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5 year old buck +
Aug 10, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I thought about trying to get some brassicas started in the milo/soybean planting but the canopy is just to dense right now.


I'll just wait till the leaves start to turn and then overseed winter rye and Groundhog forage radish into the standing beans and milo. Canopy will still be dense at first but once leaves drop and the milo leaves wilt I think I can still get some green growth to go along with the grain in this plot.... :emoji_sunglasses:


5 year old buck +
August 29, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

The milo heads are filling out!


The field is kind of pretty now



Even the flooded areas recovered and is producing seed heads


The electric fence allowed the beans to recover and produce pods


The soys were grazed off to the ground before I got the fence up and they are never the same after that...still, they aren't half bad!


The milo is so thick and dense that it limited the soybeans to some extent also but still the combination is producing a tremendous amount of feed that has the potential to hold deer well into the new year!


This bean plant was just outside the fence and gives on an idea what they would look like without fencing!


I'm really excited about next year and an already picking up more posts and poly-wire to expand the field! RR corn and soybeans will make an easy to care for field that I can use Dual II Magnum for season long weed control and glyphosate to clean up any missed spots...:cool:


5 year old buck +
Sep 7, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Since I put the electric fence up after I planted there are a few places that the soybeans are on the wrong side of the fence and I am surprised there is anything at all left of them!


Inside the fence it's a different story...


and the whole place is just a thick mass of soybeans and milo


I normally shoot for around the 1st of May when planting my soybeans (this past spring we had a hard frost May 9th) but the record breaking rainfall kept me out of the field until nearly June. No big deal for the early maturing milo and soybeans but it does mean they are still very green and growing September 1st....right when I want to overseed winter rye and forage radish.

There are a few places where deer killed the soys by grazing them to the ground before the fence got put up so I went ahead and broadcasted rye and GroundHog forage radish Friday, September 3rd focusing on the spots in the field that had a little "daylight" reaching the ground.


On the plus side....soil and seed will not be exposed to hot baking mid day sun and surface moisture will be more abundant. Given enough rain to germinate seed, they will have a better chance of surviving until roots can reach deeper into the soil.

On the minus side they may suffer from lack of sunlight if they root and begin to grow before leaves begin to yellow and drop. Our average first frost here in SE Iowa is October 5th...a month away so we'll see how this plays out but clearly there is a distinct advantage to planting at least a portion of ones bean plots to early maturing beans to allow for overseeding rye and radish as leaves drop.

The soys are filling up with pods behind the fence!



The milo itself needs no protection but this pic shows how easy it will be to add a third wire at the top of 6 or 6 1/2' T posts to help thwart "jumpers"


Most of the WGF milo is 40 to 60" tall and the occasional forage sorhgum sticking up gives one a better idea of height


Right now the soys are still vulnerable to my "midnight marauders" so I'm planning on waiting til the soys start to yellow before dropping the fence down... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
Sep 21, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I broadcasted winter rye and forage radish into my standing beans and milo nearly two weeks ago now, the beans were still green and the canopy pretty heavy but I went ahead and gave it a shot. I checked them September 15th and both rye and radish seeds had germinated although if you look closely you can see a few seeds on the soil ungerminated yet.


I was relieved to see that the beans had indeed turned and were drying down although the over all canopy is still heavy



The pods are drying but looking into the background you can see the ground is still quite shaded



By design almost nothing in this plot is palatable at this point, the milo is bitter and the beans not yet ripe and deer busy feeding yards away on lush rye and pea plots.


At this point I can safely take the fence down or at least the ends and allow deer time to figure out it safe to enter yet not worry about the plot being decimated to early.


Given another 2 weeks the rye and radish will out on some decent growth and attract whitetails as gradually the beans become palatable and later the milo and the whole combination will provide a plethora of food sources literally all winter long.


