designing 71 acres in Kansas ag

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
In December I bought 71 acres in south central Kansas (south of Wichita). The western 31 is ag, rotating corn, soybeans & wheat. Its the only corn in the area. The eastern 40 has 4-5 springs that seep water year round. The creek has no flow entering the property (unless its rained), and around 5-10 gpm leaving the property. For Kansas, this is wet ground.

Access is gravel road bordering the west side. The east side borders interstate highway (I could maybe access from this side, but its not legal).

The satelite image is old, there are more trees in the eastern grass than shown in this image. This is some of the best cover in the area. The trees are mostly Osage Orange, with some red cedars, and very few of anything else.

What I've done so far:
- Planted 25 eastern white pine seedlings, 10 feet apart, along the 250 feet most exposed to the highway.
- Planted Kanssas Forest Service "pollinator bundle" along the creek (5 American plum, 5 Chokecherry, 5 Golden Current, 3 False Indigo, 5 Elderberry, 3 Button bush, 4 Eastern Red Bud)
- Planted 4 apple trees (near the southern property line)
- Planted around 25 corkscrew willow cuttings along the highway fence (spread along 50 feet that's always wet because of the spring).
- Burned around 20 acres on the east side.
- Moved around 25 cedars to the highway fence line before burning.
- Removed a few cedars the fire didn't get
- Made a couple brush piles for rabbit & birds in the north east corner

Near term plans:
- Plant sunflower, millet, milo (mostly for doves)
- drill a well or two

On the agenda for the next year(s)
- continue planting pines along the highway for visual screening
- build 2 story shed/hunting blind along the southern property line
- build 2-4 acre pond (around the hook in the creek south of the ag)

Neighbors:
Mostly ag, very little cover. Currently most of the neighborhood is wheat. I think they rotate mostly with soybeans. I've been told no one else in the area is doing corn.
1 Mile away: a few acres of WHA (walk-in hunting access): that's private land that leases hunting rights to the state for the public. Otherwise its all private land around.

My general plan:
eventually I'll have good walk in access along the northern and southern property lines.
I'm not planning much in the way of traditional "food plots" for deer, but would like to encourage good native stuff and I'm open to things that provide food when the ag is empty.
Mostly I think my opportunity is to get great cover with trees and tall grasses, and focus on year round browse.

I don't know much about the deer patterns yet. When I got posession in December, I saw one 4 point buck at 350 yards in the first 3 sits. The 4th day the wind was better and I was able to hunt sit in a tripod along the southern property line. A dozen or so deer swarmed me and I got a nice 8 point. Its greening up after the burn and now I'm seeing deer on the trail cam day and night. Two more trail cams arrived today so I'll start learning more about their patterns.

I'd appreciate suggestions. Specific or general...
 

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Catscratch

5 year old buck +
Congrats on the purchase. I bet I'm not far east of you (in the Flinthills).

Sounds like you a plan already. I would probably add a mix of clovers and chicory in with your grasses or maybe a couple of strips of it in front of the shed you plan on building. Plus think about digging a pond to take advantage of those springs. Might help for an evening dove shoot too.


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ksJoe

5 year old buck +
Do you think clover and chircory are preferable to alfalfa?

BTW, this is classified as "highly erodable land" by usda. I'm not planning on discing anything. I'm hoping to get by with a drag harrow behind my atv for planting.

thanks for the reply
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Looks like a nice property. Initial observation is you have a nice wooded travel corridor from one corner of your property to adjoining properties.

provide a better aerial with your property outlined zoomed in between the scale of your 1st & 2nd pic above.

Add North South arrows on pic.

The non-ag back half of your property looks interesting. What in the soil condition wet/dry and what is the vegetation like?
 

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
All satelite images I've posted are "North up".

The soil condition on the eastern half is mixed. There is maybe 2-3 acres that's very rocky with minimal vegetation. About that much or a little more is classified as "wetland" by USDA. I have some paperwork from when a former owner considered converting the eastern part to ag, and USDA designated the areas I'm calling springs as "wetlands". Most of it looks like fertile soil with a mix a grasses and native plants.

Something underground is forcing the water up above the water level in the creek. I think a shale rock shelf under the eastern half slopes up to the surface. There is ground with standing water on it (at all times), where the water is 10 feet above the water level in the creek 50-75 yards away from it. That situation exists in several places. Its weird.
 

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bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
Nice area. We all could recommend a ton of things. I got 2 big ones.

Those wet areas, improve them a bit, like dig them out a touch. IF it gets real real dry, they'll be able to get water. Some years it might be an amazing early season spot. The pond is nice, but spending an hour with a shovel could make it a ton better. OF course think where deer may want to move in cover to these spots, one might be more attractive.

We all love going to our hunting spot. But, we spend little time actually hunting. Mostly we camp, work, target shoot, a few pbr's by the campfire. Pick a corner and start making some cover between your camper / cabin / truck parking / and your hunt...........
 

b116757

5 year old buck +
I just planted a 12 acre HEL old ag field in Southeast Kansas I wasn’t going to put up a 1/4 mile of fence for just 12 acres and it was centrally located on the 480 on that side of the road anyhow. I have maybe a handful of pin oaks on the property and miles around me there are none. I’m planting everything on 40’ row spacing and 20’ tree spacing.
Last spring

50 English oak
50 Swamp chestnut iak
25 Chinkapin oak
20-30 apple and pear trees
5 Chinese Chestnuts

This spring
50 Nuttal oak
50 Shumard oak
50 Black oak
50 Scarlet oak
50 pawpaw
50 persimmon
25 Blackjack oak
25 Pin Oak
30 more apple and pear trees
25 Chinese Chestnuts

Contact your local NRCS office ask for the state forester for your county they will cost share on a project like this for habitat improvement/HEL protection. The NRCS folks are geared towards ag the Forester will know about this particular program.

