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Growing brassicas for whitetails

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Dbltree

Guest
PDF files are available at the bottom of Dbltree's post showing the pictures he posted

October 1st, 2014

Jess planted these brassicas the end of July on a farm where we have been using brassica /rye mix crop rotation four years now. The ground is nothing to write home about but since growing these crops, the soil produces outstanding yields.





With white clover around the perimeter the plot holds whitetails 365 days a year. In 4 years we have endured 2 record wet years and 2 record breaking drought years. Perhaps it's global warming or just coincidence but the weather is hard to ignore lately.
No one gives thought to improving soil with the crops we plant to attract whitetails, until... The crops fail and their hunting season fails as well.





This year heavy rain's leached nitrogen deeper so many brassicas turn yellow, they also can drown in waterlogged soils. Urea 46-0-0 broadcast just before a rain can help and loosening hardpan soils with rye and forage radish can allow water to drain into subsoil, reducing the amount of water trapped in the top soil. This in turn reduces the likely hood of crops starving for oxygen because of water filled soil. Flooding of course it is another story and may require replanting to rye mix.






There are new comers visiting these forums, searching for answer's on how to successfully grow food plot's for whitetails on a daily basis. Knowing this I post information that is old news for some but brand new to others, it's is my way of serving Christ in the time I have left.
Brassicas can potentially yield 12000 to 16000 lbs per acre which is more then 200 bushel corn and not many plotters can grow that kind of corn! On the other hand top brassica yields are possible (within the soil and weather limitations) by even novice plotters with minimal equipment.







The problem for many is keeping the brassicas from getting wiped out, that is where the 3 different brassica species, rye mix and clover work together to keep deer from decimating brassicas or any crop for that matter.
Forage radish are one of the most attractive, appealing, palatable food sources I have ever tested on whitetails. They generally don't eat it until it is at least 4-6 week's old giving it a chance to grow. Because deer focus on FR first they allow the rape and turnips to grow and mature, FR are not a late season crop but serve their purpose as part of our habitat program.







Because whitetails self thin the FR we can plant the brassica mix at almost twice the recommended rate. This helps insure that the rape and turnips are left to grow and serve their intended purpose as late season food sources. Rape is incredibly winter hardy, staying green often into January and cleaning up leaves well into March! Turnips provide both forage and a huge supply of root's which keep hungry whitetails digging through knee deep snow in the bitter cold months of winter.
Corn is easily decimated by coons, squirrels, crows and often requires expensive fencing to keep whitetails from destroying it long before season. Soybeans also require fencing and yields are a fraction of that of brassicas and in side by side testing we found that though deer ate both brassicas and soybeans they preferred the brassicas. This surprised us but the pictures don't lie!





Brassicas then feed deer from mid August through mid February, so we depend on the rye mix and clover to provide food not only the rest of the year but more food when they are building fat reserves for winter.






The rye, oats, peas, forage radish and red clover mix comes on by mid September and the lush forage proves irresistible to whitetails. The oats grow quickly so deer switch from brassicas to feeding on this brand new food source. Winter peas and a second crop of forage radish keep them from roaming or destroying our plot's before you have a chance to hunt them. Unlike corn and beans, these crops continue to grow some all winter long.

Many thanks to chickenlittle for rescuing Pauls pictures.

PDF's of the this thread with Dlbtree's photobucket images included.
 

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Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
October 1st, 2014
There are new comers visiting these forums, searching for answer's on how to successfully grow food plot's for whitetails on a daily basis. Knowing this I post information that is old news for some .

IMO, one should never worry about posting info that some may already know. Worst case, it serves as a helpful reminder. Besides, no one has to ever read anything on the net and I refuse to believe reposting good info gets on anyone's nerves in the slightest, here.

Posts like these can literally be helping others many years from now. Thanks for your contributions over the years and may God give you and your loved ones strength in your battles.
 
D

Dbltree

Guest
1
Thanks Steve I appreciate the encouraging words. I don't post much beyond my own threads but I enjoy reading everyone else projects, experiment's and habitat improvement's, thanks again for inviting me :)
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
Thanks for posting, Paul

I just wish to point out that there are regional differences.
My beans are getting browsed and the brassica is untouched-like most of the last 25 years. Nothing grows when it is -25 or -35 and standing corn will probably be the only available food plot feed when you 3 or 4 feet of snow.

Just regional differences that do not apply to all circumstances... I usually have standing corn from two springs back. Two or three acre fields are not decimated.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I very much enjoy your pics and explanations Dbltree. I've seen your info a few times now, but i never tire of reading. I am a big fan of the "inside baseball" on plotting. The more detail the better.

Many thanks!
 

strawhead

5 year old buck +
Thanks for posting, Paul

I just wish to point out that there are regional differences.
My beans are getting browsed and the brassica is untouched-like most of the last 25 years. Nothing grows when it is -25 or -35 and standing corn will probably be the only available food plot feed when you 3 or 4 feet of snow.

Just regional differences that do not apply to all circumstances... I usually have standing corn from two springs back. Two or three acre fields are not decimated.

I agree with the issue of regional differences having an impact on food plotting. We have had up to 2 acres of corn. Never anything left into Nov. Have had up to 3 acres of soybeans. GREAT draw, but again NOTHING left after Oct. Brassicas and clover have always been in our rotation. LC cereal grain mix is difference maker in my opinion.9-26-14 SE Turnips (8).JPG9-26-14 SW Turnips (1).JPG Two different brassica plots.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
Great pictures. Strawhead.