For those of you who enjoy enhancing habitat for both deer and upland birds, the milo/soybean combo is outstanding! For deer alone, corn and beans are probably a better option but we'll see how deer utilize the milo as we get into cold weather... :emoji_sunglasses:


5 year old buck +
October 4th 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Keeping food plots screened and close to bedding cover is extremely important and I think this picture illustrates that well. Standing in the milo you can see it's surrounded by tall NWSG and the timber beyond is thick with hinge cut areas so deer adapt to living on my property where all their needs are met...food, bedding and safety.


I've taken the fence down along the ends of the milo/soybean plot but as you can see they were never without a food source with white clover, falcata alfalfa and red clover plots ringing the milo/soybean plot.


Back I early September I overseeded winter rye and groundhog forage radish into the standing beans and milo, all still heavily canopied. Thanks to heavy rains the seed all germinated but it's starving for sun


Had this been soybeans only there would be far less canopy but we had a pretty stout frost last night so hopefully we'll have more sun reaching ground level soon.


It's time to hunt and stay the heck out of the plots now so I probably won't check on this plot for a while now but I do know that deer are already pouring into the milo and beans...to see what they've been missing.... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
Oct 15, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I am truly blessed now, to have both my farms in the CRP program so that my fields will all be in NWSG to provide more cover and further insulate my food plots.


The NWSG's provide whitetails with so much security close to their food sources that they scarcely leave.


They were hitting the white clover hard next to the fenced end to the milo/soybean plot....


so when I took the end down they immediately started using the plot ending any worries I had previously about them figuring out it was safe to enter.


The foxtail around the field edge has beaten down runways leading into the milo and beans


I quietly slipped along the NWSG and stuck a trail cam up near the plot entrance to see what kind of activity is entering the plot.


The milo/soybean combination is so thick it is more akin to a jungle and I expect many deer are now just living in there. With the rut only weeks away....things should get interesting.... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
November 11th, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and brisk wind to slip out and check out the milo and soybean plot. They have pretty well worn runways heading into it...


The heads are already picked clean along the end


Hopefully there is enough left to last until the first of the year but it may be iffy


They are still pounding the Alice white clover plot planted in front of the milo plot also


I picked up an Gallagher S17 Solar energizer on sale the other day for a different plot in my home farm next year.

I'll be planting separate plots of RR corn and soybeans rather then milo now that I have confidence in the electric fence... our free RR corn and soybean seed is already in storage... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
December 13th, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I set up a Wildview cam at the entrance to my milo/soybean plot hoping to get some great pics of deer using the plot. The last time I checked it I was disappointed to find that it apparently isn't working properly so I decided to run over and change cams today.

Only about 12 degrees for a high so I went over right after lunch figuring that the deer would be well away from the area bedded down for the day. As I drove in the dirt road I noticed it was strangely absent of fresh tracks that usually cross it from end to end and as I walked along the switchgrass I began to figure out why...they were just living right there!


Still...my brain obviously numbed by the cold it never occurred to me that deer would actually be feeding in the middle of the day in the milo so when I saw "something" that didn't belong in the milo it took a minute to register....Dah!! Sunny day after a blizzard and bitter cold weather....they were doing exactly what I had hoped they would!

I slipped up to the custom built Lick Creek Blind and just enjoyed watching the deer...warm as toast in there too with the sun shining on it!


I hadn't planned on taking pictures of deer so unfortunately didn't have my telephoto lens


At least one buck and a number of does were chowing down on the milo and soybeans


At 1:00 in the afternoon no less!


Late muzzy season is only a week away so the cam change will have to wait and my next trip will include not only a different lens but a scoped muzzy too boot!


The blind has only been there a few weeks but deer had already adjusted to it and the rye was full of fresh tracks only feet away!


There's nothing like the feeling one gets when a habitat plan comes together! Milo and soybeans protected by electric fence, overseeded with winter rye and forage radish...surrounded by dense NWSG...deer feel safe feeding in broad daylight literally in the middle of the day!