5’ tree tubes and 3x3 weed mats on everything.

Oh and forget the well just have pond put in.
 

Catscratch

5 year old buck +
Do you think clover and chircory are preferable to alfalfa?

BTW, this is classified as "highly erodable land" by usda. I'm not planning on discing anything. I'm hoping to get by with a drag harrow behind my atv for planting.

thanks for the reply
You can plant via Throw-n-mow. No need for tillage.
If alfalfa is in the area clover might offer a "new" draw. Both clover and alfalfa is attractive.

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b116757

5 year old buck +
I would for plots just roundup and borrow the NRCS office no till drill to plant.
 

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
Those wet areas, improve them a bit, like dig them out a touch.
I've thought about digging them out a bit and using the dirt to make a small dam. See the yellow lines in this topo map. They form natural ditches, so it wouldn't take much to make them hold 3-4 feet of water. Maybe a 10 yard by 50 yard triangle. Thoughts?
 

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buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
If you are by the interstate or you by the turnpike? I am south of wichita just on east side of Arkansas river
 

buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
Are you going to rent out the farmland or plant it to something?You can get shrubs from Kansas forestry or MO forestry,I would have to look closer but cover may be your weak spot and either turn that field into cover with natural growth or NWSG. I would also plant pears and apples but make sure the pears are fire blight resistant and the apples are cedar apple rust resistant. Also if you look at gov plans I wouldn't let anyone do a wetland test as it can affect you forever.
 

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
its the turnpike.
There is a farmer farming the west 31 acres for shares. I plan on continuing that arrangement.

I wouldn't let anyone do a wetland test as it can affect you forever
I think the former owner may have done that.
 

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
what is the vegetation like?
I was down there today and took some pictures. This is in the area burned late Feb.
 

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buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
Be interesting following along.I always said a guy could take a farm field and have it holding deer in a couple years.Fast growing shrubs like sand hill plum and fragrant sumac make lots of cover. If you decide to plant alot of tree or shrubs contact kansas forestry and get a pull be hind planter if you have access to a tractor
 

TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
Be interesting following along.I always said a guy could take a farm field and have it holding deer in a couple years.Fast growing shrubs like sand hill plum and fragrant sumac make lots of cover. If you decide to plant alot of tree or shrubs contact kansas forestry and get a pull be hind planter if you have access to a tractor

I have had good service from Kansas forestry

Sandhill plum and fragrant sumac must be bad ass because i can grow them in east texas

bill
 

buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
Beside being able to eat sandhill plums I like them because deer can hammer them and they come right back and I have ran fire through them and the times I accidently did it they made it
 

ksJoe

5 year old buck +
It appears that I have a lot of sandhill plum.

I had been using "Plant Net", a phone app to id plants. It required several pictures to get a mediocre guess on some plants. Many it didn't have an opinion on.

I finally quit wasting my time with it and paid for "Picture This". Even giving it bad pictures of the things I planted this year, it got them all right. It seems to be very accurate. It tells me the large thicket I have is sandhill plum. Now I need to spend some time out there playing with the app to figure out what I have.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
It appears that I have a lot of sandhill plum.

I had been using "Plant Net", a phone app to id plants. It required several pictures to get a mediocre guess on some plants. Many it didn't have an opinion on.

I finally quit wasting my time with it and paid for "Picture This". Even giving it bad pictures of the things I planted this year, it got them all right. It seems to be very accurate. It tells me the large thicket I have is sandhill plum. Now I need to spend some time out there playing with the app to figure out what I have.

I think Picture this is a great app but it's certainly not immune from being wrong in many occasions. Depends what you're taking a picture of. My wife brought a new plant home from a funeral today and i took a picture of 3 different leaves with picture this, all 3 pictures got different plant results. I've tried a bunch of tree bark over the winter too and there were numerous times I know it is wrong.
 

Troubles Trees

5 year old buck +
Congrats on the property bud, that looks like a very promising spot! When starting with a blank slate I always give the same advice, it starts with understanding what the deer (or whatever critters you are after) are doing now, what is already there on the property to feed or hold them there and what is on the surrounding properties.
If it were me and I had ag fields for miles around me I wouldn't go big on food plots but I would plant food source trees with shooting/sight lanes strategically placed and plant the lanes as your food plots. Conversely if everything around me is woods and thickets, I would go bigger on diverse food plots. If there is no cover for miles, plant thickets with lots of food sources like Oaks, apples and Pears sprinkled in. If there aren't any Oaks for miles, plant a variety of Oaks and Chestnuts and maybe even Pecans. If there are a ton of Oaks in the area but no soft mass, plant a variety of soft mass and add Chestnuts. Variety is the key for many reasons but to me the most important one is if you don't have any Oaks in your area and you plant all of one type of oak you will suffer boom and bust cycles of food sources, which in turn produces boom and bust years of hunting.

I don't know much about Osage Orange but unless deer eat the fruit or browse on the buds they are as useless to me as Maple and Poplar trees. I would cut them down and plant useful trees. Also important given the crazy time we currently live in with supplies being hit and miss and prices reflecting that, it never hurts to have a grocery store in your possession. For that reason I always try and consider food sources that my Deer and Turkey will eat, and what can also feed my family like Chestnuts, Apples, Pears, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Plumbs etc.

Hope that helps!
 
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