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Will drilling into existing beans in late summer harm the bean plants?

Question: I have poor soil conditions that I am trying to improve upon.  My question is, if you are able to drill annual rye into existing beans later in the summer/early fall without doing a lot of harm to the bean plants?  Obviously, would then plant the following year into the rye and terminate that.

Answer:

There are lots of variables that determine the amount of damage to the beans. The primary variable is the maturity and conditions of the beans. If the beans are in the late flowering stage or have set seed, they are stressed and are more likely to be damaged by the drill.  If they haven’t flowered yet and appear very healthy, drilling through them will do minimal damage.  Many of the beans that are ran over by tractor tires will likely be damaged.
Some of the beans need to terminated so there will be enough sunlight reaching the soil for the seedlings to photosynthesize and thrive.  If the beans in your plots mature early, then the fall crop can be planted using the broadcast method as enough sun will reach the soil for the seedlings to photosynthesize.

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What kind of food plot can I plant in Western Oregon among the fir trees for blacktail deer? There are lots of ferns and blackberries growing there now.

I used to work with mule deer habitat out of Elko, Nevada.  I enjoy that part of the world!!
Is there much sun reaching the soil under the fir trees?  All forage crops require sunshine.  If the amount of sun is limited, you might terminate the ferns and Green Cover Seeds Clover Release.  It does better in a partially shaded area than most forage crops. Clover requires ample moisture to be productive – especially when it germinates.

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How can you tell when wheat or rye grain is ready to be crimped?

Crimping terminates cereal grains like rye and wheat when they are in the dough stage.  That’s when the seeds can be squeezed and water or liquid comes out!  There’s usually about a three weekend window when cereal grains are in the dough stage.  This is when crimping is the most effective at terminating them.
The conditions vary annually and this year due to cold temps and lots of rain cereal grain seeds matured later than normal.

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If I have really bad soil but a great stand on cereal rye, can I let it set seed and just keep it there for another winter?

When the cereal rye is dead much more sunlight will teach the soil and stimulate the growth of weeds unless another crop is planted and out competes them.  Seeds from the dead cereal rye will fall to the soil and then germinate which will be the wrong time of year for cereal rye (not when the day length is correct to plant cereal rye) and the crop won’t perform well.
In addition, each rye seed that was planted and germinated likely has produced 50 to 100 times as many seeds. This will result in a stand that’s way too thick to be productive.
If the goal is to improve the soil, then polycultures or multiple species produce much better and faster results than monocultures.  You might check out the blends at GreenCoverFoodPlots.com for more information.  There are some webinars on that site by Dr. Jones that are very informative.

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Is there a certain speed we need to go when we crimp?

There are lots of variables – maturity of the crop, roughness of the terrain, etc.  Be sure the crimper doesn’t bounce. If it’s bouncing it won’t terminate all of the crop and will be a very tough ride.
We usually crimp about 2-3 miles per hour.

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I don’t have a crimper or a no till drill. Would letting the cows into the fall food plot for a few days terminate the fall plot well enough?

Unless the cattle are fenced in the plot – like mob grazing, I doubt they will terminate all the standing crops.  You may need to spray or use another system to terminate the crops not killed by the cattle.
It is very important to terminate the standing crop before it goes to seed. Such “volunteer seeds always compete with the next crop and germinate out of season for that species.

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Should the Summer Release food plot be terminated in August before the fall crop?

I plan to plant the Fall Release blend about 45 to 60 days before the date of the average first frost.  That means I plan to plant about August 15th or later here, pending on the available soil moisture.  It’s been so rainy here that we are still planting which means I may have to terminate the Summer Release crop after I drill the Fall Release into it early this all..  That’s farming – be ready for the unexpected.

Growing plants do a LOT of wonderful things for the soil’s health so I strongly prefer planting green so there’s a crop growing at all times – as many days of the year as possible.

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I treated a couple of acres with hack ‘n squirt last fall. The trees aren’t dead yet. Did I do it correctly?

It sounds like the trees you treated with the hack and squirt technique weren’t terminated.  This likely has to do with the herbicide that was used and/or the time of year it was applied.  A good herbicide blend that works on many hardwood species is 50% Garlon 3A, 40% water, and 10% Arsenal AC.  The generic brands of these herbicides work fine.

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Living on the farm is a new experience for all of us – how can we make the most of the land for deer and turkey in the area?

There are production ag fields on the neighboring properties that will provide quality forage for deer and other wildlife species during the growing season until the crops are harvested.  Then there will likely be very little quality forage in the area.
I always start evaluating properties by identifying the best sources of food, cover, and water, in the neighborhood, especially during deer season.  It sounds like establishing some food plots that provide quality forage during the hunting season, especially after the crops are harvested in the neighborhood, would provide a great attraction for deer and other species of wildlife.
Based on what I know, that would be a good habitat improvement project!

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Can I broadcast directly into a standing cover crop and then crimp over the top of the newly planted crop and find success? 

Question: I’m a small parcel(40 acre) land owner in Southwest Louisiana. I’ve been a long time viewer of your channel, love the content yall put out and everything yall do to help the hunting and farming communities. I’ve done a lot of studying on your technique, Dave Brandt, Ray Archuletta, Gabe Brown and many more and none really address my question. I recently aquired the materials necessary to build myself a roller crimper and also a set of prints to follow as I build. I do not have the refunds necessary to buy a no till drill at the moment, and my local coop and nrcs does not have one available for rent. Ive been implementing a variation of the “buffalo system” and addressing my soils resource concern( low ph low nitrogen and low organic matter) on roughly 5 acres of piney woods for about a year and thus far am finding success and beginning to attract more deer. What I would like to know is, once I finish this roller crimper, can I broadcast directly into a standing cover crop and then crimp over the top of the newly planted crop and find success?  Any direction or tips on how I might improve my success using this technique would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. My initial thought is yes I can on larger stronger plants like soybeans, cowpeas ect, but not nescessarily on smaller seeds such as clover, turnips and, radish. Maybe the answer is broadcast, wait for germination and seedling height of 4-5″ then crimp? Let me know what you think and thank you for taking your time to answer back and may God bless you and your family!

Answer:

For seedlings to survive the seeds must have a root established in the soil.  If seeds are broadcast onto a layer of living or dead vegetation they will likely germinate but often their root won’t reach the soil and the seedlings perish.  This is the role of a no-till drill – to cut through any mulch on the soil’s surface and place seeds at the correct depth in soil.
I often broadcast seed into standing vegetation but realize I must spread at least twice the seed as normal and then there may not be a great stand. Sometimes I create a firebreak around the plot and burn the existing vegetation when it’s dry/dead and then broadcast the seed.  This is a good technique that still increases the amount of organic matter as it doesn’t harm the roots, but does create a clean seed bed and often a very good stand of forage!
I’d encourage you to moderate your expectations of using a crimper without the use of a no till drill as that’s not how it’s designed to be used.

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What herbicide can I use on Summer Release?

The one negative that I’m aware of planting blends of grasses (like milo, small grains, corn, etc.), with legumes (clovers, peas, beans, guar, etc.), and brassicas is that no single herbicide that I’m aware can be used without terminating at least a portion of the crop.
Never tilling and having a thick layer of mulch really helps with weed control, as can terminating any weeds before the crop is planted.
If grasses are the most prevalent competition a grass-specific herbicide such as Clethodim can be used as it won’t harm the broadleaves, legumes, or brassicas. It will take out the milo.  Clethodim works best when grasses are less than 8″ or so tall.

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What is the best way to deal with fescue in a new food plot?

Question: I have a small property that is mostly surrounded by an Arkansas WMA.  The WMA is all timber.  I have some pasture areas that I’m wanting to convert to food plots.  It is currently mostly fescue I believe.  The area has not been tilled.  I just purchased 2 50 lb bags of summer release from Green Cover Seed and one 50 lb bag of Upland Bird Mix to plant.  We do have a few quail and turkeys that use our property, also I like to have a field to dove hunt every year.  My main question is what is the best way to deal with the fescue from the beginning?  I recently mowed the fescue down and then sprayed the area with roundup.  I was thinking I might need to burn the area once the fescue has died, then drill in my food plot mixes.  Would it be ok to drill through the dead fescue? I have a drill reserved from our county extension office for June 4-6.  I have included some pics as well.

Answer: Having the only quality forage in the neighborhood will be a huge advantage except when acorns are available. During most years your hunting will likely be best during the early and late season when acorns aren’t readily available.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, works best on leaf surface area. If the fescue was mowed just before it was sprayed, it may need to be treated again once it regrows a few inches of leaf surface area.

Once the fescue is dead, it will be best to use a no-till drill to place the seed in the soil. Most NRCS offices rent n-till drills at a very reasonable rate.

It would be best to collect soil samples and do a soil test before planting and apply the recommended amount of lime and fertilizer. You can plant without doing this but the crop likely won’t express it’s potential.

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What do you think is the most effective method of getting the seed in the ground while still eliminating weeds if we do not have a crimper?

Question: We are planting green cover summer release this weekend on our food plots, but we are unsure what the best method would be considering we do not have an effective crimper.

The fields currently have a mix of 6 foot tall rye, wheat, and medium red and ladino clover from our fall blend. As of right now we are planning on seeding, moving, and then spraying glyphosate. We would prefer to experience the benefits of the the release process through the Buffalo system, but we are a little bit stuck without a crimper.

What do you think is the most effective method of getting the seed in the ground while still eliminating weeds if we do not have a crimper?

Answer:  A crimper is an important part of the recipe.  Until you have access to one of those, you can plant green and then spray with glyphosate before the seeds sprout.  Mowing won’t terminate all the weeds – like in your yard – and will leave large clumps that will smoother out the seedlings.  In addition, mowing will leave a stem and most herbicides need leaf contact to be effective.

If the cereal rye seeds are almost mature/viable, then there’s a risk these seeds will germinate and compete with the summer crop.  Deer rarely eat cereal rye during the warm season.
I’d plant ASAP and then spray.

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How can I keep hogs out of my food plots in Texas?

Question:  I’m like everyone else in Texas I have plenty of hogs. Trying to grow a food plot is near impossible. From past experience I know hogs don’t like electric fences.
If I put up a three wire fence with the top wire about knee high will deer jump into it even if they have been shocked by it. Or do you have any other suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:  I suspect a two strand fence will be better. I’d put a strand about 4″ to 6″ off the ground (you’ll need to weed eat or spray below the fence so vegetation doesn’t result in shorting out the fence) and one about 1″ tall. Deer will jump this fence easily but hogs should receive a shock.

I haven’t personally tried this but it should work.

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In your opinion, should both honey locust and black locust be taken out?

Question: Can you give me the lowdown on honey locust and black locust?  Im located east of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I think I may have both species on my property.  Ive read some conflicting information about identifying these two.  I have mature trees with very gnarly thorns up and down the trunk.  It’s my understanding that this indicates it’s a honey locust.  I can’t easily get to the leaves yet to check those.  I also have what I am sure are black locust because of the single leaf off the end of the leaf stem. I’ve seen your hack n squirt videos for the honey locust.  Though I’ve read from other hunters that deer eat their seed pods.  Whereas I’ve read all parts of the black locust are toxic. In your opinion, should both species be taken out?  Do you know if they have any commercial value if so?

Answer: I’m not a fan of locust (honey or black). I believe native grasses and forbs growing where the locust grow is a better habitat (and causes way fewer flat tires).

I’ve worked to eliminate them from my place. A few saplings come up each year from the seed base. At this link is a paper about controlling locust.

 

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What are your thoughts on using glyphosate to terminate what is currently living winter rye/wheat?

Question: Last fall, I planted the ‘Buffalo Blend’ into standing soybeans and associated weeds, as I didn’t spray the RR soybeans…too many bees and other living creatures, and I’m attempting to wean myself from any herbicide. At the present time, I have winter rye and winter wheat standing ~ 12-18” tall. I’m waiting to plant the Green Cover “Warm Season” mix, which will likely occur in early June. I’m wondering if I can plant directly into the rye/winter wheat mix, as I know winter rye (living) can act as a weed suppressant. I’m really hoping not to use glyphosate to terminate what is currently living (winter rye/wheat) but I was wondering about your thoughts on this, as I value your input.

Answer:  I don’t blame you for wanting to discontinue using herbicides.  I view them as a tool which is needed from time to time.  This may be one of the times when a herbicide is the appropriate tool.  Cereal rye and other small grains almost always produce a lot of viable seed.  If such plants are allowed to mature, the seeds will fall after maturing and then germinate soon.  This will be mid summer which isn’t an appropriate time to plant cereal rye.

Another consideration is that waiting for this crop to mature and allow enough sun to reach the soil will make planting the Summer Release blend late and then it won’t mature in time for the fall crop to be planted.
In this case, I believe you should strongly consider using a herbicide to terminate the current crop and weeds and establish the summer crop in a timely manner.

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Can lime be applied using a no-till drill?

Question:   I have a question in regards to my Genesis 3 NTD.  I was wondering if it is possible to apply lime using the drill?  I have my soil samples back and my 2.5 acre food plots require 4 to 4.5 tons of AG lime per acre, per plot.  Is it possible to apply this lime using the genesis 3? Do you have any other suggestions? I have searched for lime spreaders and they are super costly. Is there another way to increase my ph?
Answer:  I wouldn’t use any seed drill to spread lime.  Lime is very abrasive and will destroy the seed meters, etc. Most farm coop stores will spread lime and paying them is way better than buying a new drill.  In addition, spreading tons through a 3′ drill would require a huge amount of time.

The Release Process – the food plot crop management system I use – will neutralize the soil’s pH but it will take a few years. I’ve never added lime to my food plots here at The Proving Grounds and my soil test results are wonderful!  If you don’t wish to wait a few years then I’d spend more on lime than fertilizer. If the soil’s pH is low, most of the soil’s nutrients won’t be available to plants.
You may wish to watch the video at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv_PmJc6He0

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Do you spray after crimping, or does the current growth in the plot die from simply crimping?

If the majority of the crop has seed in the dough stage – seeds formed and full of moisture, not hard – then yes the crimper will terminate the crop.  Plants are very weak when they are producing seed in the dough stage.
If there’s a bunch of weeds, etc., and herbicide is needed, there’s no need to crimp. Certainly the herbicide should be applied when the crop is standing. Once a crop has been crimped, herbicide won’t reach most of the crop below the top layer.

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I’ve got weeds in my food plot? Can I plant directly into the rye/winter wheat mix to serve as a weed suppressant?

Question: Last fall, I planted the ‘Buffalo Blend’ into standing soybeans and associated weeds, as I didn’t spray the RR soybeans…too many bees and other living creatures, and I’m attempting to wean myself from any herbicide. At the present time, I have winter rye and winter wheat standing ~ 12-18” tall. I’m waiting to plant the Green Cover “Warm Season” mix, which will likely occur in early June. I’m wondering if I can plant directly into the rye/winter wheat mix, as I know winter rye (living) can act as a weed suppressant. I’m really hoping not to use glyphosate to terminate what is currently living (winter rye/wheat) but I was wondering about your thoughts on this, as I value your input.

 

Answer: I don’t blame you for wanting to discontinue using herbicides.  I view them as a tool which is needed from time to time.  This may be one of the times when a herbicide is the appropriate tool.  Cereal rye and other small grains almost always produce a lot of viable seed.  If such plants are allowed to mature, the seeds will fall after maturing and then germinate soon.  This will be mid summer which isn’t an appropriate time to plant cereal rye.

Another consideration is that waiting for this crop to mature and allow enough sun to reach the soil will make planting the Summer Release blend late and then it won’t mature in time for the fall crop to be planted.
In this case, I believe you should strongly consider using a herbicide to terminate the current crop and weeds and establish the summer crop in a timely manner.

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What are the gearbox and gate opening settings you use for the Genesis Drill?

Question:  I’m soon to calibrate my Genesis drill with the Green Cover Summer Release.  I was wondering if you could pass on what your Gearbox Setting and Gate Opening were for a starting point for me.  I plan on using the recommended pounds per acre and seed depth for drilling in the Summer release as advertised on the Green Cover website.  Do you think these recommendations need any tweaking?

Answer: I have the older style Genesis that uses gears to set the calibration and it’s an 8′ model.  For that setup we used:

75/45 gear ratio (75 on top) and the gate opening is set to 1.25 and this gives us 38 pounds per acre of the Summer Release blend. It’s always best to check such information to confirm it works for your drill!

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How I could plant a summer or fall blend on top of the rye grass without re-tilling this new food plot in Alabama?

Question: I have some hunting land in Valley, AL. Central Alabama. We have a few food plots and we have traditionally tilled and replanted them every year. We just cleared off a new plot and planted rye grass. I would like to plant one of your blends on top of it. I don’t have a no till drill. Do you have any suggestions of how I could plant a summer or fall blend on top of the rye grass without re-tilling it? I appreciate the help.

Answer: Be very careful with rye grass. It’s a heavy seed producer and makes very viable seeds.  The seeds will mature at a time of year you don’t want rye grass and it will be a nasty weed competing with more beneficial crops.

If you are ready to plant the Summer Release blend (and it’s time in Alabama) then I would spray or till to terminate the rye grass and plant the new crop.
Controlling rye grass in deer food plots is always a good move!
Special NOTE : We plant RYE GRAIN in our food plots. NOT RYE GRASS.

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Should I till or just drill the Summer Release right into the dead vegetation?  

Question: Thank you so much for airing the Food Plot tips.  What a tremendous help and education for the future of the soil.  I am getting ready to plant the Summer Release in my perennial fall planted clover at a reduced rate for the summer.  There shouldn’t be any conflicts with the seed should it?  I have also terminated my Fall annual blend crop to plant the summer release at the recommended rate.  Should I till for the last time or just drill the Summer Release right into the dead vegetation?

Thank you for all you do for the average hunter/wildlife preserver trying to learn and do the right thing!!
Answer: Clover is a very competitive crop, especially if it’s a lush stand.  I doubt any crop drilled into the clover will do well unless the clover is controlled.  There’s no need to disk the plots where the fall crop has been terminated.  Disking will only serve to allow weeds to germinate.  Rather, I recommend you drill the seeds directly into the terminated vegetation.

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How often do you use Roundup to control weeds in Eagle Seeds Big Fellow beans?

Question
Hi Grant! We have around 200 acres to play with here in southwest Missouri. We are reestablishing a couple of clover plots as well as prepping for some soybeans. We are taking the plunge on some Big Fellow beans but are unfamiliar with Round-Up ready seeds. We will be broadcasting the seed. Once they germinate, how often do/can you spray the beans for weed control when establishing a new plot? Thanks for your help!

Jordan,

Make sure the plot is weedfree before planting the beans.  This can be accomplished by using Roundup to terminate the existing weeds.  Soybeans need to have good contact with the soil to germinate and sprout.  So it will be best to broadcast the seeds into a good seedbed and during a rain so the seed makes good contact with the soil.

Use the Roundup once the weeds are about 3 to 6″ tall.  Don’t allow the weeds to mature past 6″ or so.  By then the beans will be close to creating a closed canopy and shading out any new weeds.

You should attend our Field Event April 1st and 2nd and come visit with the owner of Eagle Seed!  Check out:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-field-days-2016-april-1st-and-2nd-registration-21092207360 for more information.

Enjoy creation,

grant

March 2, 2016

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Are soybeans better for deer than clover?

Question
How do you know where the predators are going to step I have lots of coyotes and don’t know where to put it where they will step on it. And what would be better for deer soybeans or clover I’m able to plant one I live in Tennessee

Ben,

I recommend soybeans over clover for Tennessee.  Clover rarely does well during the antler growing season that far south.  Soybeans are also easier to grow and keep weed free.  

Trappers use scents to attract coyotes to their sets.  There are several shows and tips about trapping at http://www.GrowingDeer.com!  Click on the videos tab and then on trapping or predators!

Enjoy creation,

grant

March 2, 2016

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When should I plant brassicas in Minnesota?

Question
Hello Grant,
I will be making my first food plot attempt this coming spring. I live in Minnesota in an agricultural area with scattered patches of woods. My property is 60 acres which we rent to a local farmer who rotates beans and corn. There is an unused corner about 1.5 acres in size where I’ll plant. I was thinking of planting a portion in a brassica mix in late July or early August. I asked our farmer his thoughts and he asked why the heck would I try to plant in the hottest dryest part of the summer? He suggested planting everything in spring when we have the most moisture. I value his opinion but would like to have yours as well. It is not uncommon to have frost here in September. Being that our growing season is shorter than yours, does he have a point? Thank you.

David,

I like to plant brassicas about 45 to 60 days before the date of the average first hard frost. I realize this may be during the summer at the latitude of your farm.  If you plant brassicas too early they will mature and progress to the seed production stage before deer season and not be very palatable or attract critters while you are hunting.   Different brassicas have different maturation dates. Many take about 75 days during the primary growing season to mature.  

I agree with the farmer that it’s not wise to plant when soil moisture is in limited supply.  I suggest waiting till about 60+ days before the average date of the first hard frost and postponing a bit if the conditions are dry.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 24, 2016

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What food plot blend should I plant considering I’m surrounded by corn and soybean crops on neighboring properties?

Question
What food plot blend should I use to plant for deer I am surrounded by corn and beans from the neibhoring properties

Charles,

I assume you are asking about fall crops as the deer will likely be feeding in the neighboring bean fields during the summer. 

Typically production corn and soybean crops are harvested long before deer season is over.  If that’s the case where you hunt, many of my friends use Eagle Seed forage soybeans as they remain greener much longer than production varieties of soybeans.  This allows you to hunt over the green forage of soybeans during the early season when the crop beans are starting to turn brown and then over the bean pods after the production beans have been harvested. 

To have the best of both worlds I often overseed the forage soybeans at my place with Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend.  This allows me to have both soybean pods and greens in the same field!  Deer prefer the pods during cold periods and the greens during warmer days.

Check out http://www.EagleSeed.com.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 24, 2016

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Will clover germinate well if broadcast into CRP fields?

Question
Hi Grant,

Really appreciate the show, very informative on a lot of interesting and applicable topics. I am considering throwing down some clover seed in the next couple of weeks (mid-MO) but it’s on mowed strips in CRP fields. I’m wondering if I’m wasting my resources just throwing it on top and letting snow and/or thawing take the seed in? Or would I get better germination if I mow the grass low and spread on top? I work a normal schedule so limited weekends are all I have available to get things perfect as far as seed bed goes, so if all else fails, I’ll prepare for a fall seed blend over the summer and hope for the best.

Thanks!

Jordan,

I use a similar technique (called Frost Seeding) each year. I simply broadcast cover about this time of year (in southern Missouri) and hope it frost to snows a few times.  The freezing and thawing temperatures causes the soil to form small cracks that open and close.  This serves to cover the seed about 1/8th inch deep which is perfect for clover!