Man...you can't beat that with a stick! :emoji_sunglasses:


5 year old buck +
December 18th, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

When we first start out managing our property for whitetails we keep it simple, perhaps a clover plot to start with for instance. As we gain experience we (or at least we should) become more aggressive in maximizing the land and habitat that God has blessed us with.

One of the key ways we can do this is provide all the necessary ingredients required to hold whitetails on our properties year around rather then just trying to "lure" them back during hunting season. I would mention here that there are places of course where this is simply not possible, because in snow belt areas along the Great Lakes or areas with limited cover in the plains or upper Midwest states deer simply must migrate to survive. All we can do in those cases is to be certain we have food sources there from the day they return in the spring until snow forces them out in late fall.

The rest of us however can utilize a number of habitat options to keep deer on our property or at least using our property every day of the year. One of the worst mistakes any landowner can make is planting ONLY a hunting plot such as I have shared in the case of Lakosky's in the Cereal Grain thread.

There are multiple reasons for providing year around food sources:

1) To adapt whitetails to living on our property and traveling the same runways, using the same bedding areas rather then the neighbors.

2) Late season hunting...one of the greatest opportunities we have harvest a mature whitetail buck is in the late season when rut weary bucks are literally starving. Bitter cold winter weather forces them to find high energy food sources and makes them extremely vulnerable as they are more likely then ever to enter fields before dark.

3) Poaching...in my area this in an extremely serious problem because trophy class racks can bring thousands of dollars when they are sold to collectors.

This link is a case in point and only the tip of the iceberg: Iowa Poachers face $100,000 in fines

What good is it then to screen and protect our property and then force hungry bucks to head for unprotected neighboring farms where they are sitting ducks to not only other hunters but professional poachers who make a living out of stealing our natural resources????

That brings us to soybeans...they cannot in and of themselves solve all the above problems but they can be an extremely useful tool in helping us work towards our goals of providing year around food sources. There is NO one crops species of variety that can do the trick, at least not in most of the upper Midwest and north so it's a combination of many crops and natural habitat improvements that are required.

With that in mind then I would add here that there are serious drawbacks to ONLY planting forage soybeans but significant advantages to planting both forage and grain varieties "separately" (Do not mix them). I get FREE RR ag soybeans through a cooperative effort of the Iowa NWTF, IDNR and seed companies and my budget does not allow me to purchase forage soybeans so I utilize white clover instead with the same results. Those that can afford them can of course incorporate them into their habitat program but this discussion is centered around grain soybeans that mature and dry down starting in late August and how we can maximize this great food source as a tool in our habitat puzzle.

A friend of mine leases his ag land out to a local farmer and has the farmer leave some crops standing. Excellent way of providing food sources at least part of the time and that's where the problem arises...it's only part of the time.

With his permission I would like to share a couple cam pics from the roughly 1.5 acres he had the farmer leave. These were 40 bushel soybeans and my friend saw many mature bucks feeding in these beans in November, unfortunately lacking a funnel area he was unable to connect.


He then made plans to hunt the late season knowing that these mature bucks were there and the beans would be impossible for them to turn down. This is what the spot looks like now however...barely a month later..


They have decimated the beans and there is NOTHING left to hold them there which brings us back to the problems mentioned previously. It would be foolish or naive to think that those mature bucks or the deer in general will not leave in search of other food sources which in turn makes them vulnerable to both other hunters, poachers, vehicles, dogs etc.

What good is it then to allow our immature bucks to walk and then have them killed on someone else's land because we only had a "hunting plot"?? How can we solve this problem? What things could he have done differently? (BTW...I'm not picking on my friend because I have done this exact same thing myself and learned from it the hard way... ;) )

This is ag land and not really a "food plot" so what to do?

On most any farm there are "odd areas" that cannot be farmed and in Iowa grassed waterways are only one example and timber edges, corners etc. can be utilized and make great places to plant white clover. Small patches of white clover can feed a tremendous amount of deer very inexpensively and require very little maintenance...a lite dose of Roundup in late may will keep them cleaned up and that's about it!

