The climate during 2011 in the lower 48 has been a series of extremes. Some areas have experienced severe drought and others have experienced record flooding. Some areas have experienced both. For example, areas along the Mississippi River in Louisiana have received significantly less than normal precipitation during the growing season, but were flooded (as in underwater) because the levies failed or were purposely breeched by the US Corps of Engineers.
Some areas that were in a drought are now receiving rain, and some areas that were flooded are now dry enough to plant. Many hunters in these areas have inquired about planting forage crops during late June or even July (hoping that conditions will improve).
There are some forage crops that will respond well to being planted at this time of year if there is the correct amount of soil moisture. Forage soybeans are a perfect example. Research from Iowa State shows that soybeans germinate rapidly when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees and the days until germination actually decrease until the soil temperature at planting depth is over 85 degrees.
Soybeans planted at this time of year may not mature or produce as many pods. However, the forage produced is extremely valuable to deer and other wildlife. In addition, it’s an advantage to establish and maintain a crop so weeds are controlled and the plots will be much easier to prepare for a fall forage crop if the soybeans don’t produce enough pods to justify allowing them to remain throughout the winter.
The map above shows NOAA’s prediction of climate conditions during the next few days. According to their predictions, I may be replanting a few acres of plots at The Proving Grounds that failed due to drought conditions earlier this growing season. Predictions are not 100% accurate. I’ll begin planting when the odds get better or it has already rained. However, I accept food plot failure just as farmers experience failed crops. I attempt to diagnose the cause and replant. Replanting is simply a part of farming. Do you have plots that need to be replanted? Does NOAA’s predictions indicate now is the time for you to replant?
Growing Deer together,