I suspect the rate of germination and growth of the clover you plant will depend on how thick the duff or grass is where the seed is broadcast.  If the grass and/or duff is inches thick I doubt all the seed will reach the soil. If the seed doesn’t reach the soil it won’t grow.  If the seed does reach the soil and germinates, the success will then largely depend on if the grass is also growing and out competes the young clover for sun, moisture, and/or soil nutrients.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 24, 2016

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Can I get deer to stay on 150 acres?

Question
Hey Dr. Grant
My family and I lease an 150 tract of land consisting of 90% cutover with most of the land boarding the property consisting of hay fields , rotating crop field ( milo, corn , and soy bean) and cow pastures . My question is what process would it take to contain those deer to that property through food plots and percentage of plot to land size?

Andrew,

Most deer have a home range size larger than 150 acres.  I doubt there is any habitat work that will encourage deer to only use that property.  It sounds like most of the cover in the neighborhood is on the property you lease.  So, unless the hunting pressure is so high that deer associate the leased property with danger they should spend most of the daylight hours using the cover.  That’s good news for you!  

It would be a good plan to create some food plots on the lease.  If positioned and hunted correctly these plots would likely serve as staging areas before deer leave the large patch of cover and feed in the neighboring crop fields.  The goal of these plots is to attract deer during hunting season and position them so you can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer so they will continue to feel secure when using the 150 acres.

To accomplish this consider predominant wind directions, thermals, and how hunters can approach, hunt, and exit the plots without alerting deer.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 24, 2016

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Will I have to water my food plot if it doesn’t rain?

Question
Hello Grant,

i hunt on many farms where they grow crops such as clover, corn and soy beans. I just got promission to hunt where there is no food crops at all and wanted to put a small one in but im worried about if we dont get that much rain how would i water so it can grow to its full potential. Thanks for making a great show that i rewatch everyday and hope one day can have the same sucess as you and your team.

thanks for what you do, Mike G.

Michael,

Thanks for sharing the encouraging words!

You are correct that drought can have a very negative impact on forage crops.  It’s rarely possible to irrigate food plot crops given they are often in remote locations.  That’s one reason why I like Eagle Seeds Big Fellow variety (www.EagleSeed.com) of forage soybeans.  This variety has been bred to be very drought resistant. In addition, I use very limited tillage so soil moisture is conserved.  Even with all these precautions my food plots aren’t as productive as normal during drought conditions. The more severe the drought, the less productive my crops.

It’s not practical to haul water to most food plots.  As an example to cover an acre with 1/2 inch of water requires 27,000 gallons!  It’s much better to plant drought resistant crops and use sound conservation tillage practices.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 23, 2016

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What food plot crop do you prefer to plant in Tennessee?

Question
what crop do you think is best for deer hunting in Tennessee?

Will,

I have several friends in Tennessee that have great success with Eagle Seed’s (www.EagleSeed.com) forage soybeans.  They are drought hardy and the forage provides high quality browse all summer.  The soybean pods provide quality and attractive feed during the season!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 23, 2016

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Should I create food plots in valleys or on the ridgetops?

Question
I recently purchased 206 acres in northern Michigan that is 95% woods with mature oaks and white pine. My previous property was flat, but this property has a lot of hills and ridges. Where would you suggest I make my food plots, on top of the hills or in the valleys? Any advise will be appreciated!

Ron,

There are many variables. However, in general I prefer food plots to be on ridgetops.  This is because the wind usually swirls much less on ridgetops compared to in the valleys.  

I certainly suggest plots designed especially for stand/blind locations be on ridgetops!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 22, 2016

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What to plant for food plots near Rose Hill Kansas?

Question
I have recently purchased a small farm near Rose Hill Kansas, with 8-10 acres of pasture surrounded on 2 sides by fields (what very from corn, wheat , soybeans and milo) with the 3rd side a small medow with woods. I am new to food plots and looking for information on strategies to get white tail deer and turkeys on a constant passing for food and forage. There are a lot of trails with deer tracks and turkey scratchings all along the property along with coon, skunk and coyotes. I am a trapper with hopes of thinning down varments and predators in the coming winter as well. The pasture is fenced with wire and is completely open with exceptions of small trees along the fence line. There also is a run off creek to the right of the property that has a constant flow of water through the year as well from a small spring. Any information would be helpful. Thanks

James,

Congratulations on purchasing the farm!!

No matter what you plant it will be tough to compete with the commercial crops on the adjoining farms when those crops are in place.  However, once those crops are harvested you will likely have the best food in the neighborhood!

I suggest you plant Eagle Seed forage soybeans and clover (not mixed). Plant about 80 to 90% of the plot acreage in the Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  These beans will stay greener much longer than the adjoining commercial crops.  This will help attract deer during the early bow season.  Once the commercial crops are harvested the pods on the Eagle Beans will be a huge attraction to deer. 

The clover plot will attract deer and turkey in the spring and if in early fall if the soil has enough moisture.  

Finally, I strongly suggest overseeding the Eagle Seed beans with the Broadside blend like I do. This will provide greens and grain during the hunting season.  Deer tend to prefer the greens on warm days and the grain during cold weather.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 21, 2016

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Do you like my habitat plan for where I hunt in southern Virginia?

Question
Dear MR. Grant
My mother and father own 8 to 9 acres of land in southern Virginia, that two fields. All the surrounding area is wooded for cover. the two fields used to be horse fields one is 1 to 2 acres and the other is 2 to 3 acres. They are not keeping a horse no more so I can hunt this. I have been watching growing deer .TV a lot lately and wonder what you think of my plan for this small property. The larger field has a fawn born in it every year so I think I should leave it alone. The smaller field I want to prescribe fire it then plant food plot half clover and half soybean. then in fall plant a honey hole food plot in area I intend to hunt over. I also want to add a mineral rock where the two fields meet. I plan to hunt from the barn because it over looks the two fields and the back is horse stall with no back so its open to the fields. I killed a big doe there this past season. Please let me know if I should change any of this. keep up the good work with Growing Deer .TV and as always keep GOD first. Thanks Chuck

Chuck,

I like your plan!  I would simply add to make sure and collect a soil sample and have the soil tested.  This often the least expensive and most important part of establishing a great food plot!  Without adding the appropriate nutrients food plot crops are often malnourished and won’t attract deer.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 21, 2016

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What kind of fence do you suggest to protect an 1/8 acre food plot?

Question
Hi I was wondering what kind of fense to put up around 1/8 acre on a very short budget. thanks, mark

Mark,

I’ve had great results with the Non-Typical fence!  Check out:  http://www.btibrands.com/brands/non-typical/?archive=hot-zone-fence

You may use the discount code GDVIP50 to get a great price!!  Feel free to call Kyle Smith at:  (573) 777-7614 for more information!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 21, 2016

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What should I plant in an 1/8 acre food plot for turkey and deer in south metro Minnesota?

Question
What should I plant in a 1/8 acre food plot for turkey and deer in south metro minnesota
 Mark,

Clover would be my first choice for a plot that size and at that latitude unless the site tends to be dry (sandy soil, etc.).  Clover usually won’t attract deer after the first frost. If you are a late season hunter you may wish to try Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend. It’s great for early, mid, and late deer season. It’s also what you see turkeys using in our videos now at my property.  You can check out my Facebook page to see some recent videos of toms using Broadside.

I’ve also had great luck using a Non Typical electric fence the forage in smaller plots till hunting season.

Enjoy creation,

grant February 21, 2016

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What do the numbers on bags of fertilizer mean?

Question
Please explain the numbers on fertilizer bags. I know that the first number is nitrogen (N), the second phosphorus (P), and the third potassium (K). Does a bag labeled 5-14-42 mean it contains 8% N (5/61), 23% P (14/61), and 69% K(42/61)? Consequently, if you applied 100 lbs of 5-14-42 are you applying 8lbs of N, 23 lbs of P, and 69 lbs of K?

Dennis,

A bag of fertilizer labeled 5-14-42 means that for each 100 pounds of product there will be the equivalent of 5 pounds of nitrogen, 14 pounds of phosphorus, and 42 pounds of potassium.  If each bag has 50 pounds of product, then reduce those numbers by 1/2.

There’s more information at: http://www.ncagr.gov/cyber/kidswrld/plant/label.htm

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 21, 2016

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Why do you take soil test?

Question
Hi Mr. Grant

I Love the Show and have asked a few Questions in the past and i have 2 more today.

#1 in episode 170 you were putting out antler dirt and you took some soil samples and said you did this so you would know how much to add or not to add. my Question is why wouldnt you just add the same amount each year?

#2 today i went out search for some stand locations and i found one that look pretty good and had some good deer sign but i found some deer bones i was wondering is that a good or bad sign? Thank you so much for your videos and hope to one day do exactly what you do!

Connor,

Good question about the Antler Dirt!  Different crops require different amounts of nutrients. For example corn needs a lot of nitrogen. Soybeans or clover require very little nitrogen.  Another reason to take soil tests is that different amounts of rain can leach different amounts of nutrients too deep in the soil for the roots to reach.  In addition, the food plot crop rotation I use improves the soil. I rarely need to add Antler Dirt anymore except to newer plots due to improving the soil’s quality.  It’s much less expensive to take a soil test than to add nutrients that aren’t needed – or not to add nutrients that are needed and a crop failure occur.

To address your second question, deer die all the time from predator attacks, injuries from fighting, cars, etc. I wouldn’t worry about finding a deer skeleton. Deer don’t seem to mind death like humans do. I’ve never noticed deer shying away from bones, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 15, 2016

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Have you ever tried any other brands of food plot seed besides Eagle Seed?

Question
Have you ever tried any other food plots like Antler King or Whitetail Institute to see if the feed and grow better antlers than Eagle seed

Ethan,

My clients and I have tried several different forages and brands of food plot crops.  I encourage others to try different crops and see what works best for them!  Several university studies show Eagle Seed forage soybeans as producing the most tons of quality forage per acre of any crop they’ve tested.  

I also like the fact that the vast majority of Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young record entries come from areas that produce soybeans.  Anyway you slice it soybeans are a wonderful forage for deer and Eagle Seed has spent more decades breeding forage soybeans than any other company.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 15, 2016

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What should I plant in a 1/2 acre food plot in southeastern Pennsylvania?

Question
I live in SouthEast Pennsylvania and I have a couple questions about building a successful food plot throughout most the time of the deer season.
• The area of the space where I want to build this food plot is about 1/2 an acre. What plant do you think I should use?
• Durring what part of the year should I build this food plot?
Thanks for you’re help. I enjoy all the videos on YouTube.

Logan,

If there are a lot of deer in the area, then clover may be a good choice to plant in the 1/2 acre food plot.  Clover handles being browsed heavily about as well as any forage crop. 

One good plan may be to plant the clover this August if there is ample soil moisture available.  I like to plant a forage wheat with the clover. The wheat serves as a cover crop to protect the clover and makes a lot of forage quickly! 

Be sure and do a soil test to check the nutrients before you plant. Forage that doesn’t have good quality nutrients will be malnourished and such forage won’t attract as many deer and won’t produce as much tonnage as well feed crops.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 15, 2016

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Should I till the standing Eagle Seed beans now and prepare for spring planting?

Question
Love your work.
We met in 2004, I took care of your “South Carolina Mom” as you wrotwe in my book.
Hope you Dad is improving.

I have acres of Eagle soybeans in Edgefield, SC. When I get time off from the office I do all my work, I have time this week to get my harrowing done, and good soil moisture. I have harrowed my corn which has no more value to the deer / turkeys, all eaten. My Eagle soybean still have lots of pods, but the deer are not eating them and when I break open the pods the beans look like dry rotted. Should I let them stand, I doubt the deer or turkey will utilize them or can I use the time and moisture to get them harrowed in now.

I attached files of the results of reading, listening and implementing your plans.

In Greenwood area I have killed several bucks 190-220 pounds (depends on pre or post rut) which the locals say can’t be done around here regularly. But I manage too, a pun, ha ha.

Matt Bachinski

Matt,

I enjoy a good pun!  Thanks for sharing!  You tagged a dandy buck!  Your management is paying off!!  Congratulations!!  

It should be spring soon in the South Carolina Piedmont.  Deer will be chasing green versus grain soon.  You are wise to get the plots prepared ahead of time!  Often soil moisture and organic matter are both limiting factors in the Edgefield area.  You might consider renting or borrowing a no-till drill and using it to establish your plots. This is a great tool to conserve soil moisture and build organic matter.

I saw my “South Carolina” mom at recently at the QDMA National Convention!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 15, 2016

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Why didn’t some of the seeds I tested germinate?

Question
Hello again,

(Sorry asking so many questions) so I purchased some soybean seeds recently and I wanted to make sure they worked so I put some of the seeds in a little tray with some dirt from the garden, put a lamp up (to simulate the sun) and watered them to see how the germination rate was. I was a little surprised that they were not sprouting after seven days so I decided to dig up the seeds and see what was wrong (I planted the seeds 1/2 inch deep). When I dug them up they had just turned into mush. I had also planted some normal garden bush beans (in the same soil) to compare. 3 of the 4 bush bean seeds came up and the other one turned into mush to so I tried more of the soybean seeds but I could not get them to even sprout. So I am wondering if its just a dead package of soybean seeds? or if its because I need to inoculate them?
Thanks for your thoughts on this,
Jeremy

Jeremy,

I’m proud of you for testing the germination rate before planting the seeds!  

There are a number of reasons why the soybeans you planted may not have germinated.  Soybeans need the soil temperature to be at least 60 degrees to germinate.  If the soil is cooler than 60 degrees the beans may simply soak up moisture and turn to mush.  

When I test soybean seed germination rates I simply place a paper towel on a plate and soak it with warm water.  I then put the seeds on the towel and add a bit more warm water.  I place the plate in a south or west window so it will receive plenty of sun.  I add warm water daily to replace what’s evaporated or been used by the seeds.

I usually place seeds in rows of 10 so it’s easy to determine the percent that germinated.  Soybeans don’t hold germination rates as well as hard seed like clover or corn.

Give this technique a try and hopefully the results will be better!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 12, 2016

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Should we convert corn plots to clover?

Question
Management question. We have 500 acre lease that is mostly select cut oak forest with lots briars and thick stuff and some 3 year old clear cuts. We have about 10 1/2 to 1 acre food plants that we alternate clover, green, and corn.

We kill all our deer in the oaks. Only deer we ever kill in the fields is by kids and they are usually small bucks.

We have 3 members. Our plan is working pretty good but it takes a lot of time and expense to plant those fall plots.

My question is would it hurt or help or no change if we just frost seeded all our plots in clover seed in the next few weeks and not worry about fall plots?

Brett,

I think a key is your statement “Our plan is working pretty good…”

You may not kill many deer in the the corn plots, but I assume deer are consuming the corn (probably at night) and these plots serve to keep deer close. You are wise to hunt away from the plots and not disturb deer using this food source that’s probably helping keep the deer’s core home range on or close to your property.  

I’d be hesitant to stop planting corn. If you must make changes, I recommend you reduce the number of plots you plant with corn by no more than a third for the first year and monitor the herd’s response.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 12, 2016

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What should I plant in a mostly shaded area in central Wisconsin?

Question
I recently purchased a small hunting parcel in central Wisconsin.The land is pretty much solid oak trees.I was wondering what would be the best food source to plant on a small area with limited light.A friend of mine suggested Buck Oats because of the large populations of deer in the area.He said he had tried other things but the deer would wipe them out before they matured.

Don,

Most forage crops do best when they receive full sunlight.  This is especially true with the small grains like oats.  In addition oats mature from the blade stage (looks like a blade of grass) to the stem stage (a rounded stem and grows rapidly).  Deer don’t prefer oats or any of the small grains once they mature to the stem stage.  

Clover does better when grown in partial shade than small grains.  In addition, clover is remains more productive when being browsed heavily than small grains.  Given the plot will be partially shaded and relatively small I recommend you do a soil test and tell the lab you wish to plant cover, add the appropriate nutrients, and plant clover. 

Clover will normally offer quality forage for many more months throughout the year than small grains. If you establish the clover during the fall I do suggest using a cover crop of wheat or oats with the clover.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 12, 2016

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Should I frost seed clover now in Ohio or wait and plant during May?

Question
Hi Grant, I have an 80 acre farm in NE Ohio. This winter I cleared an acre on a west-facing hillside that I want to put in a clover food plot. Right now, it is bare soil. But anytime I open the canopy, multi floral rose comes in thick. My question is, what is the best planting option for a new stand of clover? Should I frost seed soon, then deal with whatever comes up from the seed bank… Or should I wait to see what comes up, then spray and rework the soil and then plant in May? Also, could you give me your fertilizer recommendation? The ph is, surprisingly , neutral. Thanks in advance…

Mike,

I’m a bit concerned about establishing clover on a west facing slope. Clover needs more soil moisture than many forage crops and west facing slopes then to lose more moisture to evaporation than north or east facing slopes. I share this information so you might watch and see how the stand progresses.  

I’d go ahead and broadcast the clover (frost seed) now.  You can spot treat any multiflora rose that comes up with glyphosate.  I’ve had good success when broadcasting clover in snow.  

Be sure and add the appropriate amounts of fertilizer!

grant

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Do you have any tips for a quarter acre clover hidey hole plot in suburban New Jersey?

Question
Hello Grant,
Would you happen to have any tips to help grow and improve on an extra small food plot (around 100x100ft). I live in suburban NJ and have limited space to work with. We were thinking about scaling down a hydee-ho clover plot around April any help would be greatly appreciated

sincerely, Greg Marchese

Greg,

I’ve worked a lot just outside of Newark!  I’ve hunted there while watching TV through the neighbor’s windows.  That was an odd sensation for me!  

Clover is a good choice for small hidey hole plots in the northeast, especially if there’s fairly good soil at the location where you wish to establish the plot.  Clover plots often succumb to lack of nutrients and/or weed competition.  Do test the soil and be sure to tell the lab you wish to plant clover!  Clover requires much different nutrients than say wheat or brassicas.  In addition add the required amount of lime.  

The seedbed should be free of weeds before planting and as weeds germinate they can be spot treated with glyphosate.  

This should get you started!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 9, 2016 

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What food plot crop should I plant in an area of sandy soil in lower Alabama?

Question
Hi Grant – I’ve really enjoyed watching countless episodes of GowingDeer.tv and can’t wait to get to work on our lease later this week. Our deer season in lower Alabama ends Wednesday and I’ll be out gathering soil samples Thursday morning!

I have a question for you in regards to Spring / Summer food plots: What should I plant? Forage Soy Beans, Sunn Hemp or something else?

I have been planning on planting Eagle Seeds “Game Keeper” since it has the Whitetail Thicket variety in it and our food plot acreage is probably very low compared to deer density (I’m guessing). Our soil is VERY poor quality (sandy) and I’m afraid they may not stand a chance to the browse pressure since I don’t have an electric fence.

The Sunn Hemp seems to have some major advantages for soil building while providing good quality forage as well. Please let me know your thoughts.

I’ve attached a picture of a food plot on our lease – no this isn’t a beach!

Through GrowingDeer.tv I see that our “most limited resource” is not cover or water – it is without a doubt FOOD… And too many coyotes but that’s another story.

Thanks & God Bless y’all!

David,

Tracy (my wife) and I lived in South Carolina for years and I still work on many properties throughout the southeast.  In fact Adam and I will be working with one of our clients east of Montgomery during April.  

Soybeans will work fine in sandy soils if fertilized correctly and soil moisture conservation techniques (like I use here on the super gravelly soils) are used.  

I’ve never planted Sunn Hemp. Some of my clients have and it will often produce a lot of biomass which is good for building soil.  However, I’ve yet to hear from someone I knew personally that deer consumed Sunn Hemp.  Deer are picky eaters and if there’s nothing but pines in your area they may readily use Sunn Hemp. I believe it would be great to plant to build soil and follow the next year with forage soybeans.  

If you plant Sunn Hemp please keep me posted how it performs for you.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 8, 2016

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Which Eagle Seed variety do you recommend for Pennsylvania?

Question
Which Eagle soybean variety do you plant? You have expressed a preference for forage soybeans but when you show your plots in the winter they have a large supply of seeds to sustain the herd through the winter. In PA will these beans mature early enough to broadcast the Broadside blend into them the assist with the late season stress period?

Tim,

That’s a great characteristic of Eagle Seed.  Through literally 40+ years of hand pollinating they’ve created varieties that are great forage and pod producers!  

Eagle Seed’s Northern Manager’s blend works very well for your area.  I have clients that plant it at a much further north latitude.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 8, 2016 

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When should I apply lime to my land in south Alabama?

Question
Dr. Grant, I am from south Alabama and I have just recently acquired a new piece of property to hunt next fall and I’m wanting to plant spring plots for the first time. I did some soil test and my results say I need about 2000 lbs of lime per acre in one field and about 800 lbs of lime per acre in another. I also have to add some 34-0-0 fertilizer as well. I was wondering would it be alright to add the lime, fertilizer, and seed all in the same day/weekend or if I should add lime now and wait till the fall to plant? Also, if you have some eagle seed recommendations you would like to add then please do. Thank you in advance!

Hunter,

Congratulations on acquiring a hunting property!  I’m very proud of you for testing the soil!  I suggest you apply the lime now.  It takes agriculture lime months to significantly alter the soil’s pH!  I’m curious about the need to add only nitrogen (34-0-0).  Did you inform the soil lab what crops you wish to plant?  Different species requires different amounts of different nutrients.  For example soybeans require no or very little nitrogen but a lot of phosphorous and potassium.  Wheat and other small grain crop require a lot of nitrogen.  

I have a long term client in south Alabama that has great results with Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  They plant the Wildlife Manager’s blend.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 7, 2016

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What do you suggest planting in roads and gas lines?

Question
I have a hunting lease of about 300 acres with no fields.There are 2 gas wells and a lot of logging roads and some gas lines. I can not cut down any trees. The amount of sun is limited. What would you recommend to plant on the roads and gas lines. I have done soil tests and am working on the results. We are blue collar workers so our budget does have limits. Thanks for any information you can give us. God Bless and thanks for giving our creator the glory

Bob,

I am thrilled to learn you are doing soil tests!!  Know that it’s very important to tell the soil lab what you intend to plant.  This is because different crops require different amounts of different nutrients to be productive.

It’s also good to consider that if the area is timbered than roads and gas lines that run north and south will receive much more shade and therefore retain more soil moisture!  Just the opposite is true for roads that run east and west.

What to plant depends on where (what state/climate) and the mission for the plots.  If the mission it only to attract deer during season, then appropriately fertilized forage wheat does a good job of attracting deer.  

If you wish to improve the amount of quality forage for the herd year round, then about 10% in clover (probably on the north south oriented openings) and the rest in Eagle Seed Forage soybeans would be a great plan.  Several universities have shown that Eagle Seed forage soybeans produce more tons of quality forage per dollar than any other quality forage crop.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 7, 2016 

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When will the Genesis drill be available?

Question
I recall reading your post about the Redexim prototype seed drill. Any news on when it will be ready for production and whether it performs as hoped? Thanks, and hope you are well.

