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Growing brassicas for whitetails

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dipper

Guest
I think the lc mix and rotation is great, i got hooked myself years back. I've gotten to the point where I grow the entire rotation at the same time. It's easy and it can be done with nothing more than a sprayer.
I would suspect those that don't see brassicas consumed, would see them consumed if the entire mix was growing at the same time. That's just a hunch. Why? Because you don't have thousands of brassicas growing in one spot, there is only one growing every couple feet or so.
My rotation basically revolves around clover. I suppress it and seed. Simple is as simple does.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I also found some reading material discussing ideal brassica soils. "Ideal" was a soil that had good organic matter and structure. Lesser was a sandy soil. I wonder if that wouldn't cause slower growing conditions that may lead to a less than desirable palatability?
 
D

dipper

Guest
We eat a lot of organic vegetables and I can tell the difference than the store bought crap.
Organic material means everything
 

j-bird

Moderator
I have planted PTT before and they do well but they rot in the ground the deer ignore them. I have planted radish as well as PTT this year to see for some reason the deer like one or the other. I plant them because they are cheap insurance just incase we have a bad winter - we had a cold winter last year, but the snow wasn't too bad in my area. I often over seed them with oats, rye and wheat into my standing soybeans. I like to get as much use out of my plotting acres as I can that way I can dedicate more to cover which is my limiting habitat factor as I live in farm country. I this year I was able to add AWP to the mix as well - the deer are still on the acorns and the AWP is still in the plot - they will get to it sooner or later I'm sure.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
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:
View attachment 2550

This from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture:
View attachment 2551

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.

Thanks for the suggestions, SD. I am referring to where I live when I say the radishes and brassica do not work. Up in zone 172, they work fine but growth is not as good as where I live.
You might be on to something, but I think my deer numbers are just too low. Corn stands for two years without being eaten. Two miles west of me, brassica are eaten.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
It's amazing. On my dad's place, I could grow fantastic brassica. Never got touched. On my land in Cass county, they were pretty short, and they're getting worked over pretty good. Also, down south is 97% ag land, and our place is a 20 acre oasis. When we hunted there, we were after "the" adult doe, with the hopes there may be a buck chasing her around.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
We eat a lot of organic vegetables and I can tell the difference than the store bought crap.
Organic material means everything
They are completely different animals absolutely.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
It's amazing. On my dad's place, I could grow fantastic brassica. Never got touched. On my land in Cass county, they were pretty short, and they're getting worked over pretty good. Also, down south is 97% ag land, and our place is a 20 acre oasis. When we hunted there, we were after "the" adult doe, with the hopes there may be a buck chasing her around.

I could post about the same thing.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
SD...I've spent a fair amount of time pondering brassica usage over the last decade or so. I am strongly convinced that something(s) in the soil makes them more (or less) desirable. I don't think its a matter of having other, more "palatable" choice available. I also don't think brassica usage can be directly tied to deer density.

We should do a human taste test of turnips and greens from my place and your place. I can't stand the things, but will eat rutabagas.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I ate one of my radishes up north. I was surprised at how spicy it was. When i grew a brassica blend at my dad's, that stuff tasted better than any hearty salad i'd ever been served.

Taste test: We'd have to sync up planting time and species next year. I'd be interested to see how that'd turn out.
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
Deer browse all of my braisca leaves as soon as the beginning of August and hit my radish beginning in late august. I plant a mix of GH Radish, PTT, GGT, and DER. Both my PT Turnips and the GG Turnips have now been eaten progressively more and more for a few weeks. The deer have eaten the Sugar Beet Leaves.....but so far have not touched a single bulb. Maybe soon (?).
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
Deer browse all of my braisca leaves as soon as the beginning of August and hit my radish beginning in late august. I plant a mix of GH Radish, PTT, GGT, and DER. Both my PT Turnips and the GG Turnips have now been eaten progressively more and more for a few weeks. The deer have eaten the Sugar Beet Leaves.....but so far have not touched a single bulb. Maybe soon (?).