White clover however only insures that my friend would have early spring food sources (April/May) before crops begin to grow...again EXTREMELY important but only a piece of the puzzle.

The great thing about grain soybeans even in a farming situation such as my friends is that we can overseed them with winter rye and forage radish in late August. (This will NOT work with forage beans and just one of the serious drawbacks to using only forage beans) Over seeding rye and radishes is incredibly easy and inexpensive and easily done with a simple bag seeder, preferably just before a good late summer thunder boomer! The seeding should be done just as the beans are starting to yellow and this situation works perfectly! the beans of course are canopied (the leaves provide a cover or canopy shading the soil below) so the broadcasted seeds are protected from drying sun and wind. Soil moisture is more likely to remain adequate to insure that the seeds laying on the soil surface germinate and are able to send tiny roots down without drying out and dying.

The soybean leaves will take several weeks to turn, dry down and fall off and in takes the seeds 7-10 days depending on moisture to germinate so by the time the rye and radish is needing some sunshine....the leaves fall and they are off to the races!

By October then the rye and soybeans will look something like this...man...what a combination!!


In most cases where deer densities are high I would suggest following up with at least a 100#'s of urea per acre several weeks after the rye and radishes have sprouted. Spread the urea just before a minimum 1/2 " of rain to incorporate the nitrogen.

Eventually we end up with this fantastic combination of "grain and green" that will last far longer then the grain alone and be far more attractive then the green forage alone.

This is an idea what you can expect from the combination of beans and rye....and had my friend utilized this combination the deer, having adapted to feeding there would have continued to stay and feed on the rye.



5 year old buck +
December 18th, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Winter rye is the ultimate for overseeding into standing crops because it germinates and grows easily on almost any soil without being "planted" and rye provides the missing link required to hold our whitetails ALL winter into spring when once again the white clover can take over from there.

In ag situations the rye can be easily killed with roundup in the spring or tilled under depending on the farmer involved so it's not a problem for the crops to follow but does have the added benefit of helping to hold the soil as a cover crop through the winter and early spring.

I would also remind each of you that planted food sources are not the entire answer and only part of the habitat pie so it's essential that we provide copious amounts of natural browse and cover along with the crops. Whitetails MUST have browse and I cannot stress the importance of providing an ample supply of natural forage enough...do NOT over look it!

My friend is in the planning stages of major TSI projects that will turn his wide open timber into safe secure sanctuaries full of succulent browse and funnels that will allow him to kill those big whitetails traveling to his food sources.

Look over this thread for more ideas on this subject:

Hinging for bedding, bottlenecks and browse

Another overlooked habitat improvement is planting shrubby browse species such as dogwoods and Big Rock Trees offers cuttings that are amazingly easy to plant.

Big Rock Trees

Shrubs provide both cover and browse and can be used to help funnel deer too boot!

Change the way you think, get away from "hunting season" plantings if you really want to have the edge and maximize the use of your property. Provide year around food and cover and waste not a single square inch of your land in doing so! Some of you may find forage soybeans a useful tool and if you include them, plant them separately perhaps around the outer edges of the grain soybean planting. They will remain green and canopied until frost kills them which has obvious benefits from a grazing standpoint but makes it impossible to over seed rye into them. Look over all the options and combination, and then decide what might work best for you to achieve our goals of holding whitetails on our property year around....:emoji_sunglasses:


5 year old buck +
Dec 27, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I've come to realize that whitetails are a little like women...just when I think I have them figured out, they do what I least expected... :emoji_rolling_eyes::emoji_slight_smile:

We got probably 6" of snow on Christmas Eve so I really expected increased activity in the milo/soybean planting and while that was true I was surprised to watch most of the deer furiously digging in the Alice white clover only feet from the milo??


By early afternoon I noticed deer slipping under the fence (rather then walk to the area it has been removed)


Activity picked up as the afternoon wore on...notice the deer with nose pointed upward as they strip the milo heads.


