deer go across all the freshly cut stuff to get to what we left standing.
    Then when it is time to cut the other half, the hay we cut is growing up and the deer hit that.
    (I also cut my clover plot in strips so the clover is maturing at different times, instead of cutting it down to the same height all at once)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerDan View Post
    Let me get this straight - the two bigger plots ARE hay fields ----- and will continue to be hay fields? Or, do you have free reign?
    The two plots are hay fields and they have to stay that way. My family has cattle and the fields are bailed every summer for them. Starting from bare dirt isnt an option. I basically want to make the field more appealing to the deer. They use them now but not as much as I would like. I do plan on disking or dragging the field a bit to get it broken up some. I just cant kill the grass though. If it werent for the cows I would kill it all and start over but for now thats not an option.
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  10. #10
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    I was also planning on doing a strip of brassicas on the edge of the main plot. We usually dont bail the hay on the edges so I can start from bare dirt there. The smaller 1/4 acre plot is a gas line and I can get it down to bare dirt as well. I wont be doing a spring planting there, I will wait until late summer to make a "kill" plot.
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  11. #11
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    Do I need to put the fertilizer on before the seeds go in the ground or can I spread it out over a few months? It would be nice to spread it out since it cost so much! LOL
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  12. #12
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    There are a few ways of doing it. Spread prior to planting and incorporate it into the soil. Spread at the time of planting. Or wait till it comes up and spread before a good rain.
    I recommend get it spread during planting so the roots have the fertilizer available. Then once they get up over a few inchs, broadcast some more before a good rain. But it depends one what you plant on what kind of fertilizer you spread and when.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jake_ View Post
    There are a few ways of doing it. Spread prior to planting and incorporate it into the soil. Spread at the time of planting. Or wait till it comes up and spread before a good rain.
    I recommend get it spread during planting so the roots have the fertilizer available. Then once they get up over a few inchs, broadcast some more before a good rain. But it depends one what you plant on what kind of fertilizer you spread and when.
    Fertilizer is expensive for that reason I would absolutely agree with Jake. In my opinion it is the perfect answer and great advice to anyone. It is by far the most effective way for plant development and cost/labor. Just be careful when applying high nitrogen fertilizers. Make sure there is rain in the forecast, depending on the crop without rain the fertilizer can really burn the plant seriously injuring it.

  14. #14
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    I found a 6' no-till drill locally for rent so I am going to go with that. I tried a small disk and a spike harrow over the weekend and it didnt work out very good. I figure if I mow the grass down and drill my clover in after fertilizing it should do ok. I will update with pics as I get this done. Thanks for all of the help!
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  15. #15
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  16. #16
    On hayfields I'd go several ways.

    First, overseed red clover into the main body of the field. This provides nitrogen for the grasses, and added protein for the hay. Deer will like it and it'll improve the hay quality.

    Second, feather the edges of the fields to create more cover and browse.

    Third, get the field edges that are not being cut in white clover or a white clover mix. White clover is loved by deer, lasts longer than red clover, and it should do well on the shady edges.

    Fourth, if you've got a drill simply drill in winter wheat each fall after the second cutting of hay. The WW will come up and provide a good fall food plot, feed deer through the winter, then it can be cut during the first cutting of hay in the spring. This is something I've seen done many times. Cattle love WW hay when it's cut at the right stage. You just can't let it mature.

  17. #17
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    If you can I would leave the hayfield alone, in the early season I hunt the hayfields A LOT and have rather good success. As far as food plots go, we have had our best luck planting small plots in the timber and leave it alone until the rut kicks in. It gives them a little sanctuary and the does will just hang out there. But I would also till the soil if you can.

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