We need to try things and see what works on each different piece of property and lickcreek has some great suggestions.
 

Jordan Selsor

5 year old buck +
WOW my brassicas need some serious work after viewing these plots!!! Im so tight I always skimp on fertilizer
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
I agree on geographical differences and believe trial and error is the best teacher. I also think diversity is critical to holding deer on your property year round. At my place I have corn, soybeans, brassicas, LC mix and clover. I will be adding a quarter acre of alfalfa next year. I would prefer not to have to deal with corn but with our severe winters and snow depth I think it’s an important food source as well as quality cover.

Brassicas are used on my place even though they prefer dried soybeans. They love radish in the fall and do browse the brassica plot until covered by snow.

FB
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
Thanks for posting, Paul

I just wish to point out that there are regional differences.
My beans are getting browsed and the brassica is untouched-like most of the last 25 years. Nothing grows when it is -25 or -35 and standing corn will probably be the only available food plot feed when you 3 or 4 feet of snow.

Just regional differences that do not apply to all circumstances... I usually have standing corn from two springs back. Two or three acre fields are not decimated.
I would like to comment on this because this is a common response I have addressed many time's in the past.

I experienced the same thing on my farm but when I put the farm in CRP and quit growing corn and beans, they turned on the brassicas like it was candy. Simply take away the crops they are adapted to and believe me they will jump ship in a heartbeat!

They will readily dig through deep snow for any crops in the rotation and there are plenty of pictures on Iowawhitetail to verify that. All the great lakes states and province have successfully grown the rotation without corn and beans, sending pictures like Strawhead. I am just showing that there is a crop rotation that requires less land, fertilizer and herbicide yet feeds more deer.

Lastly our whitetails should be relying on native browse not planted crops, timber /forest management is the means to having /holding more deer and should be job 1 for all of us ;)
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I think that is a very keen observation. I had low expectations for the deer to use our daikon radishes. But they ended up browsing them pretty hard already, despite that there is a ton of clover and browse out there right now. The closest corn/soybean fields are a few miles away from our place.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
WOW my brassicas need some serious work after viewing these plots!!! Im so tight I always skimp on fertilizer
Once P&K and PH are corrected this rotation will require little if any synthetic fertilizer. Legumes like clover and hairy vetch will provide all the nitrogen needs (N gives plant's that dark, rich green color ) and deep rooted crops like rye and radish will mine nutrients from the subsoil.

Done correctly this rotation will eventually need little or no herbicides either ;)
 

tooln

5 year old buck +
Paul
I've planted your mix since purchasing my property in 2011. I get good results growing but my deer just won't eat the turnips or radish's. Go figure, they sure are picky. I left them out this year but may try again next. Has anyone else found that deer won't eat turnips or radish. I do have a fair amount of ag around my 40.
 

wklman

5 year old buck +
They eat the turnips pretty steady in my area once it gets cold in the fall and I have quite a bit of ag around me.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
They are eating my daikon radish. I was surprised myself, but it's happening.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
I have had slight use of radishes in past years, but nothing this year. Brassicas have not worked well in 29 years. They might have had slight use this past winter, but they work well two miles west of me.
 
D

Dbltree

Guest
1
Paul
I've planted your mix since purchasing my property in 2011. I get good results growing but my deer just won't eat the turnips or radish's. Go figure, they sure are picky. I left them out this year but may try again next. Has anyone else found that deer won't eat turnips or radish. I do have a fair amount of ag around my 40.
That is fairly common, perhaps 10% experience this more commonly with ag crops being the problem. Most continue to plant them only less of them until they adapt to them. Cover is the other factor, if adjacent cover is poor it won't many deer and that means less competition /urgency among social group's.

My advice is to keep planting brassicas until deer adapt, they are great for soil so you can't lose :)
 
D

Dbltree

Guest
1
Things don't always go as planned, weather can stall planting date's well beyond what we recommend.


This year we fought rain every step of the way starting in July, we planted the last brassicas in early September and the last rye mix m September 21st on the same farm. The following pictures were taken October 1st.







This farm is all low ground, good rich soil but this year it was under water several time's, very unusual for August!











If you had to delay planting for any reason, please share result's so others know what to expect.




I hope to post pictures later to show growth just before the rut.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I have had slight use of radishes in past years, but nothing this year. Brassicas have not worked well in 29 years. They might have had slight use this past winter, but they work well two miles west of me.
I've heard you mention that before. Is it possible there is something going on in the soil making them unpalatable? Have you ever done a soil sample where you've grown them? I base that on nothing, but it just seems strange. Our daikon radish got worked pretty good already in September just the other side of the county. I wonder if it could it be too much of a micro nutrient, or none at all? It just seems strange that it happens to some, and other places they get nailed.

I say that because you don't see hit and miss adaptation on things like corn, beans, clover, rye (for the most part) apple, soft browse etc. Where's Dipper and MoBuck when you need em? Found this just now from Utah State University:
upload_2014-10-16_22-4-16.png

This from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:
upload_2014-10-16_22-9-26.png

I ate one of my radishes. I thought it was hot too. The tops were still pretty good. I don't know that we could get away with waiting for sub 60 degree weather though. Once the sixties leave, there ain't much time left before frost shuts it down.
 
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