All the deer that entered the milo plot came from the same bedding area and upon entering the milo...soon disappeared with not so much as a glimpse of them again for the day.


I used the 3 wire/2fence version this past spring but I am going to the 5 wire/2 fence this coming spring. I watched a huge deer approached the fence and make an easy clean leap over both of them!


He was much farther away, yet was clearly visible in the milo for a time...after enlarging the picture at home I can see he had already shed one side (or broke it off earlier)


Very interesting to observe deer that have a number of food source options and their choices of each. I never expected them to choose rye and clover over the beans and milo yet many refused to even look at the milo. Others never looked at the rye and clover and obviously were bedding right beside the "kitchen" in a bedding area except for a few hours spent hinging each winter.

These deer are not traveling but with observation, easily patterned and it would be a simple matter to slip close enough to kill them with the muzzy. The milo is tall enough that it is impossible to be certain how many deer may be in the plot as I can only see the deer that enter from one side. We have a late January antlerless season in which a number of shed bucks are killed each year so having a steady source of feed to hold deer on my property gives some assurance that bucks I have allowed to walk will not be inadvertently killed.

Many landowners overlook the value and importance of providing year around food sources to help hold deer on their property, choosing instead to only offer a food source for hunting season. I want my farms to provide everything a whitetail needs all year long so that living there becomes a...habit... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
Dec 30, 2010 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Somethings about whitetails mystify me which of course is half the fun of hunting them! My neighbors have a wide open crop field beyond my place, been that was for decades...not a tree or so much as a branch on the place! The owner keeping it his fence rows clean as a whistle while my farm is 100% habitat...awesome thick cover, hidden food sources etc etc. So one would wonder then why on earth deer would choose to go out and scratch around in soybean stubble rather then feed on my protected standing soybeans???

To make matters worse...they let some other fellas hunt (nothing wrong with that) and they stick a double bull blind out there on a terrace and have a blast shooting does apparently on a suicide mission! I can watch them walk to their blind, see the deer come out, hear them shoot...the whole 9 yards! You can see the tent blind to the far right and the wide open field beyond mine.


Now...this fellas do lament the fact that they don't see any bucks while I am watching 10-15 bucks and 20-30 does in my hidden food sources and beans, I am waiting for a mature buck I am not shooting "deer". This is merely a "curious" thing that makes you wonder...why?

I suspect that a certain number of deer are adapted to coming from another neighbors farm (they are not coming from my place but another neighbor with no feed) to the stubble fields that are their means of survival. Doe groups lead and adapt other does groups, it's unchanging over decades of use and that friends is my case in point for providing year around food sources that adapt deer to feeding year after year in your plots and living on your land.


They shot a doe, walked out, got the truck and drove in just as I was getting ready to walk out under cover of darkness. The deer in my plots listened and watched intently even though 300 yards away but never left. When I drove past the gates they had not left more then 5 minutes previously...there were more deer trying to get back in the field and some still in the field...crazy!

A friend of mine with a fairly large farm said he has witnessed the exact same thing, 3 deer in his standing soybeans while 30 more where feeding a chisel plowed soybean stubble field! Again...they are just adapted to feeding there as they have for years.

Ag crop stubble should not be overlooked by those who lease crop land out on their farm although large fields can be frustrating to hunt unless edge feathering/trail blocking has been done. Mature bucks are far less likely to enter open fields before dark as these fellas can attest to so hidden safe food sources are far more productive.

While they were watching does...I was watching does...and bucks....


and the bucks on my farms are adapted to feeding there long before dark although truly mature animals are still reluctant to risk daylight movement.


All of that is just food for thought because often some one will say...there are tons of deer in my neighbors field...what I am I doing wrong?!? We can't pen them all up and a certain number of deer are adapted to feeding in those crop fields regardless of what we plant. Over time however if your food sources are centrally located, insulated from the "world", close to thick cover...the bucks are going to prefer your property. They didn't survive to be 4-5 years old by running out to a large crop field in broad daylight.... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
March 1, 2011 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Checked the milo/soybean plot the other day...pretty well stripped clean!