This year has been a wet one......and the deer have left my Chicory stand alone. On dry years they have torn it up.
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
I ate one of my radishes up north. I was surprised at how spicy it was. When i grew a brassica blend at my dad's, that stuff tasted better than any hearty salad i'd ever been served.

Taste test: We'd have to sync up planting time and species next year. I'd be interested to see how that'd turn out.
One of my co workers loves radishes and turnips I always bring him some prior to frost and after a couple frosts to see what he says about flavors. Prior to frost he describes the radish as spicy, after a few. Frosts he says the spice mellows out, but that the heat from the spice builds over time...more of an after taste. He says the turnips go from bitter to slightly less bitter...not much difference.
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
Every darn turnip I've ever tasted has pretty much tasted the same o_O

Whether grown on my old place, my folks' old place, my new place...or the store.....pretty much "turnip". I suppose if a person were an aficionado maybe there's some subtle difference.

Honestly...i dont think the deer give a darn about what it tastes like before, after, during, a frost or frosts. All i know is that it didn't take much for the deer to get on brassicas (greens and tubers) at my place. I just found it interesting that my buddy could detect a difference in taste in the radish. he said the turnips had no real difference. I really don't care for either.

I suppose to some people all beer tastes like beer...but for me....its all very different...and there is lots of crappy beer out there...lol.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
Fertilizer

Lot’s to be learned about soil nutrients but starting out, a basic understanding of NPK and PH will suffice. Soil testing should be the starting point but nitrogen must be added yearly (usually at planting) to produce lush, dark green brassicas like these…o





I have never eaten a starving deer but one can only imagine it wouldn't taste so very good. The same could be said for nutrient starved crops, especially nitrogen so if we hope to compete with neighboring crops or plot's and we have to feed ours.



Most farmers fertilize to the max, including micronutrients, which means their crops are healthy and tasty to boot. I understand budget's and paying for fertilizer is sometimes hard to do, yet we blow a grand on a new bow and skip a $100 worth of fertilizer. Nitrogen comes in three form's and can be "fixed" naturally using legumes, something our seed mix and rotation are designed to do. We use 46-0-0 urea because it is commonly available and least expensive








Phosphorus and potassium are also very important but unlike nitrogen they can be built up and stored in the soil. Not only can P&K be applied earlier but it is advantageous because it takes time to break down and actually become available to the plants. We usually till them both in at planting time, but late fall through early spring would be better. Knowing this it sometimes works out to combine shed hunting with broadcasting P&K, one less thing to do at planting. Regardless of crop planted, timing of application is not overly important and soil test may reveal that only one or the other is needed. In our area soils typically require copious amounts of potash (K- potassium) but far less phosphorus P, so avoid spending more than necessary by relying on soil tests.






The great thing about rye and the brassica family is that they bring up subsoil nutrients, the deep taproots drill 4-6 feet deep and pull otherwise unused or unavailable nutrients. When the roots decompose the next crop follows those channels to water and more nutrients and this helps keep the soils loose and porous. This also helps build soil organic matter that not only holds water (important during summer droughts) but also minimizes leaching of nutrients. Corn and soybeans are notoriously hard on soils, so it is nice to have alternatives that improve them. Much can be learned from farmers trying to squeeze an extra bushel per acre an acre and even they apply P&K months ahead of planting.





Micronutrients are important and should be overlooked, especially if crops are not healthy or discolored. We have never had to apply them but some areas need one or more to grow healthy crops.



Testing PH and applying lime is extremely important and failure to do so means other nutrient May be tied up and unavailable to plants. Paying for fertilizer is bad enough but if we it can't be used is even worse! If PH is low we use pellet lime which is fast acting but not long lasting then ag lime which is the opposite.







Brassicas are heavy nutrient users and require roughly 100 lb of nitrogen which can easily be provided with a healthy legume crop planted with the rye crop, red clover and hairy vetch fill this need. As the crop rotation builds organic matter, more water and nutrients will be available, resulting in greater yields at lower costs.