Brian,

I was extremely pleased with the last prototype Redexim (now called the Genesis) drill I tested.  They were very patient and during a several month period shipped prototypes back and forth to Holland to incorporate improved designs based on testing in very rough conditions.

I saw Paul Hollis with Redexim at the Quality Deer Management Association convention and he assured me production drills would be available for the spring planting season.  You may reach Paul at:  314-378-1889.

Paul will be demonstrating a Genesis at our April 1st and 2nd Field Event (http://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-field-days-2016-april-1st-and-2nd-registration-21092207360).

I believe he is also offering attendees a discount.  That will be great since there is already a waiting list for the Genesis at full price!

Enjoy creation!

grant

February 5, 2016

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When should I apply lime?

Question
Hi Dr. Woods,

I’m going to plant some soybean food plots this year on our southern Ohio property and have a question about lime. I will be taking soil samples this spring before any seed gets put in the ground, but I assume I will need to add lime. When is the best time to add this? The fields are grassy and have been put up in hay the last several years. I plan to spray them with glyphosate in early spring, then no till drill the seeds later. Should I apply the lime well before spraying, or just before I plant? Thanks so much for all the great info you share!

Matt Hooper,

Sounds like you have the makings of a great food plot. You are taking all the correct steps to making it as productive as possible. I would recommend adding lime to this areas as soon as you can. Lime usually takes roughly 6 months to fully incorporate and activate itself into the soil changing the pH. Many conventional ag-farmers apply lime during the month of November so that the soil is ready for planting in the spring. Not to worry though, the soil will become balanced during the growing season so beans will have healthy soil to grow in. 

You have a great plan, be sure to take the necessary recommendations when you receive the soil tests. This will increase the quantity and quality of your soybeans! 

GrowingDeer Together,

Matt Dye

2016-02-05

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Is there a forage crop that will grow well in standing water?

Question
I own a 50 acres in a big harwood wetland swamp (2000 acres) surround by bean and corn field .
80% of the tree was mature red maple .

I project to cut one or 2 acres this winter.

And cut mature tree to let the sun hit the ground

Did you no something i can plant in a soil like that ?

And what the besttimber management can i do?

The land came dry in august and came back wet in late september.(see picture in attachement).

Tanks for the attention to my questions.

Pat.

Patrick,

I’m not aware of any forage crop that deer prefer that grows well in standing water or saturated soils.  I suggest you focus on the highest ground on your property!  If the highest ground floods frequently you might consider cutting trees and establishing cover versus a food plot.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 31, 2016

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Is there a forage crop that will grow well in standing water?

Question
I own a 50 acres in a big harwood wetland swamp (2000 acres) surround by bean and corn field .
80% of the tree was mature red maple .

I project to cut one or 2 acres this winter.

And cut mature tree to let the sun hit the ground

Did you no something i can plant in a soil like that ?

And what the besttimber management can i do?

The land came dry in august and came back wet in late september.(see picture in attachement).

Tanks for the attention to my questions.

Pat.

Patrick,

I’m not aware of any forage crop that deer prefer that grows well in standing water or saturated soils.  I suggest you focus on the highest ground on your property!  If the highest ground floods frequently you might consider cutting trees and establishing cover versus a food plot.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 31, 2016

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Should I only plant cool season crops on my 40 acre farm in northern Missouri?

Question
I have cleared a two acre plot on my40 acre ne missouri farm
I live out of state and can not make extra trips to tend the plot. What would you suggest to plant on this two acres …something similar to pure attraction and frigid forage in late july or risk it and plant soybeans?
Should I wait and plant it in the fall so weeds wouldn’t be as much a problem?

Bobby,

If the mission for the food plot is to attract deer during hunting season than a cool season (planted during the late summer) forage may work great!  You are wise to match the forage type with your mission for the plot and the resources (time, etc.).  

I prefer Eagle’s Seeds Broadside blend as it includes forage types that are palatable during the early, mid, and late season.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 31, 2016

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What’s a good food plot crop for west Texas?

Question
Hello grant, I would like to know what food I should put out for the deer on the ranch I hunt. We have twelve 150 acre or bigger plots that are all in wheat. I live in west Texas and was wondering what you think would be a good food for helping grow the deer to their full potential. I also have around 10 smaller food plots (50 acres) what do you think I should put in those? Thanks for the help.

Ethan,

Wow!  12 x 150 is 1,800 acres of food plots!!  That’s a commercial farming operation – not a food plot program.  I suspect wheat is working well in that area if 1,800 acres is committed to the program.  

Wheat that is appropriately fertilized can provide quality forage, especially in areas such as west Texas where it can be too dry to grow other crops.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 31, 2016

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What brand of clover do you use?

Question
What brandname of clover do you use?

Mason,

I’ve been using an experimental variety from Eagle Seed. I believe they are going to make it available this year. Check out:  www.EagleSeed.com or call:  870 684-7377.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25, 2016

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When is the best time to plant food plots?

Question
when is the best time to plant food plots?

Johnny,

There are many variable about when food plots should be planted. Different species of crops should be planted at different times of the year. I encourage you to go to the Videos tab at http://www.GrowingDeer.com and then click on Food Plots on the left of the page.  There will be many videos about how and when to plant food plots there.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25, 2015

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What’s the variety of Eagle Seed forage soybeans that grows in a vine form?

Question
I saw a recent episode of yours where you talk about a certain type of eagle seed bean that the vines lay over each other and are very browse resistant and I was just wondering what kind it was?

Thanks and God bless

Mason,

The Eagle Seed forage soybean that grows in vine from is called Whitetail Thicket.  It’s available in Eagle’s Wildlife Manager’s blend.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25, 2016

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How should I set back plant growth where pines at my farm have been thinned?

Question
I manage and hunt a 320ac farm in central Alabama, it is 120ac of planted pines that were thinned in 2014-2015. The property has been cut with skidder trails running along and off of a major road thru property, and as we suspected the deer love the new browse and fresh growth and most of all the cover. My concern is that within the next few years the property will soon be overgrown and very thick, would you suggest mowing a select number of skidder trails to allow fresh growth and visibility or allow the entire property to grow up? Any information would be appreciated! Have seen more and better deer thanks to your info and growing deer tv. Eagle seed beans are amazing, as is trophy rocks we now have almost all does on property dropping twins which up until about 2 years ago we hardly ever saw!!!thanks again Steve Thompson

 

Steve

Congratulations on managing the 320 acres in a manner that has resulted in improved deer herd health!

As the saplings and forbs grow the forage quality will decrease. I do recommend mowing, using prescribed fire, herbicide, etc., to set back the maturity of these plants. I often covert skidder trails, rows where pines have been thinned, etc., to food plots.  Deer readily use these linear plots that are very close to cover.  I often leave two rows as is and plant the third.  This pattern of food/cover creates ideal habitat!

You may wish to check out the GrowingDeer episode a the following link for more information about growing food plots in pines.

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/food-plots-in-thinned-pine-stands

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25, 2016

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What steps should I take to start food plots on a property in Perry County, Arkansas?

Question
hello,
I recently purchased 160 acres in perry county Arkansas. use is strictly for hunting and recreations. I would like to start a year round food plot program on this property. in this area the game–whitetail deer–turkeys–ducks and geese.
the property consist of 10-12 acres open—13-15 acres planted pines and the rest is hardwood bottoms that flood in the winter.
I have 3 small food plot sites picked out between 1/4-1/2 acres that I would like to hunt, I have a 5 acre field that I would like to plant but it may flood in the winter.
I know the first thing is to prepare my food plots by spraying them,discing them and taking soil samples at each site.
my question is: what can I plant this spring that will start helping improve the game on my property and also improve the soil.
I know I would like to get like you and have soybeans and clover because like you I think that is the best.
also what type soybeans and clover do you recommend?
any suggestions or recommendation would be greatly appreciated
thanks craig

Craig,

Congratulations on purchasing the property!  Food plots are great tool to increase the quality and huntability of local wildlife populations.

There’s no need to apply Roundup if you are going to disk.  Disking will kill the weeds and Roundup doesn’t have any soil activity. It only kills growing vegetation.  It doesn’t keep seeds from germinating, etc.

I like planting Roundup Ready soybeans in new food plots. This is the easiest method to control weeds!  Be sure and do a soil test as your first step.  Malnourished crops don’t taste good/won’t attract deer and won’t produce as much.  

You may consider attending our Field Event April 1st and 2nd.  We’ll demonstrate step by step how we establish and maintain food plots!  

Brad Doyle from Eagle Seed, Paul Hollis from Genesis drills, etc., will be here to help answer questions.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25, 2016 

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Should I disk in the Eagle Seed forage soybeans before planting the Broadside blend?

Question
I am creating a new small food plot but Because of how poor my soil content is (rocky acidic) would it be a wise move to plant eagle seed soybeans in the spring and disk it in the fall before planting my broadside to kinda put some organic matter into my soil, or would that be totally pointless?

Thanks, Mason

 

Mason,

There’s no need to “disk in” the standing soybeans.  Disking does much more harm than good. Disking adds much oxygen to the soil and causes the organic matter to break down very quickly!  A better approach (and what I do at The Proving Grounds) is to simply broadcast the Broadside blend over the standing Eagle Seed soybeans.  This system has several advantages.

I want deer to be conditioned to always eating from my plots.  Disking removes all forage and causes deer to need to go elsewhere to feed. I call this cleaning the table.  To avoid cleaning the table I simply broadcast the Broadside into the standing beans and allow it to germinate while deer are still feeding on the beans!  This system is faster and less expensive than disking.  In addition, it doesn’t force deer to feed elsewhere.

This system will also result in building up more organic matter than disking!!

Any remaining beans will produce pods which adds another quality food source during the winter!  To learn more about this technique check out:  https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/scouting-hit-list-bucks-and-fall-food-plots-all-hands-on-deck

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 23, 2016

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When should I plant Eagle Seed’s Broadside in Northwest Alabama?

Question
I live in northwest alabama (rocky, acidic soil) i have a 1/2 acre bow hunting field i am gonna plant this year but am unsure when i need to plant my broadside for my location, when do you suggest i should plant my broadside blend?

Thank You and God bless,
Mason

Mason,

Broadside works best when planted 45 to 60 days before the first frost of the fall.  The date of the first frost can vary substantially each year and location to location depending on elevation.   I look at the average first frost date for the area to be planted and then consider if the year seems warmer or colder than normal.  I also try to plant Broadside just before or during a rain.   The soil moisture helps insure rapid germination and forage growth.  Be sure to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed long before planting time.  

All forage attracts deer better if it’s healthy.  If there aren’t enough nutrients (fertilizer) in the soil the plants will be malnourished and won’t be as tasty/attractive to deer.

Enjoy creation,

grant  

January 22, 2016 

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What’s the best method to apply lime to relative small food plots?

Question
I have a question about liming that i’d like to run by you….
I have 5 small food plots between 1/4-1acres in size. I need to fix the ph levels after deer season. I want a long-term fix instead of short-term from using expensive pelletized lime.
These food plots are too small to use a lime truck with a belt-driven lime spreader. What would you suggest I do in order to fix my ph problems with either bulk ag lime or bulk bagged pulverized lime. Should I have the co-op deliver ag lime and use a shovel to spread it?

-Travis Hull

Travis,

If there road access to the plots, it’s probably less expensive to allow the lime truck to spread a bit of the lime off the plot than pay for pelletized lime.  

The native vegetation will benefit from the lime and the cost of bulk ag lime spread by a truck is much less expensive any other source of lime.

It will be very difficult to spread lime eveningly and at the rate required by using a shovel or other hand tools.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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Is Roundup herbicide dangerous?

Question
Just wondering if Grant has considered using non gmo seeds and getting away from pesticides and go more organic with his deer feeding program. Roundup is a dangerous chemical. I suggest he does some research on sustainable agriculture for his deer patches.

Philip,

Decades ago there were some very dangerous herbicides commonly used.  However, modern herbicides are very safe!  I doubt any herbicide or crop tool has been researched more that Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup).  Even with all that research there’s never been one scientific publication to my knowledge that found anything damaging to wildlife about Roundup Ready crops. Even Readers Digest published recently that there’s never been one study that showed any danger from GMO crops.

Millions of deer have consumed GMO crops for more than a decade without one reported negative result.  

Roundup Ready crops have helped farmers save millions of tons of dirt from being eroded due to reducing the need to cultivate for weed control, etc.  In addition, millions of gallons of diesel fuel were saved due to reducing trips through fields.   

If you find a scientific, peer reviewed paper that shows different results, please share with me! I’d certainly like know.

Currently there are way more benefits than liabilities to using GMO crops.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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Do deer prefer annual more than perennial rye grass?

Question
Grant,

I am going on active duty military orders next fall and I will only be able to hunt my family farm when I am home on leave. That being said, I am wanting to plant a rye grass food plot. Given that I have limited time to spend at the farm , I would like to plant a perennial rye so I don’t have to replant it every year but I have heard deer prefer annual rye. My question is, do deer really prefer annual rye over perennial? Given my situation do you think I could get away with planting a perennial?

Also, have you ever considered doing a squirrel hunt episode?

God Bless,

Beau Fugitt

Beau,

Thank you for your service to our nation!  

Deer do often prefer annual more than perennial ryegrass.  This is probably because deer prefer young, tender growth compared to mature plant growth.  

I’m not aware of any forage that can be simply planted and not maintained that deer find attractive.  This is why deer like managed crops such as soybeans!  There’s always a source of new growth that’s well fertilized to browse.  

My daughters and I really enjoy squirrel hunting.  Great woodsmanship skills can be learned by squirrel hunting!  

May God bless you with safety and peace throughout your military career!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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What variety of Eagle Seed soybeans did you use in the smaller plots?

Question
I recently watched one of your videos where you showed a small food plot planted in eagle seed soybeans. In that plot you suggested a different variety of bean that vined more so that it would not be consumed as fast as a more upright growing bean. Can you tell me the variety of bean this would be and would it work well for me here in Pennsylvania. I planted the Wildlife Manager’s Mix last year in 3 small plots and they consumed this all summer long. I was hoping this other variety might produce even more for me.
Thank you

Francis,

I planted the Whitetail Thicket variety in some of the smaller plots and was thrilled with the results. I don’t know if Eagle Seed will offer this variety during 2016. I believe it will be included in some of their blends.  

The Whitetail Thicket variety will germinate and grow well in Pennsylvania.  

I also try planting more seed than normal in my smaller plots. I don’t worry about too much competition as the deer browse won’t allow the plants to mature and become too crowded.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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What’s the best time to establish food plots in Georgia?

Question
Grant,
I want to let you know that my Father and I enjoy watching and learning from your videos. He did not have the opportunity to grow up enjoying the outdoors like I have so it has been a great experience growing and learning together. As a whole, we have not had a ton of success whitetail hunting but have progressively seen more and more deer throughout the past two years. Fortunately, we found an opportunity to hunt some great property for next year in Georgia. My mind is constantly wondering on how I can make the most of this opportunity for next year thus leading to my question.
– When would be the best time for me to go in and begin construction of food plots?
– What would be the ideal forage for me to plant during those time frames to best support the local deer herd?

thanks again,
-Bryce

Bryce,

I’m glad you and your father have a place to hunt!  I attended the University of Georgia and still have several clients there.

Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans have worked very well for my clients in Georgia.  Soybeans produce very high quality forage that attract deer during the growing season (including early deer season) and pods that attract deer when the temperatures are cold.  I often overseed the standing beans with a cool season blend such as Broadside about 60 days before the average first frost of the fall.  This system provides quality forage for deer almost year round with minimal work and does a great job of improving the soil quality.  

Soybeans should be planted when the soil temperature is about 60 degrees at two inches deep.  The University of Georgia maintains a good website (http://weather.uga.edu/?zip=) that posts current soil temperatures and other useful information.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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How should we start a food plot program?

Question
Hello Grant, my friend and I are looking into starting planting our own food plots, and we have no idea where to start. We have the land to do it, and we were just wondering where you could recommend where we should start?

 

Jarrett,

Food plots can be a great management and hunting tool!

Remember that malnourished crops don’t taste good. So the best first step is to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed to see what nutrients should be added to grow the specific crop you wish to plant.  For example, corn requires way more nitrogen than soybeans.  Without the benefit of a soil sample, it’s likely the food plot crops won’t produce very well or attract many deer.

There are many GrowingDeer episodes about establishing and maintaining food plot crops!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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What should I plant to attract deer in hidey hole plots in east central Alabama?

Question
Hi Grant,

I have recently been given permission to hunt a 78 acre piece of property in central east Alabama. The land consist of volunteer pines and hardwoods with two small clearings and a spring/ bedding area running through the middle of them. I wanted to ask for your recommendation on what to plant in these small plots. They are both roughly 1/8 acre in size. From what scouting I have done the deer definitely like to roam the surrounding area for food and come to this property to bed. The only food source on the property are the acorns which are long gone this late in the season. I would love to hear your suggestions on what to plant in these two plots for next season. I should mention that I only have hand tools to do the planting but could possibly get the use of a tractor and plow but no seeder or drill. Thanks for your help.

Cade,

Congratulations on receiving permission to hunt the private property!  

The openings sound like good locations for plots designed to attract deer during the hunting season.  Using simple hand tools the existing vegetation can be sprayed and the duff burned or removed by hand.  Even in small plots it’s important to do a soil test and add the appropriate nutrients. Malnourished forage doesn’t taste good and usually won’t attract deer.  

Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend works great for me to attract deer – especially before or after acorns are available.  This blend is easy to plant by broadcasting by hand, etc.

Be sure to consider how you will approach, hunt, and exit these plots without alerting deer.  It’s easy to condition deer to avoid such plots during daylight if you alert them while approaching or hunting the area.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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Do you know of a late blooming apple tree?

Question
Hey Mr. Grant, it’s me again. Thanks for your quick reply on my last question. I have 1 more however. So I own 64 acres in Northern Ky, right by the licking river. I don’t have a ton of land for big food plots but I want to keep deer on my property. The soil by the Licking River is some of the most fertile you will ever see. Anyway what I would like to do is plant a late dropping apple orchard. There’s just one issue, the area by the river is naturally low-lying and the fog comes up from the river regularly. If the fog comes up in early spring and we get a freeze, all the blooms on the apple tree will most likely be killed off. Do you know of any apple varieties or techniques that could help me get an orchard in that convenient area? Thanks again so much for your time,
Sincerely, Reuben Stamper.

Reuben,

I really like using tree plots (small food plots with fruit producing trees planted in them).  I don’t know which varieties of apple trees would work best at your farm. I like pears and other varieties of fruit trees that tend to require less maintenance than apple trees.  You might check with the folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com.  They know much more about fruit trees than me!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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What’s a good food plot variety to broadcast into standing corn or soybeans?

Question
Dr. Woods, I have a property I hunt nestled in northern Indiana ag country. Only a few pieces of that land is tucked away. It has small wood lots but predominantly corn and beans. I am looking for seed that I cause broadcast into the standing corn and beans in the early fall for a deer food plot. I do not want to have to terminate it in the spring. I am leaning toward radish/rape/turnip but didn’t know specific varieties being more palatable or even if there are other species I should consider. Anxious to hear your response.

Kent,

Broadcasting seed into standing corn or soybeans is a great technique! The more progressive farmers do this and call it a cover crop. There are many advantages to using cover crops including building soil, reducing wind and rain erosion, etc.  Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend works very well to attract deer and as a cover crop. It includes a forage radish, a forage wheat, and two varieties of brassicas.  These cultivars will need to be terminated or they will produce seed.  This will be true for all forage crops that I’m aware.  

Farmers have to terminate all cover crops and usually do so by using the appropriate herbicide.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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Is it a good idea to plant turnips and radishes during the spring?

Question
Dr. Grant;

I have tried planting Eagle Seed soybeans the past two years on my property; I have not obtained the success I was hoping for but I am not able to drill the beans; I have had to broadcast them which I’m sure is the reason for this. I need or would like food year round and I am lacking a summer food source.

I have had a lot of luck with Maximum and Deer Radish for my fall plots. What is your thought on planting turnips and radishes in the spring? My deer herd will start eating the turnips well before the first frost of the year. I would assume that I would need to cut down and replant these plots for my fall/winter food plots late summer to early fall. I would also like to add wheat to my plots. Have you had any luck with Eagle Seed Monster Buck Wheat?

Thanks for the help again

Aaron Olson

Aaron,

Both turnips and radishes tend to mature much quicker when planted during the spring.  This results in these crops becoming non palatable to deer rapidly.  You might try buckwheat as the seed is relatively small and often grows well when broadcast into a good seedbed.  Many folks have great success broadcasting soybeans into a well-prepared seedbed just before or during a rain.  The rain serves to help bury the seed and the soil moisture ensure rapid germination.  If lack of germination is causing the poor performance you might give this technique a try.

I have used Eagle’s Monster Buck Wheat and have been very pleased with the results.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 14, 2016

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What should I plant in a flood zone?

Question
Good Afternoon: Grant.
The Question I have for you is. I hunt a 30 acre plot of land in NE Ohio, they have normal farm crop but theres not much hunting area by them, but theres a large creek and all the hunting area is a bottom but I want to plant a plot about 100 yards long by 30 yards wide, but the problem is if we get a heavy rain or long rain it floods for a day or two then goes back down, What would you suggest to plant and what should I do to prep for this area? thank you and sorry for the long explanation.

Shane,

It’s always risky to plant crops in flood zones.  I’m not aware of any forage crop that does well when flooded.  Did the area you wish to plant go underwater during the recent flooding?

How often does the area flood? If only once every ten years, then that’s an acceptable risk.  If it floods every few years then I’d find another location.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016 

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What’s a good food plot crop to attract deer during deer season?

Question
Hey Growing Deer Team,

If I want to plant one food plot that I can hunt in from October to December in New York what type of plant should I use?

Thank You

Hayden,

I’ve had great results with Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend. It has radishes, a forage wheat, and two types of brassicas.  I strongly prefer blends during the fall because different forage varieties attract deer at different times during the fall.  

Broadside is easy to plant and grow.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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What type of corn should be planted in eastern Kansas?

Question
We are new to food plotting and feeding fields. We have a +/-6 acre field in which we want to plan a corn-based feeding field. Where in Eastern Kansas can we get this type of corn and how much do we need per acre. Thank you.

Clark,

There are literally 1,000’s of varieties of corn.  I suggest you work with a local seed dealer to find variety that’s best adapted for your property and to meet your mission.  There are corn varieties that are more drought resistant, pest resistant, higher yields, etc.  No single variety has all the traits.  

Corn is sold in bags with 80,000 kernels. Hence different varieties will have different weights per bag, but the same number of seed.  Corn is planted in units of kernels per acre.  Most varieties are planted from 18,000 to 36,000 kernels per acre.  The amount planted depends on the variety and quality of soil.  Better quality soil and support more stalks per acre.

Again – working with a local seed dealer is probably the best way to identify good varieties of corn for your property and mission.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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What’s a good food plot crop’s’ for year round in southern West Virginia?

