Rye vs Wheat/Oats 2020 Edition

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by cutman, Mar 26, 2020 at 10:46 AM.

  1. cutman

    cutman Administrator Staff Member

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    I recently had a eureka moment that I thought y'all would find interesting. Last year (2019), I found most of my sheds along the ditches in my 10 acre main field. This year (2020), I found 0 sheds in the same spot. However, I found a bunch of sheds in a 3 acre field 300 yards away. I thought that was odd until my eureka moment: the sheds are around the wheat/oat fields.

    2019 - 5 acres of rye, 0 sheds
    2019 - 5 acres of wheat/oats, 7 sheds

    2020 - 11 acres of rye, 0 sheds
    2020- 3.5 acres of wheat/oats, 8 sheds

    I know this is only anecdotal, but it's pretty obvious to me - deer prefer wheat/oats to the rye. It's not exactly a fair trial though because the rye is much further along than the wheat/oats by the time bucks start dropping antlers. Up north where it gets really cold over the winter and rye's durability is necessary, rye makes more sense because it won't winter kill. But in more mild climates, it might make more sense to focus on the wheat and oats.

    Note: I plant my wheat and oats mixed together in the drill. Next year I think I'll do wheat fields, oat fields, and rye fields separately to continue this experiment.
     
  2. gut_pile

    gut_pile Active Member

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  3. catscratch

    catscratch Well-Known Member

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    Wheat has always been more attractive for my deer. I plant some rye but it isn't for deer as much as it's for plot diversity.
     
  4. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    cut, I’ve already done that experiment two years running on the place I used to own. I had a foodplot shaped somewhat like an arrow, shaft and head included. The shaft was WINA clover, so deer were always in it during the summer. The “head” was like a V actually, with the tip pointed toward my blind. Deer could and did come from left or right, and one year I planted wheat on the left and Elbon rye on the right. The next year I switched. Most of the deer would graze briefly in the rye and move on to the wheat and linger until they left. That’s anecdotal also, but enough that I don’t plant rye anymore. Wheat just doesn’t fail me where I hunt. It’s easy to grow and lasts all season even into late spring, and the deer like it. Even the cussed hogs have learned to eat it, which perplexes me some, but........
     
  5. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    Because oats don’t survive our winters, that’s not an option. I’ve been mixing Triticale and Rye so I have no comparison. I may attempt a three way test. Unfortunately, won’t be able to judge by sheds. Once winter sets in and the snows pile up, the deer are on brassicas, corn or natural browse, rarely find a shed anywhere else.
     
  6. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    What you are saying makes perfect sense. Our deer prefer anything over rye until January and February when the snow is blowing and the rye still has some green growth. Then they eat rye like candy. So, further south where the winters are milder and there's no snow logic would say that rye would probably lose its value as a deer planting. Here's one of our rye plots with a dozen deer in it yesterday in the middle of the day.
    Of all the food choices in the neighborhood (there aren't many) this is number one.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    Wow, you are a month ahead of us in green up.
     
  8. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Besides the rye everything is still mostly brown. Clover is just getting started at about 2-3" tall.
     
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  9. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    I seemed to not see much diff in attraction of wheat over rye except in ryes early spring greenup. But I will say I had lost some farm attraction as farmers started sowing rye in their harvested corn in the fall. I've now noticed the WW is more an attraction for me since they can basically access rye most any farm. I've always been a huge fan of rye, especially in no till fall plantings, but WW is becoming more the option. Good observations, Cut.
     

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