Jordan1685

Kentucky food plot beginner

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So I’m new here because for one I love my realtree camo and products and two because I need some big help. My parents didn’t hunt, so I didn’t find my love for hunting til later and even then it was hard to find places to hunt and work with what I had. The places usually sucked because I put in the least desirable spot but now I’m 25 and married and one of the perks is I’ve been able to hunt my in-laws land. It’s a great spot in Anderson county, Ky and I’ve seen plenty of great deer but it’s still just not good enough. I want to draw these deer in and keep them. I have a strip approx 17yds by 140yds in a creek bottom secluded and surrounded by woods. I know I need perennials and annuals and I know there are hay fields around me because her family owns 7-800 acres all together and the few others around I don’t see any other crops. What I don’t know is if I should stick to the 60:40 ratio, what I should plant to be the biggest hit to the deer, and how I should go about planting the food plot as far as spring, fall, all perennials together or mix them up. Any help would be appreciated!

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Soybeans for annuals, period.  Deer seem to do very well on beans, and will continue eating the stubble well on into winter.  If you have a local supplier eagle RR beans are great, if not the shipping is too much to justify and would look at other options.  Been using hoosier pride roundup resistant beans here that are sold at rural king.  Have had pretty good luck with them.

For perennial would go with a mix of clovers.  All a matter of preference really, my favorite clover mix is from pennington.  Their clover blend in my experience does very well. 

Good luck, and stick around and post some pics next spring/summer.  

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Thanks for the help, I wasn't sure if I needed more variety to be more appealing. So with about half an acre should I stick with the 60:40 ratio, also I get ddg from work for free so I can put this out all year if this would affect how much of anything i put in the food plot. Should I stick with one good plot where I will know they should be going or should I have another? I would go bigger in the one spot but that's about all the room I have. Because we have been putting out corn in the field behind the house which is about right under the wifi symbol in the picture, I could put another there if it would benefit me.

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Depending on your deer density and on other available food sources, that strip that is roughly a half acre may not be big enough for a bean plot.  Here there is so much other ground around in crops that where I plant beans in the summer I am usually not hit by overbrowsing.  Hard to say whether that would be the case there.  Usually where there are fair to good deer densities you look for a minimum of an acre for a bean plot.  For a clover plot you could get away with the smaller plots and that would probably be what I would lean towards for that strip.  Here in west TN with weed competition clovers will do better planted in the fall than they do in the spring.  I would put all of that strip in one planting and look for another spot for another plot if it were me.  Also, with a fall clover planting you can add a grain for a nurse crop, I prefer wintergrazer rye grain to go with clover.  The deer will hit the rye too.    

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I have to agree 1/2 acre is not enough unless other green crops are planted closely by. Last year I leased my land out for a farmer to grow soy beans on. This was the most productive my land has ever been for deer and good hunting. The farmer I leased my land to went out of business so I leased my land this year for another farm owner to grow corn. Deer sightings are down this year in my fields. They picked up right after the corn was picked the weekend before rifle season began. Now the corn lost from the combine is eaten up and sightings are back down now.

Knowing I wasn't going to benefit from the beans this year I planted 1/2 acre of beans. They sprouted well but a week later there wasn't a bean plant showing in my plot. They virtually disappeared over night. There were two fields planted with soy beans less than a mile from my fields. Probably a total of 80 acres. The deer were in there all summer and fall long munching away. Must be the deer liked mine and headed out looking for more.

In your case I'd plant Brassicas, Rape and Kale hoping for the deer to find them after a deep frost when the turnip leaves turn the starch to sugar and attract deer. Trying to compete with large crop fields with small food plots is a real challenge. Clover is good in some cases but with farm fields covered with hay it might not be your best bet either. This depends upon what the quality of the hay actually is too. Only by trying it will you know. 

If you had the option of using a couple more acres for your plots it would be helpful but that is up to the owner and you to discuss.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Lynn

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Lynn gives some good advice, I would check with others in your area before planting a greens or brassicas mix though.  I had always heard how deer would hammer purple tops and any pretty well and type of greens.  I tried them a couple times and also tried other mixes with brassicas.  Deer here do not seem to prefer them over other sources and will walk right through them to eat grass, I watched deer too many times to count walk through great looking plots to eat just plain old grass.  I have tried a few times planting deer specific mixes and while the deer did eat some of the tops immediately following our first hard freeze, they did not touch them after that.  With one of my plantings we had about a half acre of turnips that rotted in the ground and stunk, not the results I hoped for at all.  Pretty well the same results here for brassicas mixes that had sugar beets.  From all I have heard northern deer will really hit them hard and will even dig up turnips and eat them, it is hit and miss for southern areas.  I am in west Central TN, about 45-50 miles to the west KY border as a crow flies.  

With regards to the clover, it does make a difference if you do it right.  A well fertilized and properly limed clover plot will be a preferred source for deer over a pasture or hay ground that is not maintained quite the same.  

Best advice I could give would be to ask someone in your area how the deer do on brassicas before planting them.  

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