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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not contesting the effectiveness of rye as food plots. People who use it rave about how it'll grow anywhere, even in shade, and that deer love it. They also say it's cheap an ridiculously easy to plant. It has benefits of not only feeding deer, but also as a cover crop to control weeds. The list of pros go on & on with pretty much no cons. However, I never see it listed in the mix on any food plot seed bag I look at. If it's so awesome and so cheap then why isn't it a major selling point, or at least commonly used in the mixes? Seems everybody hates rye grass and loves cereal rye, but it's the rye grass used in the bags of mix. If the cost is relative, then why?

Just a nagging question in my mind. Figured I'd ask what yall thought. I'm probably missing something.
 

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Every single fall mix our coop sells has rye grain in it. Even then, I mix my own, those camouflage 50 lb bags aren't cheap, and they usually have something in the mix I don't want to plant. If you're talking about the small buck on the bag mixes, rye grain would take up too much room; you need a lot of it.
 

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Rye grass is a filler that looks great but isn’t cared for by deer. The grass comes back every year unlike the the grain that is an annual. The grass is more to please the guy who planted it than the deer
 

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Its a good question, but yes they would need a lot bigger bag and more product to cover the same amount of space.
 

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There is some brands that Offer a "MIX" that has Cereal Rye one is Antler King's "Fall Winter Spring Food Plot Blend another I think has it is Tecomate "Shake & Rake" that is 2 that are a "MIX" so I am not sure how you miss those 2 and there is probably others. Some are a different Variety than the common Cereal Rye you buy from your local AG as some are "high sugar" grasses. Where as Lawn Rye Grass as mention deer won't touch it! And Cereal Rye is a Cool Season Plant! and some places Called "Winter Rye"... Also for some Cereal Rye is quick to germinate, broadcast it and a good rain and it will come up! Simple for a quick plot mix it with some clovers, forage chicory, tricale, maybe some winter peas for a mid late summer planting. For me I plant for a food source for deer and wildlife year round, I plant Mammoth Clover, Ladino, Aslike, Dutch White, Medium Red and Crimson. as well as Small Burnett, iron / clay peas, essex rape seed, brassica, among others this year I am trying some lablab but it won't last I am told deer will hammer it! You just need to look, found another that offers Cereal Rye in their mix "Hancock's Fall & Winter Wildlife Seed Blend" Not sure why but there is probably more that offer a mix with Cereal Rye. I have been planting Cereal Rye for 15 years in the mid August time frame. Last year I planted AK "Fall Winter Spring and when I find a deal on Tecomate I buy their "Shake and Rake' year end clearance. So I guess Some just are not aware of Mixes that have Cereal Rye In them!
Oh Well...
LFM
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I could see the bag size being an issue. That makes sense.

I'm aware of the difference between rye and rye grass. My question was pertaining to the bags of seed being sold at Bass Pro, Cabelas, Sportsman's Warehouse, etc. type stores. If cereal rye is that awesome and economical, why wouldn't it be in all of the mixes? Bag size makes sense. That probably is the single major reason. I hadn't considered that.
 

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Popularity in Cereal Rye has gone through the roof just in the last year or so really. Just as microplots and no-till and throw-n-mow type strategies have. Im sure you will start to see it in more mixes. Its good stuff. Probably means the price will keep going up too.
 

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Winter Rye has 2 potential drawbacks.
1. It is allelopathic......it gives off chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants around it. This is great for weed control , bad for many of the plant seeds you mix with it. It does work well to nurse crop Alfalfa.....which is also allelopathic.
2. It grows as thick as dog hair the following spring......and it can grow/germinate at a lower temp than any other cereal grain, so it can be hard to deal with the following spring, especially if you have fawns on the ground early.
We get "local" rye pretty inexpensively, but generally, wheat and tritcale mixes will be just as palatable to the deer (or more), they are shorter in height, and with the price of wheat.....generally really inexpensive.
 

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I have never seen it Inhibit other Plants growing Including Clovers and other plot seed as well as Weeds! As to dealing with it You Just Mow over it! And You are DONE! That is all I do once it comes up a few inches I mow it down! Just to Prep for other Seed at that Spot as it is an Annual. Does not take Much running a Mower over It! I guess I have been doing for 15 years and Know what to EXPECT as Many do Plant It here in Michigan it is a Popular Fall Plot Seed...
Never understand why some just have no idea as again It does come in MIXTURES I post 3 that can be found at many places. As most do not only buy from Cabelas, Bass Pro, You can find the Antler King from Sportsmanguide among other places (Blains Farm & Fleet, Monster Buck Supply) just a quick google search! And never seed anything Not Grow Where it has been on my Property! Though You are paying more when it it might be included in a Big Name Brand as I pay maybe $6.00 for 10 lbs... And plant strips of it alone as well as a mix to let other seed get started before the Deer hammer all that is planted... Deer like many things that are grown in Deer Food Plots never limit it or worry about Cereal Rye. Most say it will grow just about any soil type as I have Sand and it does grow there... But many others do as well.
LFM
 

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I have never had deer touch cereal rye. I have planted it alone and in mixes of my own creation and it never gets touched. It does grow easy and fast, but serves no purpose for me for deer food. The deer in my area also won’t eat oats either and they are easy to grow and inexpensive as well.