Question
Hey Grant, first wanted to thank you for acknowledging the Lord in all of you videos don’t see to many people talking about Him publicly. My question is I bow hunt in Southern West Virginia where the terrain is steep, and thick what would be the best choice to create a food plot for all seasons, and get there full potential antler growth.

Thanks,
Matt Tiller

Matt,

I’ve have great results using Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans during the growing season and overseeding them with Broadside about 60 days before the average first frost date during the fall.  Deer love and prosper on the soybean forage all summer and then enjoy the soybean pods when it’s cold during the winter. Deer tend to eat the green forage produced by the Broadside during the warmer winter days.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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How hard is it to plant and maintain Eagle Seed forage soybeans?

Question
Grant,

I am coming in to a new lease soon and I plan on doing some food plots. On one of the plot I want to do the Eagle Seed Soy beans. I seen it works great where you are at. The area is a wooded area I am getting rid of some trees that are already dead and using it to plant a food plot. I was wondering how hard is it to plant the soy beans and how much care do they take one the ground is tilled and the soy beans are planted. Thanks for your time in this matter. Also thank you for allowing me to be part of your field staff team. Because of you I have changed my degree path in college to Wildlife management. Thank you and God Bless.

Timothy,

Thanks for being part of the GrowingDeer Team!  We’re honored to work with you!!

Eagle Seed forage soybeans are very drought resistant and easy to keep weed free.  Simply prepare a seedbed and always do a soil test (www.Watersag.com).  Remember that malnourished won’t grow well and won’t taste as good/attract deer as well nourished plants.  This is why it’s so important to do a soil test and add the appropriate nutrients with any crop!

Soybeans do best when planted when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees at 2″ deep (and no cold front is coming).  Many states have a website that shows soil temperatures by county.

I like to plant soybeans about 1/2″ deep. Don’t plant them too deep.  Just make sure the seeds are covered with soil.  

Once the beans have germinated it’s easy to control the weeds by using glyphosate (Roundup).  This won’t harm the beans but will control the weeds.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016 

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How to plant soybeans with hand tools?

Question

Grant,
I recently got permission from a neighbor to hunt on his property and establish some small food plots. I am planning on planting some soybeans, and clover. I was wondering if you could tell me how to plant the soybeans with hand tools? It is just basically a test plot to see if black-tails will eat soybeans so it’s really pretty small.
Thanks,
Jeremy

Jeremy, 

Great question, that sounds like an exciting opportunity!

When planting soybeans it is critical to create a seedbed that will allow the seeds to germinate. This includes removing all of the debris and duff layer. Using rakes to rough the surface or grub the ground will be necessary.  Once that step is complete, I highly recommend broadcasting these soybeans during the rain or just prior to a heavy rain. This will allow the seeds to settle into the already prepared seedbed. You do not want to have the seeds covered by any more than 1/2 inch of dirt, but covered and not exposed is critical.

Even though this plot is small be sure to add fertilizer to this plot. This will help to jump start the young soybeans as the take off after germination.  

I hope you will keep us posted on this process. I am interested to know how quickly the black tail deer will consume the beans. 

Enjoying Creation, 

-Matt

2016-1-10

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Can I broadcast Broadside into standing Eagle Seed soybeans?

Question
I’m looking to change to a different seed company and I really like what I’ve seen from eagle seed through your videos. I get a soil test every year and do everything right to get the best growth possible, where I live here in Indiana we have great soil for growing really healthy plots. One thing I don’t understand if I plant the eagle seed forage beans and come in during the fall and broadcast the broadside blend over it, does it get enough light through the beans to grow well or do you recommend planting two different sections one for the beans then another section of broadside? I would love to be able to broadcast into the beans to maximize the amount of food just wanted to make sure there would be good growth for the fall blend.

Derek,

In larger plots where the soybeans aren’t heavily browsed there may not be enough sunlight reaching the soil for the Broadside to grow well.  This depends on the food plot size, the number of deer in the area, etc.  

In these cases I either plant additional plots with Broadside or plant it by using a no-till drill in some of the standing Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  I’ve found that a substantial percentage of Eagle Soybeans won’t be damaged by drilling through them.  I really like this technique as it provides grain (the soybean pods) and greens in the same area.  Deer tend to eat the bean pods during colder days and the greens during warmer conditions.  In addition, the Broadside makes a great cover crop and helps improve the soil.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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What food plot crops will grow well when planted in the thinned row of pines in Mississippi?

Question
Dr. Grant,

I live in south Mississippi, and I’m new to hunting. I’ve been given permission to hunt on my in-laws property and I would like to begin to manage the habitat. On the property I hunt there is a stand of plantation pines that have recently been thinned a year ago. What can we plant in the newly opened rows during the hot summer heat? Or, should we just wait until the coolness of fall and plant clover?

Stephen,

Planting and hunting in thinned pines is one of my favorite techniques!  Pine rows that run north and south receive less sunlight and tend to hold more soil moisture compared to rows that run east and west.  I’ve had great success with Eagle Seed forage soybeans, clover, the Broadside blend, etc.  I really like hunting plots planted in thinned pines as the remaining pines tend to funnel the wind and keep it from swirling.   Deer are very comfortable feeding in plots planted in the thinned row of pines as they are never more than a step or two from cover.  Deer appear to be much calmer in these environments.  

I typically plant forage soybeans in a row where the pines have been thinned, skip two rows for cover, and then plant another row with beans.  I overseed the beans with Broadside about 45 to 60 days before the average first frost during the fall.  

For more information, checkout the GrowingDeer episode at:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grant-Woods/260242857400

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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What do you mean when you use the term “glyphosate”?

Question
Dear Dr. Woods,
I have a couple questions for you.
1. I am wondering if when you us the term Glyphosate if you are using straight Glyphosate or if you are using round up or some other herbicide that has Glyphosate in it on your food plots and trees? (When you use the hack and squirt method.) As I Googled Glyphosate and could not find 100% Glyphosate. I could only find it in Roundup and other herbicides.
2. I am also wondering as you said that Glyphosate will not kill certain trees if it will kill Oaks, Maples, Cherry trees and Hickory trees? As my friends and I are going to be doing some TSI work in WI.
3. My last question is when you planted some of your food plots in whitetail thicket were you using just whitetail thicket? As I can find it only in some of Eagle Seeds other soybean blends. And if you can not buy just whitetail thicket by itself at the moment, are they going to be selling it by itself as they are the Big Fellow and Large Lad varieties?

Thank you very much for your time and answers! Please keep the episodes coming I love them and have watched every single one of them, and have learned a ton! God Bless you and have a great New Year! I hope and pray that your Father can get over the cancer.

Brother in Christ Joshua

Joshua,

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and the generic versions of Roundup.  I typically purchase products that are 41% glyphosate.  

41% Glyphosate doesn’t do a good job of controlling oaks or hickories. I haven’t tried it on cherries and maples.  I doubt it will work well to control those hardwood species.  

I begged the owners of Eagle Seed to allow me to try some pure Whitetail Thicket!  I was very impressed with the results. I don’t believe they plan to make that available soon.  I will be planting the Deer Manager’s blend this year as it includes the Whitetail Thicket variety!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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What’s a good forage crop for areas with very wet soil?

Question
Dr. Grant,

Can you recommend something to plant for a food plot that will be in a super moist area? We have a large area in North Louisiana that is in an open bottom, but after big rains it will hold water for quite a while. Just not sure if it might be too wet for eagle seed mix. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Stacy,

I’m not aware of any quality forage or grain crop that does well in areas with saturated soils or standing water.  If this area tends to be drier during the fall you might try planting Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend during the fall.

I’d focus on finding suitable areas to plant outside the flood zone.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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How do I submit my soil samples for analyses at Waters Ag?

Question
Hey grant, just wanting to see if you could give me the process by which I send in my soils for the soil analysis at waters agricultural laboratories in Owensboro,ky.

Grant,

I’m very proud of you for have the soil analyzed!  That’s a critical step to growing quality forage!!

You may wish to check out the GrowingDeer episode at the following link to see the steps I use to collect the sample:  https://www.growingdeer.tv/?ep=better-dirt-bigger-antlers&#/food-plot-tips-how-to-take-a-soil-sample

Once the samples are collected I simple make sure each sample is labeled. I usually label each sample with a simple numeric code which makes it easier for the lab folks to record. I make sure I have a key for numbers that relate to the food plot names.  

I also insure I tell the lab, by using the forms available at:  http://watersag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Soil-Plant-Nematode-Samples.pdf

I make sure communicate to the lab what crops I will be planting. Remember that different crops requires different amounts of soil nutrients.

The folks at Water’s Ag are very good to assist with this process.  Feel free to give them a call!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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Will radishes and turnips germinate if top sown into an existing stand of clover?

Question
Hello Grant, I am planning for a new food plot next year (clover) and I was wondering if I can spread radishes/turnips over the top in September? Would the radishes/turnips grow or would they need their own food plot? Also, when should I plant the radishes/turnips if I live in SE MN? Thanks for taking the time to answer my question!

Rylan,

If the clover is dormant due to drought, etc., top sown (broadcast) radish and turnip seeds may get seed to soil contact and germinate.  However, once a clover stand is established and productive it’s rare for seed to be broadcast into the stand and have enough seed to soil contact to germinate.  I recommend you create a separate plot for the brassicas to be planted during the fall.  

Radishes and turnips should be planted 45 – 60 days before the first average frost during the fall at your location.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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What type of seed should I plant in sandy soil?

Question
Hey Dr. Grant I was wondering what type of seeds I should plant in Sandy soil?

Denzel,

There are many variables such as what time of year you wish to provide forage, size of plot, number of deer in the area, etc.  In general Eagle Seed forage soybeans are as drought resistant as any crop I’ve tested.  In addition, it’s very easy to control weeds in the beans and controlling weeds saves more water for the soybeans! 

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 9, 2016

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What should I plant in my small food plot?

Question
I hunt in an area that is mostly timber and I am planning on making a very small food plot just to attract deer, not to improve the herd. My question is what should I plant in a small food plot that will last as long as possible and will grow well in an area that doesnt get a lot of sun due to all of the timber.

Thank you
-Luke

Luke,

Great question! These small plots can be very attractive to a deer herd that spends the majority of there time in the timber. There are many different options to choose from when planting, however we have found that either Eagle Seed Broadside blend or wheat works great! Wheat may do slightly better in a more shaded area, however if the plot will get a good deal of sunlight, the Broadside blend is designed to attract deer all season long based on the 4 different cultivars in the mix. Check out the Broadside mix here (http://www.eagleseed.com/BROADSIDE.html) Deer are natural browsers, so they like a variety to feed on! 

I hope you are successful in creating this small food plot! 

GrowingDeer together,

Matt Dye

1-8-16

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How can I control ryegrass?

Question
Grant,
Do you have any suggestions on fighting wild ryegrass in food plots? I am currently implementing a strategy but wanted to get your input as my efforts have been only mildly successful. I have plots planted in annual clovers and wheat that have infestations of wild ryegrass. It was brought into the plots years ago by a friend of mine using his bushhog without blowing it off between jobs. In the past two to three years it has gotten so bad that it seems to “poison” the ground causing anything planted with it, with the exception of clovers, to die by first frost. Wheat will not survive, nor brassicas. My strategy, beginning last year, was to spray the plots in February killing everything before the ryegrass could seed. Obviously there are lots of old seed in the seedbed as I got it back again this year. Now I have plots with ryegrass and beautiful stands of arrowleaf and crimson clovers. I would like to let the clovers go to seed but am certain doing so would allow too much time for the ryegrass to re-seed as well. Thinking best to go another year or two sacrificing my clovers earlier. Your thoughts?

Tommy

Tommy,

Ryegrass can be a significant problem!   You are probably correct in assuming there’s a ryegrass seed base there that can cause problems for years.  A relatively easy way to control the ryegrass is to plant Roundup Ready soybeans.  This will allow you to spray the plot multiple times with glyphosate and terminate the ryegrass as it germinates throughout the growing season.  Leave the beans standing and overseed the plot with a cool season blend and then plant Roundup Ready soybeans again the following year.

When ryegrass stops germinating you can go back to planting clover if you wish.

You can also try using a grass-specific herbicide but it’s very tough to control ryegrass with these products once a ryegrass seed base is established.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 8, 2016

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What forage species do you recommend for an area with wet land surrounding it?

Question
Hey grant i was wondering what type of food plot seed you would recommend for and area with wet land surrounding it? Thanks!

Garrison,

I’m not aware of any quality forage that deer prefer that grows well with wet feet. If the area you wish to plant remains dry, then the wet soils close by aren’t a huge factor and forage soybeans (my most preferred food plot crop) should work great!  

Always do soil test and add the appropriate amounts of lime and fertilizer!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 6, 2016

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Is it OK to apply lime on top existing vegetation?

Question
I have a 5-6 acre field that is an old pasture with about 1 acre of failed food plot attempt. We had a soil test done and it said to plant soybeans we needed 1250 lbs of lime per acre and 114lbs of potash. My question is we are planning on having the local co op add the lime in which they have a minimum of 8 tons so we would be at the mercy of when they could fit us in to their schedule. Is it ok to have the lime added on top of the current vegetation that is in the field? We will probably plant 1-2 acres using no till and eagle seed soybeans. And is it ok to add the lime on top of an existing clover plot without discing it in?

Don,

I’m very proud of you for doing a soil test!!  It’s fine to apply lime on top existing vegetation, especially this time of year.  Standard ag lime requires months to fully react with the soil so applying now is a great practice!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 6, 2015

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What’s a good food plot crop for my 60 acre farm?

Question
Grant,
I live on a 60 acre farm with about 35 of that being pasture and 25 being timber. What would be a good food plot option and what could I do to get the maximum amount of deer to visit my farm?
Thanks,
Taylen

Taylen,

There are many variables that should be considered when selecting a food plot crop. 

Without knowing the answers to these variables soybeans are very easy to grow and maintain and deer love them!  Deer crave soybean forage during the summer and the pods during the winter.  Eagle Seed forage soybeans have been the mainstay of my food plot program for years.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 3, 2016

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How can rye be controlled?

Question
I have property in SC that has perennial rye, white clover. I keep adding clover but the rye out competes with it. What would you recommend to control the rye?

Steve,

I’m not a fan of rye grain or rye grass. Both tend to mature quickly and deer don’t / aren’t attracted to mature rye.  Rye does a good job of scavenging nitrogen from the soil and producing lots of biomass. The biomass, if managed correctly can help build soil.  However, forage wheat does almost as good of job in these categories and doesn’t mature near as rapidly.  

There are several grass-specific herbicides that can be used to control rye (Poast, clethodim, etc.) or simply use glyphosate then the clover is dormant.  It may require several treatments as rye is a good seed producer and the seeds tend to remain viable for years.  This means the current crop and subsequent volunteer crops may have to be terminated

A very good option is to plant Roundup Ready forage soybeans for a year to clean up the rye and provide quality forage.  Then clover can be seeding on top the soybeans as there will be a weed-free seedbed below the beans.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 2, 2016

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Will deer come to my food plot if there are hay fields near by?

Question
Will deer come to a food plot if there are plenty of hay fields surrounding the woods where I hunt?

Andrew,

Deer tend to feed at the best food source within their home range that they don’t associate with danger.  Deer don’t like most hay/pasture grass forage species.  If the hay fields near your plot are grass such as fescue, orchard grass, timothy, etc., deer probably won’t feed there unless that’s the best forage in the area.  If there’s better forage such as brassicas, wheat, soybeans, etc., in your plot and it was fertilized appropriately deer should feed there.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 1, 2016

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What should we do to improve the quality of crops where we hunt?

Question
( I am 15) My dad has this property in Piedmont region of Va. He has usually keeps up with the crops but work is getting in the way. I don’t know if he ever did soil test on it because the crop never do that well. I would like to ask you what would you do to orange dirt ? This year we have had a lot of rain and last year I think it was dry. ( we have a no till Seeder)
Thank you, Connor

Connor,

I’m thankful your father is working to support your family!  

Tracy (my wife) and I used to live in the Piedmont of South Carolina.  That area has the same “orange” clay as where you live.  I was amazed at how good of crops it would grow if treated correctly.  An extremely important step is collecting a soil sample.  Check out the GrowingDeer episode at the following link to see how to collect samples correctly:  

https://www.growingdeer.tv/?ep=better-dirt-bigger-antlers&#/food-plot-tips-how-to-take-a-soil-sample

Using the no-till drill will go a long ways toward conserving soil moisture and improving the soil quality!  Follow the steps we show to establish and maintain food plots and you’ll be amazed at the results!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 1, 2016

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What food plot crop do you suggest to plant in the sand hills of South Carolina?

Question
Dr. Woods I have a few questions about putting in food plots in the sand hills of South Carolina. Obviously the soil is very sandy and our funds are short. We plan on not doing more than a few acres 4-5 tops in some clearings. Do you have a suggestion on what to plant? We would like to plant an ALL SEASON plot. Something that grows for the spring dies off, summer then dies off, winter then dies off. If you could offer any suggestions on what to sew and a reputable manufacturer it would be greatly appreciated. God Bless!

George,

Tracy (my wife) and I lived near Abbeville, South Carolina for years!  I had several projects in the sand hills.

Soybeans are about as drought tolerant as any quality forage crop and easy to establish and maintain.  The soil where I live is very gravelly and doesn’t hold moisture. I’ve found Eagle Seed’s Big Fellow variety (http://www.eagleseed.com/forage.html) has proven very drought resistant. My clients in Georgia and South Carolina that planted them last year were very impressed how they performed during drought conditions.  

They are easy to keep weed free and I simply broadcast Eagle’s forage wheat over the beans during September (in South Carolina) for a good attractant during the hunting season. I then spray the beans and wheat with glyphosate (generic Roundup) the next spring and repeat.  This rotation will add nitrogen to the soil and add lots of organic matter to improve the carbon ratio.  This is a great way to build the soil, conserve soil moisture, and provide quality forage for deer!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 30, 2015

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Is clover a good option for a summer food plot crop in Louisiana?

Question
Hey grant I was wondering you opinion on planting clover and chicory as a spring and summer foot plot to hold and attract deer and would it be good to hunt over during the fall. I live in north west Louisiana. Thanks

Jeremy,

It’s usually too warm in Louisiana for clover to grow well during the summer.  In addition, I’m not aware of any good herbicide that will keep weeds out of clover and not harm the chicory.  

Soybeans do much better in areas with high heat and are more drought tolerant than clover. In addition, they are much easier to manage! Many of my clients in Louisiana plant soybeans during the spring and overseed them with a forage wheat or the Broadside blend during the fall.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 30, 2015

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Is clover a good option for a summer food plot crop in Louisiana?

Question
Hey grant I was wondering you opinion on planting clover and chicory as a spring and summer foot plot to hold and attract deer and would it be good to hunt over during the fall. I live in north west Louisiana. Thanks

Jeremy,

It’s usually too warm in Louisiana for clover to grow well during the summer.  In addition, I’m not aware of any good herbicide that will keep weeds out of clover and not harm the chicory.  

Soybeans do much better in areas with high heat and are more drought tolerant than clover. In addition, they are much easier to manage! Many of my clients in Louisiana plant soybeans during the spring and overseed them with a forage wheat or the Broadside blend during the fall.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 30, 2015

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Can I mix soybean varieties and plant at the same time?

Question
Grant,

After years of watching your videos now i finally decided to plant soybeans. I used a high yield ag bean and was quite happy with the results except in a few areas where the deer took them out complete. I do not have a super high deer population but was interested if I could use a mix of 30 lbs eagle beans mixed with 50 lbs of the beans I planted this year to try to offset the browse damage on the grain beans. I cant find anything on QDMA forums or anyplace that has a answer if this would be a waste of money or a viable option to extend the forage life and the pod production a little longer. I do not drill I broadcast and drag the seeds in to the dirt. The seeding rate I was given from A WI ag extension was 80lbs per acre broadcast and I am not sure if mixing how that would work if a equal split is required or if it can be more split one or the other way and what would be best. As always keep up the great work and many blessings for your father and your whole family.

Kyle Casetta

Kyle,

I truly appreciate your prayers for my father!  

It sounds like you have a good plan!  The size of the seeds in the different varieties may be slightly different but that shouldn’t create any problems.  I suggest you plant some areas at the rate you mentioned and with some with a 50:50 blend to compare the results. I look forward to hearing about the results!  Send pictures!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 29, 2015

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Can you do a show about the benefits of cover crops?

Question
Can you do a show on cover crops and soil health? You’ve dabbled with using covers in the eagle seed beans. But for areas outside of the ozarks with more soil depth the benefits of cover crops and no-till can allow for more food on the fields to help support herds. And this is especially important for absentee landowners who have no idea their operators practice fall tillage that lose food and tons of soil/acre a year. Without soil, no habitat and food and without those, no wildlife.

Cody,

I’m a huge proponent of using cover crops no matter where/what type of soil. Cover crops paired with other good soil conservation practices are a key to sustainable agricultural and increased profits!  

If I have an opportunity I’ll certainly share more information about the benefits of cover crops!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 29, 2015

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What food plot species should I plant at farm in Iowa?

Question
Grant,

I just had a couple questions for you about a farm i just purchased. I was able to buy 132 acres in Boone IA. Which is in the center of Iowa. It is 66 acres tillable and 66 acres of timber. My questions are about food plots. Also i will be bow hunting and gun hunting. So hunting from October 1 thru January 10th.

I outlined my property in red. The blue line is a creek. The white dotted line is a train tracks which a train passes by every 8 minutes. To the north there isn\’t much timber. But to the south there is a bunch of timber. The farm consists of 5 fields.

Fields 1-4 are going to be soybeans that i am going to combine.

But field 3 i plan on leaving 2 acres of beans for the deer.

Field 5 i am going to be 3 acres of CRP in the white. And then 2.7 acres of food plot. Im going to plant soybeans and something green.

One of my questions is, what besides soybeans should i plant in the 2.7 acres.

Also on the map there are 2 yellow circles. Those are flats that i could clear some trees and plant some food plots. I was wondering if i should just keep it to the 2 food plots i have planned. Or make both those yellow circles into food plots so then i would have 4 food plots.

So those are my main questions.

Do i plant 2 or 4 food plots?

What do i also plant besides the soybeans?

One more quick question. On a path coming up to field #3 there are a bunch of scrapes. But the trail that the deer walk is pretty hard to walk thru. Tree branches hang low.

My question is do I need to cut a nice easy trail for the deer to walk out into the food plot. Or leave it the way it is.

Thank you very much,

Dane Titman

 

Dane,

One of the primary factors of why Iowa produces great bucks is soybeans!  Soybeans are a great two season crop as deer eat the forage during the summer and pods during the winter.  Soybeans are very easy to grow and maintain.  I suggest you plant forage soybeans (longer maturing like from Eagle Seed).  Once the commercial beans are harvested from nearby ag fields the best forage will be in your plots.  The slower maturing varieties from Eagle Seed will stay green much longer than the commercial varieties normally planted in Iowa.  Hence once the commercial varieties beginning ripening (turning yellow) deer will prefer the still growing and green forage of the Eagle Seed beans.

