Fall/ Winter plot - Oats or WR/WW/Peas/Oats Blend?

bgusty

5 year old buck +
Hey all, you guys were super helpful when I put in my first ever food plot (just a basic clover plot with WR cover), so back at it for more advice.

In Southern MN (USDA Zone 4). Looking to put in roughly a 1 acre plot. Equipment - have a tractor, disc, brush hog, and backpack spreader.

Parents farm and they don't like roundup, so generally roundup or any other spray is a no go.

What's my best option for a later season food plot? Looking to use a local seed company, and they have a straight forage oats or a blend that I'm looking at. I kind of lean towards the blend since it has Winter Rye and Wheat which can help with weed control and will come back next spring as well.


Given that I probably can't spray, what's my best method of planting? Mow, disc, plant, and top-dress with fertilizer? I know a lot of the no-till folks would recommend skipping the discing, but without being able to spray, I feel like that's my best bet for getting rid of some of the weeds and letting the other stuff come in.

I'm planning on putting some 19-19-19 on my clover plots to refresh them, so was just going to add that to my planting for this year as well.

Also, what should I be shooting for as a rough planting date? End of July? Early August? I planted my clover and brassica plots just before Labor day in 2020 and the brassicas didn't really have time to put on much growth. Thinking I want to get it in a little earlier this year.

Thanks in advance guys!
 

trapperm

A good 3 year old buck
If you can’t spray -fertilize, disc, plant wheat (oats frost out early here in Mn) and then drag or very lightly disc. I’m in Bemidji and the week before Labor Day is dependable here for wheat/rye.

Call it a season.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
I’m a newby so I’m just sharing what makes sense based on a whole lot of reading over the past year. I like that mix, it’ll give you something growing in the spring to compete with weeds and provide forage plus it has a legume. I’d probably toss some red clover in that mix as well for additional growth in the spring and some more nitrogen fixing for next years plots.

July would make sense for brassicas but might be a bit early for grains. I’d be worried about the grains being more mature than desired come late oct into November.
 

ruskbucks

5 year old buck +
I would definitely go with the blend over just oats. Peas are like candy to deer. Rye is beneficial to the soil. It will also feed deer and turkeys in early spring when the actually need it the most after winter. It's going to be tiff without spraying unless you have a heavy disc. I would mow,disc, plant, and light disc one more time and skip the fertilizer with rye. The stuff will grow without any dirt. Fertilizer might get it going to fast and mature to fast unless you plant late. I actually plant my rye in early July. The deer keep it mowed down from July thru winter. I tried planting in July to get more growth so it would give the something to dig for under the snow. It didnt work cause the ate it down to much.
 

bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
Whats in the plot now? Whats the history of the field? Trouble weeds or grasses in the farm? What is actively growing on this farm?

As close as you can get to pure winter rye will be the best weed bet. Old timers used to plow, wait a week, then disc, then finish the seed bed while plant a week after that. Turning up soil bring new weed seeds to the top.

The trick to winter rye, oats, and clover is they grow well in cooler weather, when the weeds and grasses like warmer weather.

You could mix the fertilizer with the seeds, broadcast them, then pass the discs over them lightly just to scratch the top a bit. Mow down whats left standing, and use the tractor tires as a cultipacker. One tire next to the other. Dont have to be perfect just get one tire pass on everything. Move over a tire width until you get all the gap between the tires on the 1st lane, then you got your 10-12ft, then repeat again until it's done.

If the discs clog up with the grass / weeds, then mow after you broadcast. Triple 19 can be hot on young seed. If you can buy a few bags of pelletized lime and mix up with the seed, so you can evenly broadcast it over that acre. The Lime helps release minerals in the soil. Commercial AG tries to keep the seed and the fertilizer separate in the planting "trench" made by the drill planter. You could add fertilizer after seed has grown a bit. Some folks fertilize in the winter before a planting, some do it afterwards, some can plant with drills that put it in the ground nearby. IF you can plant the seed and fertilizer in a separate pass, thats good. The fertilizer dust from the nitrogen and phosphourus an damage the seed. Oats are very commonly mixed with pot ash (pottasium) . I have mixed fertilizer, lime, and seed and spread it all at once and everything seemed ok. Starting the 1st week of august, keep an eye out on the weather, If you can do this before a good rain, thats what your aiming for.

