Crops Matched To Equipment

By GrowingDeer,

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Dr. Grant,

I stated in a previous question that we are very new to food-plotting.  We planted 2 acres this fall and growth inside the cage is pretty good but outside the cage deer are consuming the forage before any of it can mature.

The equipment we have to work with includes an excellent tractor, a disk, harrow drag, and a broadcast spreader that mounts on a 4-wheeler.

Are there certain types of crops you recommended we stick to based on the equipment we have to work with?  I ask this because one issue we struggle with is planting depth.




I would concentrate on planting high quality winter wheat food plots.  This requires planting the seed a minimum of 45-60 days before the first average frost.  A soil test would also be beneficial in determining exactly what the lime/fertilizer requirements are.  When submitting a soil test ask the testing agency for maximum yield results.  Because most agencies are geared toward agricultural production soil test results are often geared toward economic return instead of maximum yield.

Winter wheat grows well when broadcasted and can be a covered from 0-1 inches deep with soil and germinate.  Planting just before or during a rain ensures the best germination rates.  Winter wheat can jump during warm spells and is quick to come out of the gate in the spring.

Your equipment can also plant almost any other small seeded crop that doesn’t need to be buried to a specific depth like clover, brassicas, etc.  By adding clover to the wheat, the time the plot will be productive for deer and turkey can be extended well into the spring or summer depending on the amount of soil moisture available.  If you use this mix, make sure you mow or spray the wheat once it begins to make a stem versus a blade.  Once wheat forms a stem, it is not palatable to deer and will create enough shade to substantially reduce the clover’s production.

Growing Deer together,