I also suggest over seeding the beans in the plots with a cool season blend such as Broadside that has a radish, forage wheat, and brassicas.  This will provide greens and beans in the same plot.  Deer will prefer the pods when its cold and the greens when the temperatures are warm.

This is a great soil building rotation that’s easy to plant and maintain.

If deer are using the trail I wouldn’t modify it much!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 28, 2015

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Can you give me some tips about planting and maintaining clover?

Question
I have an 120 acre property in Western Kentucky. 7 acres are plantable fields (one field on a ridge top the other is in a valley bottom). The rest is mature timber. I set aside an acre to plant clover. I currently have 5.5 – 6 acres in Eagle soybeans. The soil has been tested. Lime and fertilizer applied accordingly.

I did not have time to plant clover before it got too late in the year. So, I was planning on frost seeding near the end of winter. However, I have several questions….

When is the best time to frost seed?

With so many varieties of clover…. Which type and/or brand is going to give me the best forage for turkey and deer?

How many pounds/acre is best when frost seeding?

What should I do during the year to maintain a healthy stand of clover once it is established?

Never tried to plant clover and I don’t want to make a mess out of it.

Thanks again Dr. Woods, and God bless.

Heath,

Clover is usually easy to establish but can be difficul to maintain. 

There are many, many varieties of clover.  The last clover I planted was from Eagle Seed – a newer variety they have.  I often plant at least 50% more (by weight) seed when frost seeding compared to spreading on a prepared seedbed.  

Two common causes of clover to fail is lack of nutrients and weed competition.  I always take a soil test and tell the lab I wish to plant clover.  This will allow them to make fertilizer recommendations specifically for clover!  

Weed control in clover isn’t as simple.  There are several grass-specific herbicides that are safe to use over clover including Poast Plus, Clethodim, etc.  However, there are very few options that will control broad-leafed weeds and not harm the clover.  The two most common used is Pursuit and 2,4,D-B. Make sure and use the formulation with the “B.”  2,4-D will kill clover.  

Mowing isn’t necessary and mowing without herbicide won’t control weeds.

I prefer to frost seed clover when there are two to three frost left.  This is not 100% predictable so I watch the weather during each late winter and plan accordingly.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 28, 2015

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How many pounds of Eagle Seed soybeans should I plant per acre?

Question
Grant,

Thanks for the quick response. Are farm is in iron county MO. I will most likely use soybeans in the five plots. How many pounds of soybeans do you recommend per acre? Also how much broadside blend per acre?

James,

My land is so steep that I’m limited to how many acres I can plant. Deer tend to over browse the beans in my plots so I plant 80+ pounds per acre. This is less expensive than clearing more land and makes patterning deer easier.

I tend to plant 50 to 80 pounds of Broadside per acre, depending on how browsed the beans are by mid August.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 26, 2015

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What would you recommend planting and what time of year?

Question
Grant,

I am going to put in 3 1 acre food plots and two slightly smaller ones next year. This is the first time I’ve ever done it and was wondering what you would recommend planting? Also what time of the year to plant each crop?

James,

There are many variables including what other food sources are in the neighborhood, your mission (provide quality nutrition or attract deer), budget, etc.

I’ve had great success with Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  They provide very high quality forage and last about 10 months.  Deer eat the forage all summer and the pods during the winter.  I over seed the beans with the Broadside blend about 60 days before the average first frost.  I plant soybeans when the soil temperature is 60 degrees at two inches deep. 

If you watch http://www.GrowingDeer.com I’ll show you exactly how and when I plant this spring. You can watch all the past episodes there also – and see the techniques I use.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 26, 2015

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What forage species would you recommend for my 40 acre farm in northeast Missouri?

Question
I own 40 acres in ne mo So I compete with a lot of other corn and soybean crops
I only have approx. 1 1/2 acre of food plot. What would you recommend
eagle seed beans or some sort of clover mix. I also have a couple of other small areas 1/2 acre that could be planted but am wary as to spreading out my deer for hunting as I have limited time to hunt. Should I plant these other small areas in clover just for the nutrition of the herd.
thx

John,

I would recommend Eagle’s forage soybeans for the larger plot and a good white clover for the smaller plots.  Once the beans are harvested in the production fields you’ll probably have the only beans around!  The clover will be great for during warm winters like we are having so far this year an spring turkey season.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

December 26, 2015

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Can sandy soils be improved?

Question
I live in the sandhills of South Carolina where the white sands make it difficult to grow grass let alone food plot greens. Most hunters in our area elect to feed corn. Despite the poor soil, our county (Chesterfield) has produced 3 or 4 160 class deer over the last 5 years.
Any suggestions you may have regarding soil management and food plot growth will be much appreciated. I raised my family hunting and fishing and my eldest son suggested your website. I have certainly enjoyed the site keep up the good work. Thank you for honoring our Savior with your life and lip. He is worthy of our praise.

Dr. Andy Wells
Pastor, Galilee Baptist Church

Pastor Wells,

Thank you for sharing the encouraging words!  Tracy (my wife) and I lived near Abbeville, South Carolina for years.  

Sandy soils don’t hold much moisture or nutrients.  They can be improved but the expense to improve them is often more compared to better quality soils.

The first step is to never disk those soils. Disking will expedite soil moisture and nutrient loss.  Rather, use a no-til drill to plant and herbicide to control weeds or terminate the crop.  

These soil conservation steps will make a difference!  You (or at least I have been) amazed at how quickly (speaking in years not days) organic matter will build on top the sand! 

I use the same techniques as at The Proving Grounds where the soils are extremely gravely (don’t hold moisture) and low in nutrients.

Enjoy creation,

grant December 23, 2015

  

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What crops would you recommend we use to establish food plots northeast of Dallas?

Question
Grant,

This year I purchased 55 acres located one hour northeast of Dallas, solely for my family and I to hunt. Since I have not hunting in this part of the state, and knew very little about the deer population, I decided before I make any modifications to the property I would spend the year observing how the deer move throughout the property and surrounding land.

We have determined that our property, along with an adjoining 150 acres, broken into 3 individual tracts, are the sanctuary for a large portion of the deer population. On our property you will find heavy cover, large trees, a dense creek line, and native grasses. We have water and cover, but the only feed we offer is browse and acorns.

We have identified two fields 2-3 acres in size that we will plant in food plots early this next year. We plan to take soil samples, cut, treat/burn and prepare the fields, but would love to know your recommendation(s) for how to build a sustainable food plot, which does not require mass amounts of fertilizer after the first treatment.

Our initial thought is to plant clover to build a strong base, and then in late summer plant one field in soybeans, and the other in the Broadside mix. Is this a sustainable pattern year after year, or should we consider alternative solutions?

Blessings on you and your family,

-Erik

Erik,

Congratulations on being a property owner! 

It sounds like you have a good plan.  Even after the existing weeds are killed there will still be a huge weed seed bank.  This is why I like to establish food plots using Roundup Ready Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  I can simply kill the weeds by using glyphosate and then control the weeds that will germinate after the food plot crop is planted by using glyphosate again.  Soybeans are easy to grow and will serve to add nitrogen to the the soil.  

I use a rotation of soybeans which provides extremely high quality deer forage (soybeans are the key to large-antlered deer throughout the Midwest) and add valuable nitrogen to the soil.  Because I can maintain a weed free crop, It’s easy to broadcast wheat, brassicas, radishes, etc., over the beans about 60 days before the first expected frost during the fall.  This allows me to keep forage growing almost year round to provide food and continue building the soil.

I never disk my plots.  I simply spray the cool season blend the following spring and use a no-till drill to plant soybeans.  By allowing the forage to decay on top the soil serves as a great mulch to conserve soil moisture, prevent weeds, and erosion.  This rotation and use of conservation tillage has served me and my clients well!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 22, 2015

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Sse prescribed fire to clear leaves or disk them into the soi?

Question
Dr. Woods
I am planning on clearing a few spots in my timber this winter in preparation for fall food plots next year. I would like to use a prescribed burn to remove the leaves if the conditions are right. However, I live four hours from the property so it may be tough to get up there when the weather is right. Would it be a bad idea to mulch and disc the leaves into the soil? Do you have a recommendation on how to go about this task if a burn is not possible? Thank you and God bless.

Jason

Jason,

If you need to remove trees I suspect much of the leaves and debris will be disturbed as part of the clearing.  If the plots are already clear of trees than prescribed fire is a good option if it can be safely conducted.   If you are going to disk, than disking the organic matter into the soil is fine. Remember that disking results in compacting the soil just below the disk and causes other problems.  You may need to disk the plot to create a smooth seedbed the first time and then start using conservation practices such as using a no-till.

Once the plot is established I strongly recommend you discontinue disking and allow the past crops to decay on top the soil.  This is much more beneficial than disking the vegetation into the soil!  

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 22, 2015

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Will leaves smother a stand of clover?

Question
My 2/3acre food plot, mostly clover, is in the woods. Should I blow leaves off the remaining crop before snow flies? If leaves are left, will they smother the clover? Thx

Chris,

We just used a backpack blower to remove oak leaves from one of our hidey hole plots in the timber. A few days later Matt tagged a hit list buck near that same plot!  

If the clover is still growing – the temperatures are above freezing – then clover needs sun daily to photosynthesize.  If there’s enough leaves to block the sun they are damaging the clover.  I suggest you remove the leaves unless the clover is dormant due to cold temperatures.  It’s easier to maintain a stand of clover than to replant it!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015

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Where can I find more information about the no-till drill you helped develop?

Question
Grant- very interested in your new no-till drill equipment that is in the works. Where can I find more info. on it and when will it be available ? Thanks and Merry Christmas -Jim

Jim,

The drill now has a name!  They named it Genesis.

I signed off on version X (I lost count but was amazed how how patient they were with my field testing and suggested improvements) a while back and am told units will be available about mid February.  

Paul Hollis is the person in charge of that project for Redexim (www.Redexim.com).  Paul’s cell number is:  314-378-1889.  Paul travels frequently so don’t hesitate to leave or message and try again.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015

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Will soybeans grow on rocky ridge tops in Tennessee?

Question
Dr Grant
I have a large tract of land that is located in the hills of Tennessee. Everything is ridge tops and steep hollers not really suitable for good food plots like soybeans or corn. The main food source is oaks and natural browse. I feel like any type of food plots that I could add to this farm would help with the overall health of the heard. I plan to clear a couple areas this spring. What type of plants would you recommend? This is not ideal soil and some of it could be rocky. Would something as simple as winter wheat be beneficial? Thanks and I love your website!

Cori,

My place is also very steep and rocky!  There was no topsoil (literally) when I started.  There was no where I could get an 1″ of soil in a shovel.  I simply killed the existing weeds, did a soil test, added the appropriate amount of lime and fertilizer (www.AntlerDirt.com) and drilled in soybeans.

Soybeans are very drought resistant and easy to grow.  The plots you see at my place can be grown on yours!  Simply follow the techniques we show and you’ll be amazed at what grows! 

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015

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What’s a good food plot crop for a beginner?

Question
I’m a beginner and I’m wanting to make a food plot near my house. And I’m wondering what would be the best seed to start out with? I also live in Kentucky.

Trent,

There are many factors that go selecting what size and type crop to plant in a food plot.  These include:

1. Size of plot you have permission to establish.

2. What equipment is available (tractors and drills or a rake and hand spreader).

3.  If you want the plot to provide quality nutrition throughout the growing season or simply attract deer during the hunting season.

There’s much information about establishing all types of plots at http://www.GrowingDeer.com.  Go to the Videos tab at top and then select the Food Plot tab on the left.

As you refine you mission for the plot I’ll be happy to try and help give more specific information.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015

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Should I plant a mix of timothy, alfalfa, and clover in a small food plot in West Virginia?

Question
My name is Zach Sloneker, and I live in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and plan on putting in a small 15×30 yard food plot. I was thinking about mixing Timothy, Alfalfa, and Clover. Although, about 85 yards away, there is a gas-line with red and white clover on it. But before I plant anything, I want to do a soil test, and I have no clue on where to start this procedure?

Zachary,

Deer very rarely are attracted to or eat any pasture grasses such as timothy.  I don’t recommend planting timothy to attract deer.  Alfalfa is very difficult to maintain. There are many insects that damage alfalfa.  

I suggest you plant quality white clover and forage wheat as a cover crop or use Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend.  You’ve seen us tag many deer over the Broadside blend!

You can see step by step instructions of how to collect a soil sample at:  https://www.growingdeer.tv/?ep=better-dirt-bigger-antlers&#/food-plot-tips-how-to-take-a-soil-sample

I really enjoy creating and hunting near hidey hole plots!  I wish you well with yours!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015

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What food plot crops work well in southwest Wisconsin?

Question
Grant,
I look forward to each weeks video release, finding you and your team’s passion for deer management, hunting and general enjoyment of nature contagious!
I’m beginning to develop a small management plan along with my neighbor on our combined 65 or so acres and find your advice extremely helpful.
In our southwest Wisconsin area, baiting and feeding of deer is not legal at any time of the year (if I read the regulations correctly). Food plots can be created but mineral supplements cannot be used any time of the year. Do you have a suggestion on specific food plot plantings that would help supply minerals to lactating does, developing fawns and buck antler growth during the appropriate times throughout the year? We have a lot of surrounding ag related food sources and am working on 12 month food plot availability within our properties for when the ag sources are gone. I planted Eagle soybeans last year with great results and will continue to be part of my future plans. Considering a February frost seeding for a new plot with cerial rye/chicory/clover mix for this comming year as a perennial plot.
I feel your show and website is turning deer hunters like me into deer managers! Thank you for that,
Travis

Travis,

Thank you for sharing the encouraging words!  

I’m glad you had success with Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans.  Raw soybean seeds are very high in many minerals including calcium and phosphorous.  See the following table.  I really like a rotation of soybeans overseeded with a mix of radish, forage wheat, and brassicas.  This blend of forages provides deer with a high quality source of protein and the radishes and brassicas are very good at transferring minerals from the soil to the consumer (deer).  

In addition, all of species in this blend have small-sized seeds so they work well to be broadcast directly into standing beans during early August in your area.  After this crops matures during the spring I simply treat it with glyphosate and plant another crop of forage soybeans.  I’ve used this rotation for years and have been very blessed with the results and soil building qualities.  

I like chicory but it’s a very tough crop to control weeds when mixed with clover.  I’m not aware of any herbicide that’s safe to use for both clover and chicory.  Without being able to control weeds, perennial plots rarely work well.  

If I was establishing a perennial crop, I would plant a white clover and forage wheat. I simply allow the wheat to serve as a cover crop for the clover.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 21, 2015 


    Amount Per 100 grams1 cup (186 g)1 cup (186 g)

    Calories 830
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 37 g 56%
    Saturated fat 5 g 25%
    Polyunsaturated fat 21 g
    Monounsaturated fat 8 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
    Sodium 4 mg 0%
    Potassium 3,342 mg 95%
    Total Carbohydrate 56 g 18%
    Dietary fiber 17 g 68%
    Sugar 14 g
    Protein 68 g 136%
    Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 18%
    Calcium 51% Iron 162%
    Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 35%
    Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 130%

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When should I apply lime?

Question
Hey Grant! Huge fan of all you do!

I have a question about lime. I’m going to convert a powerline strip into a food plot this spring. I’ve already got my soil test back but I’m not sure the correct way to add my lime. I’d like to plant Soybeans this spring and know from the soil test I need to apply about 2 tons of lime. I’m planning on using pelletized lime. My questions are, (1) do i need to apply herbicide prior to lime application? (2) do I need to till in the lime or can i just spread it on top of the existing vegetation? (3) Should I go ahead and get the lime going now so it has more time to actually change the Ph level or wait until this spring?

Thank you,
Bill

Bill,

I’m glad you took the soil test in advance and are planning ahead!

Pelletized lime is convenient but usually cost several times the amount of standard crushed ag lime.  There’s a brand or two of pelletized lime that’s actually ground much finer than ag lime and therefore reacts with the soil much quicker. If you are using one of these varieties (you know because they are marketed as a special product and cost more) then it shouldn’t be applied too early.  

This is because the finer ground lime reacts quicker with the soil (because there is much more surface or reaction area due to the finer ground).  This product changes the soil’s pH  quickly but the results don’t last as long as a course ground lime that basically functions as a slow release product.  Both product have value depending on the application. If using standard ag lime or stand pelletized lime (simply ag lime formed into pellets) then it’s best to apply approximately six months in advance. It will take this long for much of the lime to react and change the soil’s pH.

Most herbicides (like glyphosate) should be applied about two weeks before planting.  If you kill the weeds much sooner more will germinate and grow before the crop is planted.  If you are tilling the soil there’s no need to use glyphosate as it only kills growing plants. It won’t kill weed seeds, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 20, 2015

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Will the soil nutrients in a stand of soybeans be enough to produce a crop of brassicas, forage oats, and winter peas?

Question
Dr. Woods,
I am writing you in hopes to get a little more info on over seeding a fall food plot blend into an existing stand of soybeans. I recently watch a clip where you and your team broadcasted a fall mix into standing beans on a rainy day. I wanted to do the same thing using a mixture of brassicas, forage oats, and winter peas. Prior to sowing the beans I will take soil tests and react accordingly. So my question is in theory will the ph and nutrients in the soil be sufficient for the fall mix after the beans have been growing all summer? In addition by doing this will the rainfall be enough to insure proper seed to soil contact? Lastly, what are your thought on using milorganite in the freshly planted beans to deter deer browse on the new shoots of beans?
As a side note I wanted to thank you for your great videos you put out. They are very informative and a breath of fresh air in regards to the content of hunting media we see today. You are a great embassador for hunters and and owners alike.

Best regards,

Brian Laux

 

Brian,

Thanks for the kind words!

Unless there is a major flooding, etc., event soil nutrients (except nitrogen) change relatively slowly except for those removed by the crop.

The results of the soil test conducted before planting the beans will show if there are enough nutrients for a crop of beans and a followup cover crop.  The soybeans, if they grow well and are allowed to mature will add approximately 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre.  The amount of phosphorous and potassium available will be known before the beans are planted.

Therefore, if you add the appropriate nutrients there should be ample nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to produce a the cool season blend you mentioned.

Winter peas are a relatively large sized seed.  It’s tougher for larger seeds to make good contact with the soil when they are broadcast compared to smaller sized seeds like brassicas.  Depending on the amount of forage when the seeds are broadcasted and condition of the soil the winter peas may have a low germination rate.  When I plant larger sized seeds into stand beans, I often use a no-till drill. The drills I use damage about half the beans and results in a great mix of soybean seeds and winter greens!  I really like this technique.

Dr. Karl Miller at the University of Georgia did some research with milorganite years ago and reported some level of success at reducing deer from browsing on young soybeans.  Since then other researchers have found conflicting results. The primary variables are the number of deer in the area compared the amount of quality forage and if deer have been exposed to milorganite before. Deer rapidly become conditioned to ignore deterrents that don’t physically threaten them.   The best forage protection system I’ve tried is the Non-Typical solar powered electric fence.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 20, 2015

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How much fertilizer is needed by the Broadside blend?

Question
Grant, I like your method of planting soybeans and overseeding with Broadside in the late summer. You say that you add the appropriate amounts of P & K but hold the Nitrogen when planting the beans… My question is how and what do you fertilize the Broadside with (if any)? Do the beans fix enough Nitrogen or should I supplement? Thanks in advance!!

Mike,

The existing soil fertility can vary significantly from plot to plot even if they are in close proximity.  Hence, the best practice to insure good results is to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed by a quality lab (www.Watersag.com).  This simple step is often the difference between success and failure!  I collect soil samples from every plot (even hidey hole plots) annually.  Unless there’s a major land use or flooding event the available soil nutrients won’t change much throughout the year (except for nitrogen which is very volatile). 

At my place I’ve been using no-till and cover crops so long that the soil quality has significantly improved.  By planting Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans and overseeding with Broadside there’s a crop mining or recycling nutrients everyday the growing conditions are favorable.  This prevents most nutrients from leaching too deep for the next crop’s roots to obtain.  In addition, the biomass produced is allowed to slowly decompose on top the soil. This serves as a slow release fertilizer to continue feeding new crops, prevents moisture loss through evaporation, and soil loss through wind and water erosion.  

When I purchased The Proving Grounds the soil was very poor due to years of poor management.  I added Antler Dirt (www.AntlerDirt.com) and increased the soil nutrients and organic matter.  By using only no-till (I don’t own a disk) and always using cover crops (Broadside) I rarely have to add any nutrients.  In fact I haven’t added any form of fertilizer in two years to most of my plots (only to the newest plots!).  

The long-lived Eagle Seed forage soybeans and the amount of organic matter produced by the rotting vegetation provide more than enough nitrogen for the Broadside (and most crops). In fact, soil test results from my plots show an average of 90 pounds per acre of E.N.R. (estimated nitrogen release).  

I hope this helps!  I explain and show my techniques in detail during our annual Field Events. They are tentatively scheduled for April 1st and 2nd and August 12th and 13th, 2016.  There will be more information about these event soon at http://www.GrowingDeer.com.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 20, 2015

  

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Would it be beneficial to fertilize my entire eight acres?

Question
I would like to start by saying I am a big fan of your work and appreciate everything you have done to provide us as hunters valuable information to better everything about this fine sport of deer hunting.

My question is, after reading one of your articles pertaining to growing big bucks anywhere, I have always wondered if completely fertilizing a small tract of property (approx. 8 acres) like I own here in Ohio would benefit me in any way. What I mean by this is would it be beneficial to basically just walk through the woods and fertilize my whole piece of property with the hopes of not only attracting deer to my property because of the increased growth potential of the browse, trees, etc. but ultimately would this increased nutrition (if it occurs) provide the benefits I am looking for to also increase antler growth? My next question is if this is beneficial what would you actually fertilize with, 10-10-10, etc. to cover all browse and tree species?

Thank You For Your Time,
Fred

Fred,

Thank you for sharing the kind words!

Deer and other critters might benefit from fertilizing the entire eight acres.  However, I suspect critters would receive much more benefit by focusing your resources on plants that are better at converting soil nutrients to an edible form that is desireable.  For much of the fertilizer that is applied under trees will go to producing wood and not forage material (nuts, fruit, leaves, etc.). 

Depending on the vegetation present, the fertilizer may encourage weed growth rather than plants that deer will consume.  Based on research there’s no doubt more benefit will be provided if you created a one acre food plot and planted it with a crop that is known to covert nutrients in the soil to digestible forage.  