Meat


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Winter Rye has 2 potential drawbacks.
1. It is allelopathic......it gives off chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants around it. This is great for weed control , bad for many of the plant seeds you mix with it. It does work well to nurse crop Alfalfa.....which is also allelopathic.
2. It grows as thick as dog hair the following spring......and it can grow/germinate at a lower temp than any other cereal grain, so it can be hard to deal with the following spring, especially if you have fawns on the ground early.
We get "local" rye pretty inexpensively, but generally, wheat and tritcale mixes will be just as palatable to the deer (or more), they are shorter in height, and with the price of wheat.....generally really inexpensive.
LOL!!

1. Yes, rye is allelopathic. I've never seen it to be "bad" or have any negative effect for any plant I've used it with. It grows well with other cereal grains, clovers and brassicas. If you seed it heavy, yes it will be quite thick but this is likely due to soil competition and shading out other plants the following spring. Oats will do the same (and are allelopathic as well). Like other cereal grains, they do make a great nurse crop with other plants as you suggest. Watch your planting rates and you'll be fine.
2. Rye does takeoff in the spring, but that can be an upside! There is likely no better cover for fawns than an uncut clover/rye field in the spring! Bucks will bed in it as well. I know, sounds horrible :)

To the OP - Cereal Rye is very popular in fall foodplot blends. If you want "buck on a bag products", check out Real World Wildlife (Harvest Salad, Deadly Dozen), Eagle Seed (Smorgasbord, Fall Buffalo), Pennington, Deer Creek Seed and Hancock to name a few. I would say oats are a touch more popular but only marginally cheaper. $1-$2 a bushel.. not much. Rye takes a beating and stays green all winter, providing great food into the later winter (Feb/March) time periods when most everything else (except clovers perhaps) are done and dead.

Good luck!
 

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I have never had deer touch cereal rye. I have planted it alone and in mixes of my own creation and it never gets touched. It does grow easy and fast, but serves no purpose for me for deer food. The deer in my area also won’t eat oats either and they are easy to grow and inexpensive as well.

Meat


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I did a test plot last year as an extension of our home garden on 10 acres with deer in the area. Brassica was highly recommended, so I planted a buck-on-the-bag mix in the center with cereal rye on the perimeter. It all came up well, but the local deer ignored it. I was hoping once the surrounding corn came down in mid-November, they would start getting curious.....NOPE....ignored it completely. I still have some of that left, plus a bag of oats mix that I was contemplating putting in as "micro-plots" on our 21 acres this summer.....now I am not so sure. We went up a few weeks ago and sprayed a 1/5 acre opening and then seeded with buckwheat as a nursery crop. Hoping to get back up to check it out later this week.
 

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Popularity in Cereal Rye has gone through the roof just in the last year or so really. Just as microplots and no-till and throw-n-mow type strategies have. Im sure you will start to see it in more mixes. Its good stuff. Probably means the price will keep going up too.
You're right Swiffy, definitely more popular. It has been easier to find the last couple years, now it seems everyone has it. I consider that a good thing though :)
 

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We always plant it with wheat, deer seem to like the wheat a little more, but they will eat either. The soil building qualities of rye are too good to not put it in our mix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have never had deer touch cereal rye. I have planted it alone and in mixes of my own creation and it never gets touched. It does grow easy and fast, but serves no purpose for me for deer food. The deer in my area also won’t eat oats either and they are easy to grow and inexpensive as well.

Meat


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That's interesting. Pomeroy isn't far from where I hunt. I've noticed certain crops do better in certain areas. For instance, a brassica plot where I'm at in TN doesn't get touched even though I get some giant turnips & radishes from it. Same blend in the two properties I hunt in OH stays nubbed to the ground.
 

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I've got some mixed in w clover and rape. The deer don't eat the cereal rye. It's taking over and Travis 12123 hit it on the head... It's more for the guy who planted it than the deer.
It makes you look like you're a plot pro w all that fresh new green sprouting up.
Great for rabbits but In actuality it's just internet hype so if you have a choice, find something better to grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To the OP - Cereal Rye is very popular in fall foodplot blends. If you want "buck on a bag products", check out Real World Wildlife (Harvest Salad, Deadly Dozen), Eagle Seed (Smorgasbord, Fall Buffalo), Pennington, Deer Creek Seed and Hancock to name a few. I would say oats are a touch more popular but only marginally cheaper. $1-$2 a bushel.. not much. Rye takes a beating and stays green all winter, providing great food into the later winter (Feb/March) time periods when most everything else (except clovers perhaps) are done and dead.
Thanks. I plan to put some rye out in a couple months. I've tried wheat, oats, brassicas and of course clover. So far everything has worked in some way or another depending on location. I want to try rye in some steep hardwood country in Ohio. I have a south facing slope with a big flat where an old sawmill used to sit 100yrs ago. I cleared it out last spring and turned over a few inches deep, added lime a couple times. If it takes ok it'll be the only non-native food for miles any direction in a sea of steep ridges. I'm pretty confident it'll take.

Interesting conversation. Thanks to everybody for chiming in.
 

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I just rolled some down this weekend over soybean seed, and happy to see rain yesterday and today. Since I have to broadcast seed, that’s when I check for fawns or turkey. I do a mix of grains along with other stuff Aug/Sept and yes it does always get browsed at some point in the fall or winter. This is NE Ohio, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the woods in Meigs too, years back.

Edit: if you’re building soil you might consider a few radishes too.

 
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