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,
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!
December 22, 2015