Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by Aramark, Dec 5, 2018.
What are you guys planting to raise Organic matter?
This time of year - abruzzi rye and crimson clover.
Nothing this time of year I like a mix to build poor soil and make organic matter, you should do research and find crops that grow well in Minnesota. My main go-to planting in PA is small grains, rye is a fall planting, oats is spring, wheat is either or. Buckwheat is an excellent soil builber, sunn hemp, sunflowers, pearl millet, cowpeas, radishes, rape and turnips have all done well for me. I've mixed the above nine seeds together and spring planted with a drill to try to get a new field in the woods started. The result was almost too successful, I had a jungle that the deer wouldn't even go through, and the resulting dead organic matter was so thick that I had difficulty cutting through it the following spring with a no till drill. Good luck with your planting!
I like a lot of the plants that mennoniteman posted. In my opinion organic mater is more in the process than what you grow. If you grow good roots and don't disc in the thatch it will build up om.
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Well about anything planted or natural is raising organic matter right now. As the clovers, and ryes, and brassicas, and weeds and grasses are dying and decomposing, they are, with the help of the micro organisms within the soil, adding to the organic composition as I sleep and stay warm.
Do rotations, don't plant the same plant each year, and/or allow fields to go fallow and do what nature has been doing for the ages. And as much as I hate it, fescue and other grasses are some of the best soil builders out there. Good luck.
That there I think is the reason for the chronic misunderstanding of the process. The pursuit should have never been about "raising" organic matter. It should have always been about how to "stop destroying" your organic matter.
But Aramark asks a good question. Planting corn, beans, sugar beets, or planting clover without a nurse crop, on marginal soils that are low in OM is probably not going to produce a good crop or produce much more OM. Sometimes a food plot guy is just desperate to get something, anything, established and growing, and then be able to transition to throw n mow or better crops. And there are crops that will grow OM in just about any condition with some lime and fertilizer.
He may just have cleared woodland.
My answer might have been a little too short tempered. But in reality any plant growing and decomposing is doing some work for the OM. Granted some will mine nutrients such as tubored deep roots of brassica or even most so called weeds while others, such as clovers are adding nutrients such as N to the soil. Even the deep woods soil may have excellent OM if managed properly. Mine certainly do despite less than ideal soils compared to the midwest.
Do a soil test and make sure you request OM and CEC readings and you will have a better grasp as to what it anything is needed.
Keep in mind, that it is not only the plant that is working but also the micro and macro organisms that should be present in good soils that really are the work horses. That is why soil disruptions can reverse OM cultures.
And I am very serious, even tho they can become a monoculture, grasses, and the dreaded fescue are great soil builders. Good luck.
Woods soils generally have a rich layer of OM and nutrients, but the layer is usually acidic and often only a few inches thick with subsoil underneath, some of it getting mixed into the topsoil during the land clearing process which almost always makes a poor start for growing ag crops. Newly cleared land should be seeded quickly after clearing, then have patience for several years as the soil conditions to growing vegetables instead of trees.
I guess this is a loaded question, but if you only disc a few inches deep, say 2"/3", wouldn't that keep your OM right at the top of the ground ? I have a 3/4 acre plot that's fairly sandy, has lots of pressure, and although deer are in it each and every time I hunt it, the crop never gets very tall. PH is right, fertilizer according to soil tests, my process is the same as all my other plots, and I never disc it over 4" deep. It might be just the browsing pressure, 6 or 8 deer can eat lots of groceries in a small plot when they stay in it but I can't make it bigger because it's not mine. I guess I should put an exclusion cage in it. DUH !
Most food plot crops want to put their roots down deeper than that, by discing deeper you may get taller crops because of getting nutrients down where the roots want to get there water in dry seasons. But in sandy soil too much tillage works against you. So, as little tillage as possible and deeper when you do it would be my five cents. Try mixing in a species that can withstand heavy grazing pressure better would be another thought that comes to mind. What r u planting now?
To add to Mennonitemans comments ..... if you have 20 minutes
In that particular plot, wheat and crimson clover. The wheat has always been a good draw for fall/winter where I hunt, and the crimson in the hope that I could have something for them until the middle of summer. I was gonna mow the wheat before it headed completely out to keep the hogs from being interested in it, but looks like that won't be a problem since it's eaten to a nub.
There are plenty of deer and very few openings to plant on this property, at least the portion that I hunt. It's basically 16,000 acres of pine trees in various stages of growth, with hardwoods in the drainages, so a 3/4 ac. plot was all I was able to do. I can plant an extra couple acres behind me for spring/summer, but I have to terminate it before October because that's downwind when I'm hunting and I can't even see it from my stand. So......my "new" plan is to install a protein feeder to help with the spring/summer antler growth and lactation stage, and just try to put the best wheat plot in that I can. I wish I had a drill, but I can't justify the cost.
As to tillage, I usually disc and plant this plot on the same day because it's so easy to disc. I normally burn it with gly, disc and plant a couple weeks later and I'm done, so it's getting minimum tillage now. I think too many mouths is my problem.
Farmer D, I'm about to watch that vid ! Thanks !
Maybe you need to consider a few perennials to up your annual tonnage? You can always over seed wheat, in it, in the fall. Maybe Durana, medium red clover and chicory would be good for starters, to feed year round. Eventually the Durana will overpower everything, but you can always over seed more chicory and MRC in future years. Regal Graze is another good one too.
As pointed out in the video, chicory is a good deer dewormer, as well as having a deep tap root, in case you get a lot of dry weather out there.
..... and all of this will just add to the organic matter. This was a thin spot in a "now" 10 year old Durana plot .... lots of organic matter produced. And as you can see it just keeps reseeding itself. And this is "lighter" soil.
I planted this plot this year before I discovered medium red clover, so I used crimson. When I plant it next year, I'll use red clover because from what you guys have said, it's a better choice. I wonder if I shouldn't plant rye grain (Elbon?) instead of wheat to give some weed suppression. I have to get this right pretty quick, I ain't gonna live forever !
You posted while I was typing, got interrupted by a phone call. I don't really know how a white clover would work, as it gets dry here in the summer, and the sand is deep. I'll try the medium red and the chicory though, I had good luck with that on another place, although with different soils. One thing I don't think will work is overseeding with any type of grain. The hogs will simply destroy the plot looking for the grain seeds. I can't throw and mow anywhere in East Texas that I've tried, the hogs are in it immediately.
Thanks for the suggestions y'all !
If your deer like rye, then go for it!
Food Plotting is experimenting, so sometimes you just need to try a few different things. I don't think you'll be disappointed with MRC and you can always add Crimson back in there too. Just some extra info here .... to help get you close to a year round food source.
The reason my first answer was a little too pointy is that I was pissed that so much of this info was sent down the tubes on the old forum thanks to the SOBs at you know who! Had nothing to do w the OP question. There was so many years of info there that is very hard to get back up to speed w a new forum and everyone spread over 3 forums. Such a loss. Done ranting.
Drycreek u are correct on that exclusion cage. And anyone w sandy soil or any soil for that matter ,just has to see CNCs pics of the 2 ft deep holes he dug over the years showing soils developing from nothing to nearly a foot deep.
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