Turnip roots have an advantage over corn, soybeans, sunflowers, milo and other grain crops because other wildlife doesn't feed on them. Corn can cost $500+ an acre to plant only to be decimated by coons, squirrels and birds. Turnips last into late winter in the Midwest north so once forage is eaten they will dig through several feet of snow to get at the roots.



The roots of both turnips and forage radish are cleaned up in virtually all the fields we plant and along with winter rye hold deer not only through late season hunting but all winter. When March rolls around those plots are often littered with sheds, another sign we have adapted whitetails to depending on our year around food sources.




Brassicas are very important to our habitat management system because of the tremendous yield potential, however they are not magic nor necessary. Many think they MUST have or deer won't show up but nothing could be farther from the truth. Whitetails will eagerly advantage of any food source nearest their safe bedding area.





The following is a link to a thread I put together on soil sampling, fertilizer and more...


Soil sampling and fertilizer FAQ’s


Dbltree seed mix and rotation

Plant ALL in one plot in strips or blocks


Alice, Kopu II, Durana (or comparable) white clover 10% of plot, sow at 6#'s per acre with the rye combination in the fall or in the spring with oats and berseem clover. Correct Ph and P&K with soil tests


Brassicas in 45% of plot


Purple Top Turnips 3#

Dwarf Essex Rape 2#

GroundHog Forage radish 5#


Plant in mid to late July in most Midwest states, or 60-90 days before your first killing frost, Use 200#'s of 46-0-0 urea and 400#'s of 6-28-28 per acre. Follow the dead brassicas with oats and berseem or crimson clover in mid spring at 60#'s oats and 12-15#'s berseem clover and/or crimson and/or 50#'s of chickling vetch)


Cereal Grain combo in 45% of plot...we use 50# each rye, oats and peas along with radish and clover seed all planted in half of each feeding area


Winter rye 50-80#'s per acre (56#'s = a bushel)

Spring oats 50-120#'s per acre (32#'s = a bushel)

Frostmaster Winter Peas or 4010/6040 Forage peas 20-80#'s per acre


Red Clover 8-12#'s per acre or white clover at 6#'s per acre (or 20-40 pounds hairy vetch and 20-30#'s crimson clover on sandy soils)

Groundhog Forage Radish 5#'s per acre


Plant in late August to early September, if following well fertilized brassicas use 100 - 200#'s of urea, if starting a new plot add 400#'s of 6-28-28 but for best results soil test and add only what is necessary.


Rotate the brassicas and rye combo each year
 

Kansas-andres

5 year old buck +
foggy said:
Deer browse all of my braisca leaves as soon as the beginning of August and hit my radish beginning in late august. I plant a mix of GH Radish, PTT, GGT, and DER. Both my PT Turnips and the GG Turnips have now been eaten progressively more and more for a few weeks. The deer have eaten the Sugar Beet Leaves.....but so far have not touched a single bulb. Maybe soon (?).
Foggy, exact same scenario on my place. All my turnip, rape and radish leaves are gone. my plots look like they were cut with a lawn mower. I'm sure the deer will hammer the bulbs in the next few weeks.
 
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Dbltree

Guest
1
My friend John Komp of Northwoods Whitetails sent me this picture of his brassicas, definitely worth showing off! John sells a mix he put together that is very inexpensive and obviously very productive, give him a shout for your seed needs in the Great Lakes region.




There are many reasons the dbltree crop rotation work's so successfully for landowners managing for whitetails, but one that is overlooked is the adaption factor. Whitetails are creatures of habit but we seem determined to constantly force them to break habits and develop new ones. Our hunting culture has been centered on hunting deer rather than whitetails themselves, this is why many people really know little about their quarry and the habitat they live in.


For years now people have done nothing to improve native cover and browse and planted crops solely to shoot deer. Providing all their habitat needs never crossed their minds.






It makes no sense from neither a hunting nor management perspective to break habits and force deer to move, possibly to neighboring property. That is exactly what happens however when we plant food source's that barely last through hunting season. When bitter winter snows blow through open timber deer leave, when acorns or apple's rain down from neighboring property deer are naturally attracted to them. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if we provide year around food sources, soft and hard mast all in one place, whitetails have no reason to roam.