Remember that 10-10-10 stands for the amount of nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium in 100 pounds of product.  So by using a fertilizer like 19-19-19 twice the actual nutrients can be spread with the same amount of time and labor!  Even more importantly collect a soil sample and determine what, if any, nutrients are missing. Folks that don’t apply fertilizer based on a soil analysis often apply (pay for) too much of one element and not enough of another. In addition, each type of forage will require different amounts of each element. For example, corn requires a lot of nitrogen while soybeans require very little nitrogen (the “fix” their own by taking nitrogen from the soil and air).

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 20, 2015

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Where should I place food plots?

Question
Hey grant I have a question about locating some food plots on property I lease it is 331 acres and about 135acres is 10yr old clearcut that is very thick which I know hold a lot of deer I’m able to place several food plots throughout the property and before I do I wanna place them in the best areas where I’ll get the best results.. 3/4-1acre will be the biggest I can go. There is plenty of cover and water on this parcel.. I attached a couple maps for you to look at I would appreciate any advise you could give me feel free to mark on the maps.. Thank you for your time..

Chad,

I try to create food plots between where deer bed and larger feeding areas (where they will feed during the night).  I also consider if the hunter can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  I consider this as important as any other feature of the plot. 

Without walking the property, knowing the prevailing winds and thermals, it’s tough to select locations for plots.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 18, 2015

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What steps should I take to convert unmanaged pasture land to food plot crops?

Question
Still digging your show, I tell everyone that wants to manage their land for wildlife to watch!

I have several acres of old pasture which is grown up with some native warm season grasses, weeds, fescue, etc. In the pastures where there are no warm season grasses, I would like to start the process of using a no till drill to plant forage soybeans. I will be starting this spring and would like to know what the proper steps for beginning this process. Should I use prescribed fire to go ahead and remove any vegetation presently occupying the fields? There are 9 fields totaling about 23 acres. I feel like this may be the missing link for our already balanced herd and older age structure. Discing and tilling seems to be a waste of time for us.

Thanks for your time,

Tom,

Thank you for sharing GrowingDeer with your friends!

I agree with your plan!  I’d create a fire break around the pastures and use prescribed fire to remove the current weeds and duff.  Please get help if you are not experienced with using prescribed fire!  

This spring the fescue and other weeds will green up. You’ll need to use herbicide to kill these weeds (probably two quarts of glyphosate per acre).  Then soil test and add the appropriate lime and fertilizer. Remember that malnourished forage doesn’t attract or benefit wildlife near as much as healthy forage!

Then use a no-till drill to plant forage soybeans.  There will some fescue and weeds germinate from the seed bank.  Eagle Seed forage soybeans are Roundup ready so simply spray the plots again just before the beans make a full canopy.  Once the beans shade the soil very few weeds will grow.

I wish you well!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015

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Are there pictures online of the of the no-till drill you’ve helped design?

Question
I read that you are releasing a no-till drill for food plots. I would love to see pictures. Can I find pics online?

David in Oklahoma

David,

I have been helping the Redexim company design a high quality no-till drill.  Redexim.com is a world leader in manufacturing turf management equipment.  They contacted me about helping design a no-till drill. I’ve been extremely impressed with their engineers and how responsive they’ve been to my suggestions based on in the field testing.  

I’ve “signed off” of the lastest prototype and they are manufacturing now.  The drills should be available during February or so.  The contact for Redexim is Mr. Paul Hollis (314-378-1889).  He will know much more about availability, pricing, etc. I know there’s he has a waiting list.  

You can see one of the early prototypes at:https://www.growingdeer.tv/archive/#/deer-hunting-made-easier-field-day-2015.  The drill has changed and improved significantly since then!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015

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Is a 50 by 30 yard spot close to a swamp a good location for a food plot?

Question
Hello Dr. Grant i found a spot that is about 50 yards by 30 yards and i have a swamp behind it but it needs to be cleared and the soil is dry.Is this a good spot for a food plot and should i use a hot zone fence.?

Denzel,

From what I know, it sounds like a great Hidey Hole food plot location!  Deer probably use the swamp for cover and feed elsewhere!  I’ve had great success putting Hidey Hole plots between food and cover.

50 x 30 yards about a third of an acre.  Deer can remove forage from such a plot quickly. It would be a good idea to protect the forage with a Hot Zone fence and allow the forage to produce some tonnage before deer begin browsing there.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015

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What are some good forages to grow near Massena, New York?

Question
Grant,
What would be some good food plots for our land in Massena New York (upstate) I truly enjoy watching all of your hunts and educational advice.
Thanks,
Steve

Steve,

I’ve traveled through Massena frequently going to projects near Potsdam, Silver Lake, Beaver Lake, etc.  That’s neat country!

There are lots of soybeans and corn grown in the flatlands of that area.  Deer love soybeans during the summer and brassicas and forage wheat during the winter. My clients have had much success with Eagle Seed’s Northern Manager’s blend of forage soybeans there during the summer and overseeding it with the Broadside blend during late July or early August.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 15, 2015 

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Will ryegrass grow if thrown on top of pine straw?

Question
Will rye grass still grow if you just throw it on the ground and the ground is covered over with pine straw

Walker,

Most all seed needs seed to soil contact.  I’m sure some of the seeds will germinate if thrown on top pine straw – if the straw is wet. I suspect it would be sparse stand.

The germination and survival rate will be much better if you rake the straw back and expose the soil.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 14, 2015

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Should I protect a food plot in northern Wisconsin until hunting season?

Question
Grant I\’d like to say your site has the best whitetail information of any Iv\’e seen.
This past season I hired someone to help me put in a 1/2 acre plot. He planted Brassica (mostly Turnips) the 1st of July. I live in northern WI. By the 1st of Oct. the plants started turning yellow, and by the end of Oct there was very little greens left on them. My local feed store told me they where just mature and not lacking any fertalizer.
Baiting is legal in WI so I put out some corn in the plot to keep the deer coming starting the 1st part of Nov.
I did take a nice 10 pointer heading towards the plot with my crossbow Oct 31 right at the tail end of a rain front. The second day of rifle Nov 22 I shot a nice 8 pointer at 1st light. I feel I\’m a good hunter and know where and how to set up, and when to hunt.
So all and all I had a great season, but saw very few bucks on my cameras day or night. Mostly lots of Does.
One of my neighbors has a large food plot a 1/4 mile away which I\’m not sure what he has in it. Other hunters in the area put out corn. There are also some red oaks in the area (not many acorns this year).
This next year I\’m going with Eagle beans and than broadcast Broadside on top of them the 1st of Aug (1st frost here is mid Sept.), just as you suggest.
My question is, am I better off keeping the deer out and let the beans form beans so when I start hunting the very end of Oct
I have more food and more types, or do I want the deer to start coming before that. If I don\’t keep them out at all I\’m sure they will eat everything up.
Thanks for all you do for us hunters,
Mark

Mark,

Congratulations on tagging two nice bucks!

If the mission for the food plot is to attract deer during hunting season then using a Hot Zone fence to protect it works great! I typically create a gap in the fence about a week before I plan to hunt the area.

If the local oaks have a bumper crop next year I wouldn’t open the fence until most of the acorns have been consumed or have rotted.

I like your plan and look forward to learning about your results!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 10, 2015

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Where should I create some hidey hole plots?

Question
Dear Grant,
I love your shows I watch them every Monday keep up the good work.I hear so much about food plot placement and small hidey hole food plots i am planning on adding one or two or three this spring on my property.I was wondering where your opinion was on the locations of these on my property.I have outlined in orange where I hunt and there is quite a bit of hunting pressure on the edges of the property line.And maybe a suggestion on what to plant in these bad boys.Tag soup isn’t real tasty no matter how much ketchup you put on it.
Thanks Matt.

Matt,

Hidey hole plots can be great stand/blind locations!  

I don’t know the scale and can’t tell if there are any openings in the timber where sun reaches the soil at least during 1/2 the normal hours.  I’d also consider where deer bed in the area and current travel areas.

I like to place hidey holes between bedding areas and primary feeding areas.  I also consider if I can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer. I suspect you’ll need a stand/blind for each a north, south, east, and west wind!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 10, 2015

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What would be some good food plots for our land in Dent County, Missouri?

Question
I am a young hunter (16). I hunt about 15 miles away from montuak and the current river in the dent county area. I was wondering how to control a prescribed fire. And what would be other good food plots to add some variety to our 192 acres of land?

Jake,

That’s beautiful country!  

The Missouri Department of Conservation offers great prescribed fire classes! I strongly suggest you attend one of those before using prescribed fire!

My favorite warm season food plot in the Ozarks is Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  They are drought hardy, easy to grow, and deer love them!  I use the Broadside blend for my cool season (fall) food plots. I have about 10% of my plots in clover as it’s productive before it’s warm enough to plant soybeans. However, clover rarely stays green and productive during the summer in the Ozarks.

Be very careful with fire and enjoy creation,

grant

December 10, 2015
 

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When should I add Antler Dirt?

Question
Hey Grant, love what your doing and all the info you share. I have a question in regards to adding antler dirt. Our land id in the hills of the finger lakes region of NY. Our property and most of the surrounding property’s are all woods. So were in the process of clearing out 2 acres for a food plot. We cutting the trees down, chunking up for firewood and leaving the stumps for the dozer. Our soil is pretty poor, gretor silt loam (not rocky). Ive been thinking of adding some antler dirt soon after the dozer clears out the stumps but what’s the best way to do it. Land has a gradual slope and I’m worried that about it running off over the coarse of a few rains.
Should I simply apply and the seed, till up the soil then add the dirt? Appreciate your time, Merry xmas to you and your family and staff!!
Zack

Zack,

Once the stumps are removed and limbs picked up I try to never disk a plot again! Disking can lead to erosion and soil compaction. I haven’t disk a plot in more than a decade.  

I suggest you plant the plot and once the forage is three inches tall or so add Antler Dirt!  The forage will help control erosion of the Antler Dirt.  

If you continue with good soil management practices (no disking) there will be a layer of duff on the ground throughout the year and you will build soil versus losing soil to erosion and the roots and earth worms will break up compacted soil!

It may be helpful to rip the plot after the stumps are removed as the felling of trees and heavy equipment tends to severally compact soil.  This means water will run off versus seep in and roots won’t be able to penetrate the soil.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December  10, 2015

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How does horse manure compare to chicken litter?

Question
We have used chicken litter on our food plots for years with good results. We now have an opportunity to purchase horse manure from a farm down the road at a much cheaper price. Would horse manure be a good alternative to chicken litter?

Thank you for answering our questions.

Ryan,

One big difference is that weed seeds tend to pass through a horse and still be viable.  This is not the case with poultry litter. Spreading horse manure often means fighting weeds.  

Horse manure doesn’t have as high of nutrient value as chicken litter. It will require much more horse manure to contain the same amount of nutrients as chicken litter.  I suggest you collect a sample of each and then compare the pounds of N, P, and K per ton of each and see which one is the better value – or use standard values found on line and compare price per nutrient quantity.  I don’t know what you are paying for either, but I suspect the chicken litter will be a better value.

For more information, check out:  http://modernfarmer.com/2015/05/get-a-load-of-our-manure-guide/

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 8, 2015

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Is milo detrimental to the environment?

Question
Dear Dr. Woods

My name is Eric and I am a 25 year old new hunter. I am interested in you teachings about food plots. As of last spring due to droppings from my bird feeder milo has started to grow in my yard. I let the small patch of milo grow and produce seeds. My question to you is. Would it be detrimental to the environment if I went out and planted this small crop of milo seeds that I grew? I am only talking In Terms of maybe a quarter pound of seed. I would like to try to grow a bigger food plot from this modest start. I am currently an under grad and have little money to invest in hunting. This is the only reason I don’t invest in soy beans or other food plot mixes.

Thanks a lot!
Eric F Geier

Eric,

Thanks for watching http://www.GrowingDeer.com!

Milo isn’t harmful to the environment.  I don’t know if the seed used in that bird feed product is protected by laws. You might read the fine print on the feed bag.  I can’t speak to the legality of planting it, but am certain the Milo won’t harm the environment!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 4, 2015 

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How large should a food plot be for soybeans?

Question
I’m 14 and my family has have about 100 acres and it is mostly wooded and is very dense I want to cut an area so I can plant a soy bean plot about how large should it be? And I love your videos they really give me a lot of useful tip and tricks and inspire my desire to hunt thank you!

Logan,

Thank you for watching GrowingDeer and for sharing the kind words! 

The size of the plots should be based on then the mission. For example, if the mission is to provide deer quality forage throughout the year than the plot will need to be large enough so deer don’t over browse the forage while it’s still young.  I often use Hot Zone fences to protect small plots from being over browsed and then remove the fence or a part of the fence before hunting season.  

Be sure and have the soil tested and add the recommended amount of lime and fertilizer so the soybeans will be healthy and tasty!  Healthy forage attracts deer much better than malnourished forage.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015 

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How may I establish food plots in an area that’s primary mature timber?

Question
I was wondering if you had any ideas on food plots for me. There are no logging roads through the property and it is old timber so the ground is mostly dirt. What do you suggest i do other than log a part of the property. Thanks
Ben,

I’m not sure I understand your question.  I believe you are asking if food plots will work well in an area that’s covered with mature timber.

All forage crops that I’m aware require at least a half a day of sunshine to prosper. Most do best when they receive all sunlight available during a day.  If there are no openings in the timber’s canopy such as where lightning killed a tree, etc., I doubt any crop will prosper.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015

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How can forage soybeans be planted if a no-till or conventional drill isn’t available?

Question
If a no till drill or even a planter is not available to use when planting forage soy beans, what do you suggest I should do? Broadcast it and pull a drag over it with an atv or something different than that.

Jason,

Soybeans (all forage crop seeds) need good soil contact to sprout. To accomplish this I prepare a seedbed and broadcast the seed just before or during a rain.  Rain will splash some dirt over the seeds and insure there’s adequate soil moisture to germinate rapidly.  Rodents and birds can remove a substantial amount of the seeds rapidly if they don’t germinate and aren’t covered with soil.  

Using a drag can help.  I prefer to broadcast the seed and use a drag just before it rains.  It’s often best to plant 10-50% more seed (depending on how rough the seedbed is) when broadcasting compared to using a drill (placing the soybean seeds one inch deep in the soil).  

Just as an FYI – most county NRCS offices throughout the whitetail’s range rent no-till drills for a very reasonable fee.  I’ve rented several for $7 to $10 per acre!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 29, 2015

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What type of fence do you use to protect food plots until the late season?

Question
What kind of fences do you use to help deer out to reserve some of a food plot for later season.
 Colton,

I’ve used the Non-Typical Hot Zone system for years. In fact I’ve used the same two for many years in a row!  They work great!  For more information check out their fence system!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 29, 2015

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Is Broadside OK to plant in small plots?

Question
Hi Grant, I love your Growing Deer TV website. It is very useful for us do it yourself type of people. Kudos to your family and friends. I have eight acres with a house and I have been managing it for bow hunting for a long time. I have great thick cover from continuous TSI and plenty of water. I have had a micro food plot that I can expand to 1/8 acre. Believe it or not that existing food plot is extremely effective as I have a wide range of fruit trees and up and coming nut trees. Would Broadside be ok to plant in that size plot? I know the smallest broadside seed size bag is 1/4 acre. If not what do you suggest planting specifically as far as seed blend and seed company? Please don’t post my email.
Thank you, Kevin

Kevin,

It sounds like you are doing a great job of managing the property!  Tree plots are a great technique to attract deer!

Check out my Facebook page (Grant Woods). I’ve posted several videos during the past few days of bucks in my hidey hole (small) plots. These are all planted with Broadside. It should work great for your plot also!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 28, 2015

 

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How do I create food plots in areas covered by thick brush?

Question
Dear Dr. Woods,

My name is Walker and i am 15, my family has had a 180 acre property in Northwestern Ohio since 1912. I am the only one in my family that has has a great desire for hunting. I have harvested over 4 deer through 3 years, but i am still very new to this. My goal through out the years is to produce large antlers and safe haven for the deer with bedding and food plots. Our property is mainly dominated by corn and bean fields but there is a very dense area that is covered with brush and trees. In this area i would like to make a food plot and i would like to hang a few stands after i know the pattern of the deer. To create a food plot in these dense woods, how would i get started? Also, i love your videos they have helped me so much and made me love the sport and everything before the shot. Thank you so much.

Sincerely, Walker.

Walker,

I’m proud of you for hunting!  Sounds like your family farm is set up well for hunting with cover and row crops!  

The corn and bean crops provide great quality feed for deer throughout the growing season. A few small food plots would do a great job of attracting deer once the corn and soybeans have been harvested.  

I look for areas within cover that receive sunlight during at least half the day.  I also look for areas that I can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  Being able to hunt without alerting deer is key to success!  

This may mean taking an indirect route to the stand to keep the wind in your favor.  Sometimes there are ditches or creeks that hunters can use to access stands. I often clear any obstacles from ditches during the late winter so I can walk through them safely and quietly during the next deer season.

I look for where large trees have died, dried ponds, etc., within cover to find areas where the forest canopy is blocking the sun from reaching the soil.  

Once I’ve located such a location, I clear the debris (leaves, brush,etc.,) so seed can make contact with the soil. I add fertilizer and wait to broadcast the seed until just before or during a rain.  Rain will help cover the seed by splashing dirt and the moisture will cause the seeds to germinate rapidly. Otherwise birds and rodents can consume much of the seed before it germinates.

There’s much more information about these techniques in some of our episodes at http://www.GrowingDeer.com.

Be safe and enjoy creation,

grant

November 27, 2015

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What should I plant near Grovespring, Missouri?

Question
Hey Grant. I have no food plots. I have around 220 acres to hunt around Grovespring, MO. We have a lot of deer on our property, and they look healthy. I am planning on planting some food plots this next year. We need most of our open land for hay, so I was planning on clearing a small spot in 40 acres of woods to plant. My question is what should I plant here? Thank you for all of your advice.

Ethan,

I’ve had much success with Eagle Seed Forage soybeans during the summer and overseeding them with the Broadside blend about 45 to 60 days before the first expected frost.  This rotation does a great job of building the soil (soybeans add a of nitrogen to the soil) and the Broadside blend does a great job of capturing nutrients and transferring them to deer. 

You can see us tagging several deer over this blend in the episodes we already shared this fall.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 25, 2015

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Do you take the entire electric fence down or just one side?

Question
Thanks for your answer about when to take my electric fence down. In your video it looks like you only took down one side of your fence.
Should I do the same or take down all four sides? Once the realize that they will not get shocked will they just jump the fence or still go around to the open side?
Thanks,
Tom

Tom,

I often open one side of the fence or create a fence gap. I make sure the fence remains hot so deer won’t get conditioned to jumping the fence.  

I create a gap in an area that’s favorable to my stand/blind. 

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 25, 2015

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Can Broadside be planted by broadcasting the seed?

Question
I am thinking about planting a broadside food plot next fall and was wondering if you can just plant it with a hand spreader or if you have to drill it? Thanks.

Ben,

I have good success broadcasting Broadside!  For good success the seed needs to make seed to soil contact.  There will be a low survival rate if the seeds land on vegetation, etc., rather than directly on soil.  It’s also best to broadcast the seed just before or during a rain!  This will help by splashing dirt and covering the seed and insuring there’s adequate soil moisture.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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How can I establish and maintain food plots when live five hours from where I hunt?

Question
Our hunting property is about 5 hours from me in KY (now live in St. Louis). What would be the most efficient food plot strategy knowing I can only get there 2-3 times during the off season with limited equipment (atv, tractor, disc harrow, bush hog, and sprayer)?

Malcolm,

Some of my clients hire local farmers, etc., to prepare their plots.  Others hire a food plot contractor.  Paul Hollis (lives in St. Louis) does some food plot contracting work. They do turf management for major athletic fields, golf courses, etc.  Paul enjoys hunting and does some food plot work also. Paul’s number is:  636 326 1009.

Forage soybeans probably require the least amount of work to produce a crop.  You’ll need to lime and fertilize, prepare a seedbed, plant, spray at least one.  This could be performed in three trips if the weather and equipment cooperate!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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When should I remove the electric fence if I plan to hunt the area December 19th?

Question
I have some property on the Meramec river in Bourbon MO.
I have a 1\4 acre of soybeans with an electric fence around it.
If I am going to black powder hunt on Dec. 19th how far in advance should I take the fence down. I don’t want to take it down to early but I don’t know how long it will take for the deer to realize that that they can now eat these soybeans.
Maybe a sign would help!
Thanks,
Tom
PS
Enjoy your show!

Tom,

It typically takes deer a week or less to find a new, desirable food source.  There are some variables including what other food resources are available, how many calories they need based on weather, etc. 

I plan on opening my two Non-Typical fences the Monday after Thanksgiving. My beans produced a lot of pods and even if the deer consume most of them by muzzleloader season they will continue searching the area for food unless a better source becomes available.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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Are Diakon radishes a good good plot crop?

Question
Grant, I’m considering taking a lesson from our local farmers and planting Daikon tillage radishes as a cover crop to improve soil conditions and increase the nitrogen in the soil. Any chance these would also be attractive to deer and provide good hunting over them for the season, similar to the success that I have had with turnips?

Mike,

I’ve planted a blend that includes Daikon radishes for years!  Deer will consume the radishes (once they are conditioned to them) and the Daikon does a great job of obtaining nutrients that are deep in the soil profile and transferring them to the top.   

Research shows that a blend of species is better to build the soil compared to a single species.  In addition, a blend of forage species will attract deer during a longer period of time.  For example deer tend to consume radishes early, forage wheat during the mid winter, and different types of brassica forage (turnips) during the late season.  Deer often consume turnip bulbs during the latest portion of winter.  

When deer will consume which forage species is a factor or weather conditions and what other food sources are available. I use Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend which includes soybeans, radishes, a forage wheat, and two types of brassicas.  This blend has worked very well for me.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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What can I plant in an area that floods frequently?

Question
Grant,

What can i plant in the fall in areas that stay damp and prone to holding water at times for deer? This area is on the edge of a swamp and i am limited on options. Area is in south eastern most part of mississippi. I have researched every avenue short of hauling in dirt. Not even mississippi state had information that i could find.

Jon,

I’m not aware of any quality forage crop that does well in saturated soils.  It may be best to plant annuals like wheat or the Broadside blend in this area during the fall when conditions are normally drier.  During wet years it may be best to skip planting this spot.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 23, 2015

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Which Eagle Seed variety should I plant in Kentucky?

Question
I am planting a good plot in Kentucky I plan on planting soybeans what eagle seed soybeans would you recommend for my area and also I want a attraction early season and late season? I also would like to over seed this plot before season opener which is in September what could I over seed with and can I just broadcast or is there another method I should do ? My last question is what would be best to over seed with ?

Cody,

Sounds like you have a good plan!  The soil types vary widely throughout Kentucky.  If the soils where you wish to establish Eagle Seed soybeans tends to be dry I recommend the Big Fellow variety.  If the soils are dark and tend to hold moisture I recommend the Wildlife Manager’s blend.  Always do a soil test!  Testing the soil and adding the recommended amount of lime and fertilizer is critical to the success of whatever you plant! Malnourished forage doesn’t attract deer or grow well!

I over seed the Eagle Seed soybeans with Broadside and this technique has worked great for me! I simply over seed the beans about 45 to 60 days before the first average frost date during the fall. I wait and broadcast the seed just before or during a rain.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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What do you recommend for one and two acre sized food plots in southeast Alabama?

Question
Dr. Grant

I am located in south east Alabama and was looking using the eagle seed soybeans. On our property we do not have any fields larger than 2 acres with the majority around 1 acre. My father has been hesitant to plant soybeans due to our wild hog population. From your experience and knowledge with plots that are smaller in size would we be able to get a good return on the soybeans with out having to put up an electric fence system? I believe that our best chance of improving our deer heard is providing more food and we just can not afford to supplemental feed during the off season. Would there be any other product that you would possibly recommend for my situation? Love your show and the desire to teach about conservation and management techniques. The best part of your show is the message about our creator. Please continue your good work.

Cody,

Thank you for the encouraging words!  

It’s recently been great growing conditions in southeast Alabama!  Whether forage soybeans would do well in one and two acre sized plots depends on how many deer are in that area and what other quality food resources are available.  If there are a lot of deer and the surrounding area is primarily timber that has a closed canopy than the soybeans would likely suffer from browse damage before they could mature.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t help the herd. As long as the beans get a foot or so tall and continue making new leaves all summer the herd receives much benefit!  

Clover isn’t as palatable to deer throughout most of the growing season and may be an option. However, most varieties of clover aren’t as drought hardy as Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans.  Clover often turns brown and dormant during the summer in southeast Alabama.  

I often plant more pounds (seeds) per acre in areas where there are a lot of deer not enough food plot acres.  This technique allows enough stems that the deer can damage some by overbrowsing but others will survive and mature.  

Even if deer  the soybeans and prevent them from growing five feet tall, as long as they survive and make new leaves all summer it accomplishes the objective of providing high quality forage during the  growing season!  I have some small plots that I plant with Eagle Seed forage soybeans knowing the deer will limit the height of the beans.  However, the soybeans make new leaves all summer and I overseed the plot with the Broadside blend about 60 days before the first frost.  

This technique has worked very well and saves time and money.  It also results in providing quality forage throughout most of the year.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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What percentage of my 250 acres should be in food plots?

Question
Hey Grant, This is Lucas Livingston again from Bristol, VT

Thanks so much for your great feedback on our bedding situation.

I have another question, on 250 acres, about how much of it should you have to food plots? or what is a good number?

Lucas,

There are many variables including the forage quality available on neighboring properties, quality of native habitat, etc.  

A good rule of thumb is that a minimum of 10% of a property is in quality native vegetation (early succession) or food plots.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 18, 2015

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What can I plant during the spring that will attract deer during the fall?

Question
What could I possibly plant in a kill plot in spring for the year ? Most blends are for the fall planting but what could I plant in spring in my mini plots ? And it still be platable in hunting season.

Cody,

There are many variables such as your location, size of the kill plot, etc.

Deer are very attracted to the forage of Eagle Seed’s soybeans during the summer and the pods during deer season.  However, the soybeans may get over browsed depending on the size of the plot and number of deer in the area.

Clover is another option.  Clover tends to be lush and attract deer during the spring. It can be lush during the fall if adequate soil moisture is available and the temperatures aren’t too hot (too far south) or two cold (too far north).  

Clover is a bit of a gamble depending on the location and specific site characteristics.  There are many more options for crops to plant in Hidey Hole plots during the fall.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 17, 2015 

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What food crops should I plant near Clare, Michigan?

Question
We own 120 acres of what was formally pasture land near Clare MI. The seed bank is full of cool season varieties including birds foot trefoil. The ground is primarily low lands with spotty pieces of high ground located throughout. We have had good luck planting brassica’s, chicory, and forage oats for our approximate 3/4 to 1 acre food plots. For cover, we have had good luck planting prairie grass mixes and pure stands of switch grass. We have limited woods (25 to 30 acres) and have done a little hinge cutting to thicken that woods up. Autumn Olive has also contributed to a lower understory in our woods. Our land is located among primarily corn and soybean agriculture. Corn and soybean harvest takes place several weeks before season and continues through the end of gun season (11/30). What is your opinion on planting a large stand of corn (say 3 to 5 acres) with the objective of attracting and holding deer during hunting season as well as providing food for the deer and pheasants over the winter months? Please feel free to call if you need more information.

By the way, I find your videos most helpful.

Best Regards,

Mike

Mike,

It sounds like you own a nice patch of cover in an area of production agriculture!  This can be an ideal situation!  

I like the idea of planting five acres of corn or some corn and soybeans and leaving the crops standing!  I suspect once the crops are harvested from the neighboring properties a majority of the deer whose range includes your farm will seek feed and cover at your property.    

It will be just as important to hunt the farm in a manner that doesn’t alert deer or condition them to using it only after dark.  I’d also create stands/blinds for each wind direction and ways to approach and exit the stands without alarming deer throughout your farm.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 17, 2015

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Would you plant a food plot that visible from a public road?

Question
I have a property I hunt I have the ability to plant one acre of soybeans for a food plot I could plant three more acres but it would be highly visible from road so I’m trying to stick to just one acre . How many deer on average can one acre of soybeans support or what else would be a good food plot ? There is nothing withing miles except woods and thickets as far as agriculture a garden is as close as you can get.

Cody,

I think you are wise to not plant a food plot that’s visible from a public road!  That’s simply inviting trouble!!

Eagle Seed forage soybeans have been tested by multiple universities to produce more forage than any other crop and a good stand will produce seven tons per acres.  Deer can easily consume a ton per year.  Deer will likely consume some native forage, etc., so on acre would support five to seven deer.

I don’t believe the extra forage is worth planting the acreage that’s visible from the road!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015 

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What’s the best food plot crop for Kentucky?

Question
What is the best to plant for a food plot in Kentucky for deer to eat all season?

JMZ,

There are many variables to determine what crop is best for food plots in different situations.  Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans is my favorite crops.  Deer love and thrive on soybean forage during the growing season and the pods during the cold season.  If I was limited to one crop they’d certainly be my pick!  

I often plant Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans during the spring and overseed them with the Broadside blend about 45-60 days before the average first frost date during the fall.  This has proven to a very successful rotation!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015

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Does mowing cereal grains make them more palatable?

Question
Here in central Alabama we have had abundant rains since October 1 and our cereal grain food plots are flourishing. In many of them the plants have grown nearly a foot tall and the leaves are as much as 1/2″ wide. Does bushhogging these plots make sense to increase attractiveness?
Incidentally, not this farm but another that we hunt borders the property of Mark Pugh, a great neighbor.

Norman, 

I’ve never tried mowing cereal grains during this stage of development.  As long as the tips are narrow and pointed the forage should be palatable.  If the plants are maturing past the blade stage and starting to form a round stem the palatability will decrease.   

If the plants are forming a stem, you might trying mowing a sample plot and checking a week later to see how the plants respond. If you do this test please share the results with me!

Mark is a great guy and talented deer manager!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015

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What type of food plot would you recommend for this small property in southwest Michigan?

Question
Dr. Woods,

My Dad has just recently moved onto 30 acres in South West Michigan of low, wet land with a river running through the property which makes it impossible to get quads and other equipment back onto the property. I have always been interested in building a food plot because of your amazing videos, but I have a small budget and very limited knowledge on the topic. What would you recommend for size, type, location to the river, and any other recommendations you may have? My family and I have seen many doe, a few fawns and also my brother has seen 3 shooter bucks! I have attached a picture with the property outlined, while still showing the surrounding land! Praying you you and your family! Keep making amazing videos!

God Bless,
Ben Rand

Ben,

It appears your property is in a great travel corridor!  I believe a few small plots could be very useful to attract deer to your property as they travel the river corridor.  

We often make small plots using hand tools.  These plots are simply to attract deer as they can receive excellent nutrition in the local production ag fields.  Once those crops are harvested your plots should become a great attraction! 

I use backpack leaf blowers, rakes, etc., to remove the duff and expose the soil.  Because there probably won’t be much forage available during the hunting season forage wheat, brassica, etc., work well to attract deer. Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend would work well and provide a forage that palatable during the early, mid, and late season.  Be sure to add plenty of fertilizer as healthy plants taste much better (attract deer better) than malnourished crops!

The biggest limiting factor may be sun!  Forage crops require at least 4+ hours of direct sun to be productive.  You may find areas where a large tree has died, etc.  Anywhere the sun is reaching the forest floor will work.  If there’s nothing growing there it’s probably because the areas holds too much water or doesn’t receive enough sun.  You may remove enough trees to create a small plot!  Look for slightly higher elevations that are weedy and it’s probably a great food plot location!

If you are removing trees then pick a location that allows the hunter to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  If feasible create multiple locations so no matter what the wind direction is you can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer!  

Finally – I suspect the thermals drift down the river during the morning and evening.  Spend some time checking out these thermals before creating plots. Locations where your scent will go down the river could be fabulous hunting locations!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015

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Can you recommend a no-till drill?

Question
Hi Dr. Woods, just if you can answer us this question, so if you can help us decide. I’m looking to do food plots on my property, I have a 170 acre property. I own a New holland T4105 tractor and a couple of small tractors.
I have a Woods 10 foot disc harrow that we’ve been using to disc the fields and works great. I’m looking for a seeder now……. can you recommend one? I looked at WOODS PSS84 hunting edition or the Firminator G3. We are planning to plant a variety of seeds from clover to soy beens. Or can you recommend one? a non-till drill that you use??

Thank You,
John Nuzzi

P.s. Very big fan of yours…..God Bless America

John,

Sounds like you have some nice equipment!  I don’t own a disk and haven’t used a disk in any food plot at my place since we created the first food plot.  

Disking always results in some (a lot or a little) soil erosion and compaction.  Using a no-till drill will conserve soil moisture, promote creation of high quality new soil by allowing the existing vegetation to decompose, reduce nutrients leaching through the soil profile, etc.  

I simply spray with glyphosate about two weeks before the soil is warm enough to plant during the spring. I then no till Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans directly into the duff.  The duff serves as a great mulch that conserves soil moisture and reduces weed competition!  As it rots it releases nutrients slowly throughout the growing season. 

About 45 to 60 days before the average first frost date during the fall I broadcast Eagle’s Broadside blend into the stand beans. The beans created a surplus of nitrogen and Broadside will utilize this and other elements released from the decaying mulch.  

This rotation provides very high quality and attractive forage throughout the growing season and soybean pods throughout the winter.  I simply repeat the next year!  


You can learn more about this rotation by watching episodes at http://www.GrowingDeer.com.  You can learn about the new no-till drill I tested and helped design by call Paul Hollis at Redexim (
314-378-1889).  Check our Redexim.com.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015

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What forage should I use in areas with low quality soil?

Question
I hunt an area with very low soil quality, and I was wanting to know what I should plant. I dont have any heavy machinery , so I am going to use hand tools. Also, what herbicide would be good to successfully kill weeds and unwanted shrubs in a cutover ? Thank you for your time, and I hope your father gets well soon.

Joseph,

The soils here at The Proving Grounds are very poor!  I’ve had much success at improving the soils using a rotation of Eagle Seed forage soybeans and Broadside.  

Soybeans are legumes (take nitrogen from the air and place it in the soil).  Eagle’s forage soybeans take much longer to mature than most so they are actually converting nitrogen from the air and releasing it in the soil for more weeks/months throughout the year!  I broadcast the Broadside blend on top the standing soybeans about 45 to 60 days before a frost.

Broadside includes a radish, forage wheat, two types of brassicas, etc.  These species do a great job of extracting nutrients from the soil and bring them back to the surface.  Deer either consume these nutrients or the plants die and the nutrients are placed in the top portion of the soil’s profile and available for the next crop to use!  This system of something growing throughout the entire growing season and the  forage decomposing on the soil’s surface is how the fertile soils of the great prairie were built!  

I’ve used this rotation for years haven’t needed to add any fertilizer or lime for years.  

Eagle’s soybeans are Roundup Ready so it’s easy to control the weeds.  Just like the great prairie you can use a prescribed fire to remove the plant duff during the spring and prepare the seedbed for replanting. It will be necessary to use some technique to insure the soil is exposed enough to allow for good seed to soil contact.  

Many NRCS offices (one in almost every county) rent no till drills and some rent tractors!  These are amazing inexpensive – usually $10 per acre or less!

You can easily search the http://www.GrowingDeer.com site for more information about this technique!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015 

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What was the no-till drill you were trying out?

Question
I seen on one of your episodes you were trying out a new no till drill. I was wondering what kind it was and how much they cost? Thanks for your time.

Todd,

I used and was impressed with a newly designed no-till drill by http://redexim.com/.  They are world leaders in turf grass establishment and management. They decided to build a no till drill specifically for the food plot market and we’ve been testing it and suggesting slight tweaks for months.

I’m told the no-till drill will be available during early spring 2016.  You may learn more by calling Paul Hollis (314-378-1889) at Redexim.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 13, 2015

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What do you recommend for food plots in east Texas?

Question
I hunt in east texas and would to srat using a food plot. What do recommend?

John,

There are several variables including the size of the plots relative to the number of deer and other food sources in the area?  

I’ve worked a lot near Tyler, Texas and had great results with Eagle Seed forage soybeans during the summer and over seeding them with Broadside during the fall.  

Clover rarely does well in sandy soil in areas with long summers.  Those conditions are often too dry for clover to thrive.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 13, 2015

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Should I broadcast Broadside in to my “feeding” plots during the fall?

Question
Hi Dr. Woods,

I very much appreciate all the work you and your team put into providing some great shows that are both educational and entertaining!

I have several 3-acre plots here in Louisiana that I am converting into “feeding” plots while creating 1/4 acre “Hidey Hole” and “Staging Area” plots near the larger plots. I plan to have 90% of the feeding plot planted in soybeans with the remaining 10% in a clover/grain mix.

My question is if I plant the Hidey Hole plot with the Broadside mix in the fall, should I broadcast anything into the standing soybean field or just let it remain solely soybeans? My desire is to have the feeding plot providing ample nutrition to the deer with the Hidey Hole plots providing some harvest opportunities.

Thanks for your time,

Francis

Francis,

I really enjoy improving soil quality and providing year round nutrition for critters.  For these reasons I always broadcast or drill Broadside into plots with standing soybeans!  

If plants aren’t growing throughout the entire growing season (most of the year if you use a cool season blend like Broadside in Louisiana) than soil nutrients will leach deep into the soil profile. These nutrients will be too deep for new seedlings to reach the next spring. So – using a cover crop saves soil nutrients and therefore reduces the need for fertilizer!  

In addition deer will eat the Broadside during warmer days and the soybean grain during cooler days – making the plot more attractive to deer more days during the hunting season. In addition, Broadside will produce much biomass which will decompose the following spring (after being sprayed).  This builds soils, holds soil moisture, and reduces wind and water caused erosion. I could go on – but the  bottom line is using Broadside as a cover crop is good for deer, good for deer hunting, and great soil management!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 11, 2015 

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What kind of food plot should I plant?

Question
What kind of food should I plant and how do I keep it all year for deer to have enough?..

Jack,

Whew – There are way too many unknowns about your question for me (or anyone) to give an accurate answer.

You might consider:

1.  Location – latitude, average precipitation amounts, type of soil.

2.  Goals – attract deer during the fall or provide enough quality food year round to improve the local herd’s health.

3.  Other food sources in the area (are the commercial crop fields near by or is all the surrounding properties timbered)?

4.  What equipment do you have access to to establish and maintain the plot?

5. What’s your budget?

I suggest you scan through several of the questions in the Food Plot category of Ask Grant. I suspect you’ll find much useful information there from other hunters!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 11, 2015

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Is it OK to plant brassicas more than two years in the same plot?

Question
I’ve watched a large percentage of your YouTube videos related to food plots and predator control. I’ve read that you shouldn’t plant brassicas more than two years in a row because of a disease. Is this the case or is there a seed type that doesn’t contain that disease? I know you use Eagle Seed and we are considering the Broadside following soybeans, similar to what you do.

Just some background, our property is in the UP of Michigan and our deer herd took a real hit over the last few winters.

Thanks for the help!
Chris

Chris,

I’ve planted the soybean followed by a mix of brassicas and wheat (Broadside) rotation in plots for years with no issues!  Start by doing a soil test and adding the recommended amount of lime and fertilizer.  The rotation of a legume (soybeans) and Broadside won’t result in any issues.  Crop rotation and keeping something growing during as many months as the climate permits is great for wildlife and the soil!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 9, 2015

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What tasks should I do during the winter to prepare to establish plots next spring?

Question
1st of all, I appreciate your posts when you share your faith. Thank you for that.

I just gained access to about 500 acres that is almost all wooded. This property was select cut about 3 years ago. As a result, the woods are almost impenetrable. There are several logging trails and staging areas that, I think, could be planted in something.

I don’t own any heavy equipment including an ATV. I’m going to take some soil samples this weekend while out muzzle loader hunting to gain a sense of what’s going on with the soil. Is there anything else I could or should do during the colder months?

This is my first real opportunity to hunt in close to 15 years. I’ve not been able to adequately scout the property and don’t expect much this year. I’m just pleased to be out in God’s country again.

Jon,

Congrats on acquiring a property to hunt close to your home!

Taking soil samples is a very important first step!  You might clear any woody stems from areas where you wish to establish plots.  Late winter is also a good time to consider stand placement, trim shooting lanes, entry and exit paths, etc.  You’ll probably need a herbicide sprayer (backpack models, etc.), and other hand tools to be ready to roll next spring!

Enjoy the process of learning and managing this land!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 9, 2015

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Which fruit trees provide the best nutrition for deer?

Question
Grant i seen that you feel like growing soybeans helps your buck grow bigger antlers ,we have 150 acres but very little that is flat enough for food plots but we do have some spaces that we could plant several acres of fruit trees was wondering witch trees would be healthy for deer? what makes antlers grow? and wich trees have whats best for deer health? thanks Amos

Amos,

Fruit trees can do a great job of attracting deer!  Fruit is mainly sugar (energy) and fiber.  Both energy and fiber can benefit deer and are part of a healthy diet.  However protein is essential for antler development.  

My property is very steep. I use a no-till drill to plant and never disk the soil. This greatly reduces the chances of erosion and establishing soybeans this way is much easier than maintaining fruit trees.  I like and have a combination of both – soybeans and tree plots with fruit trees.  I prefer fruit trees that are known to do well in the area. For example apple trees don’t produce well where I live due to the apple/cedar rust (there are lots of cedar trees in the area). 

I suggest you plant fruit trees that are adapted for the local climate.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 3, 2015

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How can I create a food plot in a 10 year old clearcut using hand tools?

Question
Hey Grant,

Thank you so much for your work! I learn a lot from watching your show.

I purchased a 40 acre property in Wisconsin that was completely clear cut about 10 years ago. It was reseeded and now there are 1000+ sapling per acre (mostly apen, poplar and some maple/oak) – 8-15ft high and 1-3″ thick. Hunting/patterning is difficult since the terrain is pretty flat and each acre seems to look like the next.

I am hoping to open up some trails and food plots in a connected system that will promote more consistent movement. What is the best method for clearing the saplings and dealing with the stumps/root systems if I don’t have a huge budget for heavy equipment. I am hoping to do as much as possible with hand tools or small engine machines (chainsaws, rototillers, etc.) That said, do I have any hope of producing food on my land?

Thank you,

Paul

Paul,

Such habitat can be very difficult to hunt!  

Yes, you can create food plots in such habitat by using hand tools and (lots of) manual labor.  We’ve done the same here.  We simply cut the stump sprouts/saplings as close to the ground as possible without dulling our chainsaws. We then treat the stumps with the appropriate herbicide for that species. The herbicide needs to be applied within five minutes or less after the sprout has been cut.  Otherwise the herbicide may not penetrate the sap.  

We pile the sprouts in the center of the clearing and allow them to dry for months.  We then burn the sprouts.  We do a soil test and add lime and fertilizer as needed and then broadcast seed. It important for the seed to have contact with soil to germinate.  Depending on the time of year the seed is to be sown, you may need to spray the area with glyphosate to kill weeds, etc,. You may also need to rack or use prescribed fire to remove the duff to insure good seed to soil contact.  

Broadcast the seed over the sprout stumps.  They will rot out in time, but won’t hinder the plot establishment at this time.

This is a simply, but labor intensive method to create plots in such habitat with hand tools.  Deer simply want the best food within their range that they don’t associate with danger. By creating hidey hole sized plots in such thick cover, I suspect deer will readily use the  plots you create!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Can I pull a no-till drill with an ATV?

Question
Dr. Grant
You say that tilling your food plots take nutrients that is key to growing big, strong, and healthy deer, out of the soil. You say you use a no till drill. How exactly does this work? And We’re can I get one, and a big part is the cost. I want to make it worth my money because I have reasonably large piece of property to hunt and due to the CRP and key bedding area, we plant in a relatively small area to stay out of the CRP and out of the way of the cows that the farmer lets roam around a good percentage of the property. The place were we do most. Our hunting is a spot where cows can’t get. Anyhow we have been planting In tree’d in valley, where they are sheltered, covered an now have a good amount of food. I , looking for a good way to do this but keep the cost down. Would it be easier is a small area to plant by hand or what. And also can I pull the no till drill behind my 4-wheeler

David,

Using good soil conservation practices will certainly help improve soil quality!  Quality soil produces quality forage and healthier deer.

I’m not aware of a quality no till drill that can be pulled by most ATV’s.  There are some models designed for small tractors (30-50 horsepower).  Many NRCS offices throughout the whitetail’s range rent no-till drills. I’ve rented them in several states.  

I also create small plots by hand. I use glyphosate herbicide to kill existing weeds, use a hand rake, back pack blower, etc., to remove enough of the duff to allow good seed to soil contract, add plenty of lime and fertilizer, and plant the seeds just before or during a rain.  It’s very important to plant just before or during a rain.  The moisture is necessary for the seeds to germinate rapidly and raindrops will splash a bit of dirt on the seeds.  

If you don’t spread the seeds just before or during a rain birds and rodents can remove most of the seed within a few days.  

There are many video examples of this technique at this site!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 30, 2015
 

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What food plot crop should I plant in an area where lots of soybeans and corn are grown?

Question
First of all I would like to say thank you to Dr. Woods for the focus that expresses in every video about his faith. I wish more people could show the same thankfulness on how we are blessed.

Dr. Woods- I own about 40 acres of woods in Switzerland County Indiana and need some help choosing a food plot type. The area has a large amount of crops that rotate every year between soy beans and corn. The deer in the area seem to be very healthy every year. My direct neighbor farms 10 acres in soy beans or corn and that has me questioning what to plant. I know that your go to crop is soy beans. But would this also apply in this instance?

The large highlighted area on my attachment is the neighbors farm crop and the 2 smaller highlights is the area I want to develop.

Currently there are not any other food plots on my land. I would like to strategically plant other small plots to hunt over in the future.

Thanks for you time!

Doug Sturgeon

Douglas,

You are wise to realize that food plots rarely compete with commercial soybean and corn crops during the growing season!  It often recommend Eagle Seed forage soybeans in such situations.  Soybeans are relatively drought resistant, easy to maintain, etc.  Eagle Seed forage soybeans are maturity groups 7 and 8.  This means they will stay green and growing much longer during the fall than production varieties of beans that are usually maturity group 4 or 5. So – when the crop beans are turning yellow the Eagle Seed forage soybeans will still be green and likely the best forage in the neighborhood.  

Eagle Seed forage soybeans often produce 30 – 50 bushels of beans per acre.  This is 1,800 to 3,000 pounds of high quality feed per acre!  In addition, I over seed the soybeans with Broadside (a mix of radishes, forage wheat, and brassicas) 45 to 60 days before the average first frost date during the fall.  This results in tons of quality cool season forage in the same field where pods are available. Deer tend to eat the pods during days colder than normal and the greens during days that are warmer than normal.

This program has worked very well for me.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 30, 2015
 

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Would a clover or Eagle Seed forage soybeans be a better choice to plant in a plot on my 25 acres?

Question
I have right at 25 acres do you think a clover food plot or eagles seed beans would benefit better? its all hard woods with no food around.

 

William,

If there are a lot of deer in the area and the plot size is relatively small than clover may be a better choice.  However, if the plot size will allow you to plant enough soybeans that the local deer herd doesn’t destroy then rapidly soybeans will provide better quality forage, be easier to maintain, and provide food during more months throughout the year!  Deer will consume the soybean forage all summer and the pods during the winter!

 

October 28, 2015

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What forage crops do you use and what percentage of each?

Question
You mentioned you like to have clover be about 5% of your deer plot food. What would the rest of your breakdown be that you like to see? I have about 15 acres in various tillable land areas.
Thanks.

 

Bill,

There are many variables including quality and quantity of natural and cultivated forages available besides food plot crops in the area.

When food plots are the primary forage and there’s enough acres of plots that deer don’t totally consume all forage rapidly I prefer about 10% of the food plot acreage in clover and 90% in forage soybeans.  I overseed the beans about 45-60 days before the average first frost date with Broadside (a mix of radishes, a forage wheat, and brassicas).  This plan works very well to provide quality forage, attract deer, and improve the soil.

 

October 28, 2015

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When do you use herbicide to control weeds in soybean food plots?

Question
I know that on your soy bean fields you say you don’t use herbicide prior to planting and you let the old stalks decompose and naturally fertilize. How do you get the weeds out well enough to be able to do this? Do you occasionally use a herbicide?

 

Clay,

I do use herbicide about a week before I plant soybeans.  Soybeans are not competitive and won’t perform well if there is weed competition.  I often plant 80+ pounds per acre of Eagle Seed forage soybeans because most of my plots are small (less than two acres) and I like a lot of stems per acre to get ahead of browse damage when the soybeans are small.

Another advantage of planting more pounds per acre is that the soybeans form a crown (block sun from reaching soil) faster and this limits weed growth. Using this technique I usually only have to spray one more time – or two times all year.  This saves money and compensates for planting more pounds per acre.

 

October 28, 2015

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Are there too many deer where I hunt?

Question
Grant
Thank you for all the information you pass on to all of us who follow you. I have followed your advice on how to plant food plots and provide nutrition for our deer herd year around this year we planted about 18 acres of eagle seed soybean in 6 plots the results were unbelievable to say the least however the deer seem to have consumed the pods early even though we seeded back into the beans with wheat oats and brassica and these have come up nicely as well have you ever encountered this and is this a sign of too many deer.
Thank you
And God bless

Leon,

It’s tough to maintain a balance between the number of deer and amount of quality food.  If the 18 acres is on 100 acres then I’d assume there are a lot of deer in the area. If the 18 acres are on 500 acres (3.6%) then it simply may mean the local deer herd has consumed the primary food source (the ice cream plants).  

A better measure would be to compare the body weights of deer and see if they are increasing or decreasing over time and how they compare to deer in areas with similar climate and soil.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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When do you plant soybeans and Broadside?

Question
Thanks Dr. Woods. I really liked you episode and method of planting broadside over the soybeans so that when the soybeans die down, there is still food in the plot. What time of year do you typically broadcast your seed over the soybeans and when do you typically plant your soybeans. I’m going to give this a try this year. I’m in the mountains of extreme North East Georgia if you have any suggestions on when I should plant in the spring.

Thanks again for your reply,

Darren

Darren,

Soybeans should be planted when the soil temperature is 60 degrees and there is adequate soil moisture.  The calendar date when these conditions occur will vary annually.  The University of Georgia maintains a website that shows current soil temperature at:  http://weather.uga.edu/index.php?content=tr&variable=SL

Broadside should be planted 45-60 days before the first forecast frost.  That’s about October 10th where I live.  Make sure there is plenty of soil moisture available!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 10, 2015

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How close to a creek can a food plot be established?

Question
Hello Grant,

First off I want to say that your shows are more than enjoyable to watch! I would just like to ask a question about foot plots. How far from a creek would you suggest to place it? And also, how far from another corn/bean field (alters every year) would you suggest to place an early season food plot?

Thanks for your time!

Issac,

My only concern about locating food plots by creeks is flooding/erosion.  So – out of the floodplain is my only guideline.  I like food sources to be 200+ yards apart so I can locate and access stands/blinds off the plot and not alert deer when approaching, hunting, and leaving the stands.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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What’s your thoughts on milo versus corn for food plots?

Question
Grant,

My land is 170 acres in very southern Louisiana. Milo seems to grow well for us, so I’m wondering what are the advantages vs. disadvantages of milo for deer? 40 acres of the land is plantable and is the only plantable land around other than sugarcane. The rest is swampland and hardwoods. We try to plant large areas of soybean and milo then smaller areas of clover, buckwheat, peas, corn. With the price of milo alot cheaper than corn I was just wondering your thoughts on milo.

Thanks,
Jonathan

Jonathan,

It’s often easier to control weeds in Roundup Ready corn compared to milo. Multiple herbicides are usually required to control weeds in milo.  Another consideration is that milo grain is exposed and corn is protected.  Hence, corn typically last much longer in the field than milo.  Birds can remove a huge percentage of milo crops rapidly.  This is one primary reason farmers then to harvest milo rapidly after it’s ripe.  Again corn is protected.  

Corn often produces many more bushels per acre compared to milo.  I prefer corn over milo for these and more reasons.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

 

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Should we harvest more does from our 750 acres in southeast Iowa?

Question
Grant,
We have a situation that we would like to have your advice on.
We manage 750 acres is southeast Iowa. Every year we have some controversy over how many does that we need to harvest.

Our property has 40 acres of grain and 30 acres of alfalfa that we rent to a local farmer and we plant 30 acres of food plots, and we have 78 acres of switchgrass and 270 acres of CRP, the rest of the property is timbered with oak and hickory trees.

The dilemma that we have is during the spring, summer, and fall months we have no problem sustaining the local deer herd, but during the winter our 25 acres of beans and 6 acres of wheat and brassicas get completely wiped out.
In 2012 we harvested 47 does trying to fix this problem and we still did not have any food left in the spring so in 2013 we tried harvesting about the same amount and only managed to harvest 19 does. Then in 2014 we did not do a doe hunt because of various reasons, but we did harvest 5 does during the archery season. All this did not make a difference in the amount of food left in the spring. (We have not have had any food left in any spring) I have attached the harvest data that we collected from the deer that we harvest during this time period.

We have been doing trail camera surveys every year. I have attached the survey results.

The question is, is it worth our time to travel to Iowa every year to harvest 15 does, are we gaining anything at all?

The only time that the DNR allows non-resident hunter to harvest does is in the December shotgun season. Will a doe hunt during this time help at all in making our food last thru the winter? Given the situation how many does would you try to harvest? We want to give our bucks every chance to express their genetic potential.

Winston,

I’m very impressed with the data collection and analyses!!  

If the surveys were performed correctly and approximately during the same time each year I’m most concerned with the decreased fawn recruitment.  Traditional camera surveys during August will underestimate fawn recruitment. However, it should be an index and representative each year.  The data indicates more does and a substantially lower fawn recruitment rate.  

Bucks have the best opportunity to express their antler growth potential if they have quality forage year round.  Based on your description I doubt you’ll remove enough does to allow 31 acres of plots to provide enough food.  This is compounded by the fact that your property is in an area where there’s not much native vegetation and agricultural crops are the primary food source year round.  Deer in such areas tend to have very large home ranges and will travel to quality food sources after production crops are harvested.  I suspect some of the deer on your property during the winter are on different properties during the remainder of the year. This is great for shed hunting, but reduces the amount of forage available for resident deer during a critical time of year.

There’s obviously more deer than food at your farm during the late winter.  Harvesting does is a good plan. However, it may not have the impact it would have in areas where deer tend to have smaller home range sizes.  

I strongly encourage you to have more quality forage available during the late winter if the goal is to maximize buck’s antler growth potential.  Often the least expensive method to accomplish this in areas with commercial soybeans and corn is to pay the farmer to leave a few acres unharvested.  Farmers often purchased seed, fuel, etc., in such large quantities that they can produce food for less than food plot farmers.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 16, 2015 

 

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How’s the Whitetail Thicket forage crop doing?

Question
Dr. Wood,
Enjoy your video’s thanks for taken time to produce them . One of your earlier video’s you planted eagle’s seed whitetail thicket do you have any updates that you will be posting? Thanks

Martin,

I was/am very impressed with the Whitetail Thicket variety from Eagle Seed!  It provided quality forage all summer even in plots that are less than an acre.  I overseeded those plots with the Broadside blend and the combination of soybean forage, pods, and brassicas and wheat looks great!  

I’ll be trying Eagle’s Wildlife Manager’s mix next year. This includes about 20% Whitetail Thicket along with their other forage varieties.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What’s the best warm season forage crop to plant for deer in southern Alabama?

Question
I hunt in southeast Alabama, just your average hunter on a budget. What is the best thing I can plant for spring and summer that are low maintenance and not overly expensive? Was thinking peas or soybeans. We hunt 600 acres and have 8 established food plots. What are your thoughts?

Daniel,

I manage some properties in southern Alabama and we’ve had great success with forage soybeans from http://www.EagleSeed.com.  I often plant the Big Fellow variety.  This variety is very drought resistant and it seems there’s frequently periods of drought during the summer in south Alabama.  Eagle Seed forage soybeans are Roundup Ready which makes weed control easy.  

Soybeans are very high quality forage and also produce pods that are high in protein and energy.  Unless the plots are small/there are a lot of deer in the area forage soybeans are my favorite warm season food plot crop.  This is because they provide great forage during the summer and grain during the winter.  I often simply broadcast a winter mix over the beans during the late summer so there’s a crop growing during the winter.  This plan provides tons of quality forage and helps build better soil! This is the same rotation I use at my property.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 13, 2015

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Are there steps to reduce the impact of drought conditions?

Question
Grant,
First and foremost, thank you for your site and weekly show! It has become a weekly tradition in our home for my 9 year old son and I to watch together.

I have been following your advice on food plots for the past 18 months and had great success over them last season. This year we have our plot areas ready to plant. However, we are going on nearly 100 days without rain. Is there anything you would recommend doing in drought conditions?

Our season opener here in TX is still four weeks away. With no rain in the extended forecast, our seeds are still in the packaging.

Appreciate your insights and the good work your team does!

Lonnie

Lonnie,

I’m honored you trust GrowingDeer enough to share it with your son!  

The crop rotation and no-till practices I use are the best techniques I know to reduce the impacts of a drought.  

When there’s no rain in the forecast and limited soil moisture available I wait to plant. Seeds are living organisms and require moisture to germinate and grow.  The longer seeds or seedlings are without sufficient moisture the higher the stress levels and the less productive they will be throughout the life of the plant.

Sometimes drought conditions are so severe that plants simply won’t grow. During those conditions I rely on the established native vegetation and making sure the number of deer is less than the habitat can maintain in quality condition during stressful situations.

I hope it rains where you hunt soon!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 9th, 2015

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How old is this Maryland buck?

Question
Although Pin Oaks are a red oak species which are less favored by deer, the often put off massive amounts of acorns per year, would you recommend them for a tree plot tree ? Also what would be your best guess on this bucks age? I got him on camera 2 years ago so i know he at least has to be 4. Thanks for the great webisodes and tips.

Respectfully
Grant Smith

Western Maryland

Grant,

I tend to like prefer soft mass (fruits and berries).  There are usually plenty of acorns but fruits and berries are limited.  I like a variety of species so something will be ripe at different times throughout the season.  The more limited the preferred resource the easier it is pattern deer. I have some different fruit and acorn trees in my tree plot.  I got them from http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com.  

That’s a neat looking buck!  He’s neck merges with his chest at his brisket.  His chest sags below where his leg meets his shoulder and his shoulder and ham is well developed.  I estimate this buck is four years old and likely older.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 9, 2015 

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Can you provide me tips on managing red pine?

Question
Hello Grant

I had sent you a question about a month ago and thanks for the information. I however, did not proof read my question. What I meant to say was, I bought 100 acres of Red Pine, that are about 18 years old. Where can I go to get more information about land improvement on this type of land. Now there are some areas of hardwoods here and there, and small openings to put in food plots. But in general want more information about when to cut, how/what to cut to improve the deer hunting.

Now, another question. I would love to no till drill in forage soybeans, but don’t have access to one. I do have access to a small tractor, rear tine tiller. What is the process for using these tools to obtain the best germination.

Thanks again,

Dennis

Dennis,

It will take more space than this format to adequately describe how to manage red pine plantations.  There are many options and which one you use should be determined by your goals.  Potential goals include maximizing timber value, wildlife habitat quality, etc.  

There’s a good guide about red pine management prepared by Forest Service at:  http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/fmg/nfmg/rp/docs/rp_all.pdf

Many farmers and food plotters till soil before planting soybeans.  Simply till the soil and then use a traditional planter or broadcast the seed on the freshly prepared seedbed. If you broadcast the seed it’s best to do so just before or during a rain.  Rain will insure there’s adequate soil moisture for rapid seed germination and help cover the seed.  Soybeans do best if covered with 1/2″ of soil.  If the seed are covered to deep soybeans can die in the soil before the reach the surface and make leaves. If they aren’t buried rodents and birds can rapidly consume most of the seed!  

Just an FYI – most county NRCS offices (almost every county has one) rents no-till drills at a extremely reasonable rate.  I’ve rented several throughout the whitetail’s range!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Do you use soil surveys to determine food plot locations?

Question
Did you look at any soil surveys to determine food plot location? A surprise to me, my 80a of MO Ozarks has a lot of soil diversity. I have 3 ridges, and only one has what you’d call soil. The others are much more rocky, but do contain dirt, and have some ideal funnels for food plots. Is it possible to grow in such conditions?

Matt,

I rarely locate plots based on soil types.  This is especially true for plots designed to hunt versus simply provide nutrition.  Hunting plots work best if located in areas where deer wish to use and the hunter can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  

Many of the plots at The Proving Grounds were literally established in areas with only gravel showing.  By using good conservation practices including a crop rotation of soybeans (legumes) during the summer and brassicas and wheat during the winter and never tilling the soil many of these plots now have two to six inches of great soil on top!  

I encourage you to use the same crop rotation and planting techniques.  You will be amazed at the results!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 9, 2015

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Are dried soybean leaves toxic to deer?

Question
Hi Grant,
I grew up in farm country. I’ve hunted since I was 12 (I’m now 33). I have a question about deer feeding on soy beans. Over the years I’ve observed deer obviously hitting the beans hard when the leaves are on and nice and green. Once they start to turn yellow, they lay off of them for the most part. Then, after all the leaves are off and the beans are drying in the fields before the farmers pick them, it seems the deer start back on them. I know that for horses when leaves fall to the ground and die they produce toxins that can be dangerous to horses. Is this the same for the leaves on the bean plants in relation to the deer laying off them until all the leaves have fallen? I was just curious! 🙂

Thanks,
Megan

Megan,

Your observations are correct!  Deer do tend to prefer soybean leaves when they are green and growing.  They also readily consume the ripe soybean pods.  

Deer rarely (unless they are fairly hungry) consume dried soybean leaves.  However dried soybean leaves are not toxic to deer.

Deer are ruminants or have a four-chambered stomach.  Horses have a single-chambered stomach.  They are much more sensitive to some plants and toxins than deer.  

Good question!  

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Do I need to put feed out for deer if I have 150 acres of soybeans and corn?

Question
Hello Grant
I’m a big fan of yours. I have learned so much from your videos. I do have a question. What is your opinion on feeding deer out of feeders? I have 1,000 acres in Alabama, and every year I put about 5 acres in food plots, 150 acres in soybeans and corn. I also put feeders out in the winter and fill them with corn. I have never seen any of your shows addressing feeding deer with feeders. Is this a good thing, or do I even need to do it? Thanks again for the great videos and God Bless You William Tower

William,

It sounds like you have a great hunting area.  Corn and soybeans do a great job of supplying energy (corn) and protein (soybeans) to deer and other wildlife.  I doubt there’s any need to place feed out when these crops are available.  If these crops are all harvested do deer consume all the forage in the food plots?  If, so is it possible to pay the farmer to leave a few acres of the corn and soybeans standing.  It’s often less expensive to purchase standing grain than to purchase bagged feed and maintain feeders.  

The great deer herds in the Midwest are driven by corn and soybean crops.  There’s very little feeding in most of these areas and they still produce record book bucks year after year. I recommend using the funds you spend on purchasing feed and maintaining feeders to leave some of these crops standing.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do I have to plow before planting soybeans?

Question
Hello Grant,
I have been watching a lot of your videos lately on youtube, and I have a plan on making a hidey hole food plot on our land. I really want to try to plant some soybeans, and my dad thinks we will have to disc or plow the area for them to grow. In a few of your videos I thought you were broadcasting soybeans in the rain without churning the dirt up. How should we plant our soybeans?

Ethan,

Thank you for watching GrowingDeer!  

Soybean seed germinates best when it has good contact with the soil.  I never plow or disk to achieve this. I use a no-till drill in larger plots and use a leaf blower and hand rake in hidey plots to expose the soil.  When using this technique I always wait till just before or during a rain to broadcast soybean seeds.  Rain causes the seeds to germinate faster and helps cover the seed by splashing dirt over the seed.  This works best in lighter soil. It doesn’t work as good in hard, clay soil.  

If the seed is broadcast and it doesn’t rain birds and rodents often consume a substantial portion of the seed.  

This technique works even better with smaller-sized seed such as brassicas or clovers.  I hope you give this a try!

Enjoy creation!

grant

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Would having more cover in food plots result in deer using them more during the day?

Question
Dr. Woods,

I am graduate from Eastern Kentucky University and an active hunter, I didnt begin hunting until after I returned home from active duty in 2009. After receiving my degree in wildlife management I have been practicing different approaches for my families food plots. One approach I have not put into practice yet and was wondering what your opinion would be, is creating horizontal cover in the form of a food source. Instead of having that abrupt edge created from the food plot being put in a wooded area like we have in Kentucky, would it be beneficial to apply a horizontal cover aspect? Such as a few rows of corn at the edge created by the food plot, then just inside that wheat or soy beans that will grow chest high, and then clover or brassicas in the center of the food plot?

In my mind, I think it would create a transition zone that would relax the more mature deer and instead of standing on the edge and looking into the opening created, it would be more inviting for them and then they may be a little less cautious.

Thank you for your time in answering this and I look forward to your thoughts and learning something new as I do when watching growingdeer.tv

Robbie,

Congratulations on finishing your degree in wildlife management!

Deer tend to use food sources that they don’t associate with danger during daylight.  Cover, such as corn may help a bit. However if deer associate the location with danger they will still avoid it.  This is true with tall native warm season grasses, corn, etc.

One consideration with having a tall forage crop is that it may block a clean shot to the kill zone.

Enjoy creation,

grant.  

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Is September 30th too late to plant in Maine?

Question
9-30-15 today it was poring rain in central Maine and 60 degree’s I broadcast green patch plus in to my sunflowers and pea patch it was a one acre bag of seed and I used it all on about 30 yards by 30 yards, we have had two light frost do you think it could still germinate at all or is it turkey food????? my peas and sunflowers are thick and 3-4 feet tall!!! your thoughts??? could you face book me with your answer please I don’t check my emails….thank you sir

Bradley,

Congratulations on having a successful sunflower and pea plot!  I bet the deer (and bears) are attracted to the sunflower seeds!

I suspect the seed you just planted will germinate. Unless it’s a very mild fall I doubt they produce as much forage as normal.  The daylength is getting short and temperatures are likely fairly cool for rapid forage growth in your area.

Sorry – I’m not a master at Facebook.  I hope this reaches you!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Will a frost hurt my food plot in northwest Wisconsin?

Question
Dr. Woods

I planted my fall crops on August 15th – a blend of brassicas, turnips, sugar beets, kale, rye and barley. We’ve had above average rains and favorable growing conditions since the crops were planted and the crops are coming in pretty well. We have frost warnings tonight in the region of our hunting property. What will a frost do to our fall crops?

I enjoy your videos and any podcast that you make guest appearances on.

Thanks

Mark,

Thank you for sharing the kind words!  

Brassicas, turnips kale, and rye are all very cold hardy. Unless it’s a hard frost and the conditions are just right I doubt it will do much damage to your food plot crops.  

There are many factors such as if the weather has been cooling down and stimulated the plants to “harden off.”  This is a term biologists use to describe the process many plants undergo to prepare for a frost.  If the weather the past week or so have been warmer than normal, then expect the frost to do a bit more damage than normal.

The cooler temperatures should make deer more active during daylight!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How can my family attract deer to our 60 acres in southeast Missouri?

Question
Hello Dr. Woods, my family owns 60 acres that borders Mingo Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Missouri, we have been hunting the property for years now and the hunting has always been very poor, there are times that we go season to season without seeing a single deer, no rubs, scrapes, ect… Many have told us that this is due to the safety factor of the deer and that they just stay on the refuge because they know it is safe. We are wondering if attempting to provide cover would be an effective tool to try to being the deer over the refuge border. Additionally, the property is only a few hours from the proving grounds, and was wondering if it would be cost effective to have your team come and evaluate or property to see what our best options and strategies would be. Also, if we tried food plots, I would love to try the Eagle seed forage blend soybean, however, we do not own a no till drill, is there another method that would be effective in planting it. Pleas help, we have a new generation in our family that we are going to take hunting with us and the way it is now for our family, with no deer around, more then likely, this family tradition of ours will be lost. P.S. love the videos! Keep em’ coming! Thank you and God Bless.

Troy,

Thank you for the kind words and for watching GrowingDeer! I have several clients in southeast Missouri and a college I attended (Missouri State) took many field trips to Mingo Refuge.

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