Oats are good, but dont survive after a few 15 deg F nights. Deer love them. I like that the oats don't surive when making a clover plot. It gives the clover some elbow room. This is against the no-till grain / legume year round food plot grain. However, nothing stoping you from broadcasting more oats in late winter / spring.

The seed needs soil contact. Pusing it down well with a cultipacker or the tractors tires makes the contact. The seed has to get down before the knocked over grass does. The thatch from the rolled over grass / weeds keeps the seed soil moist.

While you are going to buy seed, buy about 8lbs of clover seed. You'll be frost seeding this sometime in the winter. Before the 1st snow, or after the snow has melted, but the ground is in a melt / freeze cycle. Even spring time after the "ice shards" on the ground that mixes the seed in the dirt.

The mix looks good to me. more diversity the better. Same goes for clover, if you can buy some medium red, ladino, dutch white, annual crimson, berseem, birdsfoot trefoil, its all good together.

I see my mixed up mess plot every morning in my backyard. Sometimes the deer like the dandelion, somethimes they like plantains growing in there. They often like the clover. Sometimes in the early summer, they just want to nibble the tree leafs and grape vines along my backyard. You dont need soybean or corn to get deer in your field. However, deer like taller cover. Winter rye isnt perfect tall cover, but if they can sit down and be hidden, they're not that freaked out. Some folkd like to blend millet, sorghum, or some corn to get that cover. All of this is hard to do end of summer though.

Mowing frequently before the august planting can help cut down on the weed seeds.Some weeds just grow another seed head lower, a decent amount don't though. Keep the brushhog RPM's up high to chop it good.
 

TenPoint

5 year old buck +
No need to complicate it. Plant the blend. Spread fertilizer, disc it in, throw seed. Cover and/or pack if you can. Profit. ;)
 

bgusty

5 year old buck +
If you can’t spray -fertilize, disc, plant wheat (oats frost out early here in Mn) and then drag or very lightly disc. I’m in Bemidji and the week before Labor Day is dependable here for wheat/rye.

Call it a season.
Good to know on the grain deadline. Good luck!
 

bgusty

5 year old buck +
I would definitely go with the blend over just oats. Peas are like candy to deer. Rye is beneficial to the soil. It will also feed deer and turkeys in early spring when the actually need it the most after winter. It's going to be tiff without spraying unless you have a heavy disc. I would mow,disc, plant, and light disc one more time and skip the fertilizer with rye. The stuff will grow without any dirt. Fertilizer might get it going to fast and mature to fast unless you plant late. I actually plant my rye in early July. The deer keep it mowed down from July thru winter. I tried planting in July to get more growth so it would give the something to dig for under the snow. It didnt work cause the ate it down to much.
Appreciate the input. Never thought of fertilizer being too much of a good thing.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
You will probably need to disk your ground twice to kill off more of the weeds growing there now. That mix would likely be better than straight rye, so I would use that option. If it were me I would also add some brassica seed as well. The brassica seed is small, so it would be best to spread that small seed separately from the larger seeds that can be buried deeper.

Here's the plan I would use.

Disk, wait 2 weeks, fertilize, disk, spread large seeds, lightly disk or drag, spread brassica seed on top. Then if you have a cultipacker a pass or two would help, but not entirely needed if you get timely rains.
 

Bassattackr

5 year old buck +
Disk, wait 2 weeks, fertilize, disk, spread large seeds, lightly disk or drag, spread brassica seed on top. Then if you have a cultipacker a pass or two would help, but not entirely needed if you get timely rains.

This. We don't use herbicides either on our farm and this is how we plant fall plots. Works extremely well.

Do a soil test ASAP, so you'll know what to do come fall. Even a cheap Whitetail Institute test will tell you what you need to know. Then add lime, gypsum and fertilizer as/if needed.

I wouldn't use a fertilizer with much of an N component on a (predominantly) cereal grain plot as they'll get tall and unpalatable quick, rather bring your P & K levels up as the soil test requires.. something like 200# / acre of 6-24-24 if flying blind. (Recall fertilizer labels = N - P - K). And then try for close to a 6.0 pH if you can. Anything above that is gravy..

The blend mentioned will be a better option for an all season attractiveness. Add about 3# of radishes to that mix and you'll have a great fall plot!

Rye, Oats, AWP and Radish - Nov 20th (MO)

Nov 20.jpeg

And a great stand of cover come spring - May 22nd. Note the AWP climbing the rye..

2022-05-22 Rye 2.jpg

Good luck!
 
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