Note the apple and pear trees in this food plot.







As trail cams became popular, the average hunter was only interested in bucks, how many, how big and how old. Because of my love for wildlife and habitat I found myself looking beyond bucks and learning more about whitetail behavior and habits. Over time the cams revealed that deer groups would do almost exactly the same thing every day. Because I had two separate farms, I observed deer in completely different habitat yet they responded to habitat improvements in the same ways.

As God blessed my habitat business and it continued to grow, I was able to observe deer responding in the same way on more farm's, to many to ignore.


Note here that we have planted hundreds of hybrid oaks which bear sweet, low tannin acorns, around the perimeter of the plot.




When deer have everything they need in one place year around, year after year they become habituated to depending on those food sources. Whitetails are not like us, they don't get bored with what's for dinner. They are survivors they are interested in nothing more than having a safe place to bed and feed. A centrally located feeding area, screened by conifers and shrubs and surrounded by thick bedding cover is like winning the lottery to a whitetail!


With everything they require and more, deer not only won't leave but they will do the same thing every day. They will travel the same runways, enter the plot the same place and largely ignore other neighboring crops.


This field has been in corn and soybeans every year for a decade or more yet deer walk right through it, they are so acclimated to finding everything they need in plot beyond.






You see it's not about brassicas or rye it's about habitat, utilizing every square inch of property to maximize your property for whitetails. Obviously hunting a deer that does exactly the same thing every day is easier than one that is forced to change constantly. Hunting whitetails that bed close to feed because they feel safe in thick cover rather then a half mile away in open timber, they will be under your stand before dark.


When deer walk through standing corn to get to the rye, brassicas and clover they come to depend on they are easier to kill.

Brassicas are just one tool in our habitat plan, while very important they alone are not the answer.




Bucks will travel during the rut when feed of any kind is of little interest to them. They will however check both feeding and bedding areas in search of and they will hit the rye and brassicas hard when the rut end's.



Brassicas yields are beyond what most whitetail managers can achieve growing other crops and far less expensive to grow. Even brassicas can be wiped out if planted alone and alone they can't feed deer year around so those that plant only brassicas or any other single crop will have a tough time holding big whitetails. Neighboring landowners will of course appreciate mismanagement that sends bucks roaming for food and cover.




Dbltree seed mix and rotation

Plant ALL in one plot in strips or blocks


Alice, Kopu II, Durana (or comparable) white clover 10% of plot, sow at 6#'s per acre with the rye combination in the fall or in the spring with oats and berseem clover. Correct Ph and P&K with soil tests


Brassicas in 45% of plot


Purple Top Turnips 3#

Dwarf Essex Rape 2#

GroundHog Forage radish 5#


Plant in mid to late July in most Midwest states, or 60-90 days before your first killing frost, Use 200#'s of 46-0-0 urea and 400#'s of 6-28-28 per acre. Follow the dead brassicas with oats and berseem or crimson clover in mid spring at 60#'s oats and 12-15#'s berseem clover and/or crimson and/or 50#'s of chickling vetch)


Cereal Grain combo in 45% of plot...we use 50# each rye, oats and peas along with radish and clover seed all planted in half of each feeding area


Winter rye 50-80#'s per acre (56#'s = a bushel)

Spring oats 50-120#'s per acre (32#'s = a bushel)

Frostmaster Winter Peas or 4010/6040 Forage peas 20-80#'s per acre


Red Clover 8-12#'s per acre or white clover at 6#'s per acre (or 20-40 pounds hairy vetch and 20-30#'s crimson clover on sandy soils)

Groundhog Forage Radish 5#'s per acre


Plant in late August to early September, if following well fertilized brassicas use 100 - 200#'s of urea, if starting a new plot add 400#'s of 6-28-28 but for best results soil test and add only what is necessary.


Rotate the brassicas and rye combo each year
 
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