Nothing left but some bedding cover perhaps


A few tidbits for the birds



But lot's of evidence of who ate the milo!


The rye I overseeded into the standing milo is evident now


and will provide some early spring grazing before I till it under for the next crop


Milo has some advantages for those who struggle to grow other crops and prefer to avoid fencing and makes great bird cover to boot! :emoji_sunglasses:


5 year old buck +
September 16th, 2011 (Courtesy Dbltree)

We planted a mix of both grain and forage sorghum from Pheasants Forever in between the rows of a tree planting in early July. Earlier planting was prevented due to wet weather and after planting we did not receive a drop of rain until August 30th which is interesting because we can show the significance of utilizing diversified crops that help prevent a total failure due to weather related problems.

I had planted a few rows in June but it failed due to drowning and after 4 years of wet spring/summer weather I took it for granted that 2011 would be more of the same and simply tilled in 200#'s or urea per acre, broadcasted 6-8#'s of milo seed and cultipacked to cover. Had I lightly incorporated the seed, germination would have been swift and growth more robust but because it laid on the top 1/4" of soil and received no rain...it was a tough go and much of it took weeks to germinate and in fact some did not germinate until a significant rain event n late August. I sprayed with atrazine at the maximum allowable rate which is not enough by itself to control pigweed which happily germinated while the milo was delayed although no other weeds were a problem.

Here you can see the dramatic height difference between the forage varieties and the shorter grain sorghums


In no case did the pigweed have any real effect on the sorghum


and the severe drought did not have any effect on the growth of the sorghum once germinated


The short grain sorghum or milo is producing some great, highly attractive grain heads, although they are attractive to both deer and birds of all shapes and sizes!


Some high points are this...

1) Milo can be planted very late and still provide a great source of fall and winter food. Wild Game Food sorghum requires only 60 days to mature and is far less likely to suffer predation by deer then corn or beans.

2) Milo is extremely drought resistant, although less so on sandy dry soils where it should be planted earlier and slightly deeper (2" deep in sand) so this makes mile a viable option in drought prone areas or areas where wet spring weather prevents the planting of longer season crops such as corn.

3) Milo can out compete most weeds if you can provide some initial control with atrazine or simazine is used and if row planted cultivation can be used until plants are high enough to out compete weeds.

4) Like corn, sorghum provides both cover and food but if the shorter grain sorghum is used it is far less susceptible to wind damage. If high tannin milo's are planted, wildlife will not eat the grain until frosts and freezes sweeten the grain which helps insure the grain will be there during hunting season!

More information on the subject of growing milo at this link:

Growing grain sorghum

Seed sources:

Sorghum Seed

PF Blizzard Buster seed

PF Covey Rise seed

Milo loves nitrogen so plan on using 200#'s pr acre of 46-0-0 urea tilled in at planting for best results... :emoji_wink:


5 year old buck +
June 17, 2012 (Courtesy Dbltree)

I bought milo seed and mixed with free RR soybeans picked up thru NWTF and the IDNR.

Plant milo at 6-10#'s and soybeans at 50#'s per acre :emoji_thumbsup:


5 year old buck +
November 1st 2013 (Courtesy Dbltree)

Jess planted milo/grain sorghum on a farm in NC MO and the landowner reports that deer are already feeding on it.

I like milo better then corn because coons and squirrels don't feed on it...

and deer rarely feed on the growing milo, whereas they often decimate corn and soybeans by mid summer.

Milo is a short season, dryland crop that is very drought tolerant and a fantastic food/cover source for upland birds such as quail, pheasants and turkeys not to mention less expensive to grow than corn. Grain sorghum is worth adding to your rotation to add diversity to your habitat program... :emoji_thumbsup: