How to Convert a Warm Season Food Plot to a Cool Season Food Plot

By Grant Woods,

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Dr. Woods,

I really enjoy watching your videos and learning something new from each one that I see.  I have a 1/2 acre food plot that currently has buckwheat, IC cowpeas, and Lab Lab in it.  I would like to convert this plot over to a clover/chicory perennial plot this fall.  What steps should I take in order to prepare this plot for the clover/chicory?  I live in northeast Tennessee and currently the plot’s ph is 6.5.

Thanks and keep up the good work!



The best method depends on the equipment you have available.  Ideally I would spray the plot with a broad-spectrum herbicide like glyphosate if a lot of weeds are present and no-till drill a winter wheat/clover/chicory mix.  I added the winter wheat because it will produce the bulk of this fall’s forage and become a nurse crop for the clover/chicory in the spring and summer.  Since wheat is an annual plant it will mature and die in late May or early June.  When drilling, place wheat in the large seed box and plant 1 inch deep and place the clover/chicory in the small seed box where it will trickle behind the coulters and ahead of the press wheel for the optimum ¼ inch deep seed-to-soil contact.

If a drill is not available, weeds are not present, and the warm-season crop is sparse, another option would be to simply broadcast the cool season forage over the standing crop just before a rain.

The last option would be to disk, broadcast seed, and drag the plot.  I tend to shy away from disking to decrease the amount of weed seeds brought to the soil surface.  No matter the technique, keep the nutrient levels in the soil in the optimum range to improve the plot’s attractiveness.

Growing Deer together,