spring oats/cover crop

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by buckhunter10, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. buckhunter10

    buckhunter10 Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about planting a few plots back into clover/chicory/alfalfa combo this spring. I never have used a cover crop. Normally, I just spray, plant and spray.

    Anyhow- if I want to try planting spring oats as a cover crop with my mix above. Do I just plant it at the same time, let it grow up with the plot, then just mow it off before it goes to seed?

    thank you!
     
  2. DocHolladay

    DocHolladay Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    Hardiness Zone:
    7a
    You can let them go to head and the turkeys, quail, and other birds will eat them. The deer even nibble on it. Of course you will end up with volunteers, but that's not a bad thing, unless you are looking for pure stands of whatever your next crop is. I left mine up and the turkeys picked at it, the quail and other small birds got what fell from the wind blowing and turkey picking at the oats. I then mowed it down about mid June/early July to start preparing for my fall plot. It was amazing how many birds and other game poured into the field once the seed was on the ground. I didn't know I had that many turkeys around.
     
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  3. dogdoc

    dogdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    Oats would work just fine and I agree with doc. I'd let them go to seed. The deer around my place will strip every seed head when it comes to oats. Never see them eat the wheat or rye seed heads but they love the oats. The oats shouldn't get super tall either so I doubt it will shade out you clover and chicory. I'm not a big fan of spring planting perennial clovers. Just seem I have more weed problems and the clover doesn't get a deep enough root system to survive our hot dry summers. Fall planting clovers just seem to do better with less spring/summer weeds and gives them more of a head start for a dry hot summer.
     
  4. buckhunter10

    buckhunter10 Well-Known Member

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    I've had some good luck in the past espically if I mow often. I'm hopin the oats will help with the weeds. Might plant antler king clover, chicory, radish mix. Radish is the cover crop in it. I'd add oats and mow a few times.

    Come fall id overseed with turnips, rye, and oats before a rain.


    Thoughts?
     
  5. dogdoc

    dogdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never planted radishes in the spring so can't help you on that but I'm sure the Antler King seeds are high quality. However, I'm sure you could save some money by mixing it yourself. Most local co-ops around here carry the seeds in the AK mix but if you are doing a smaller plot the convenience of pre-mix seeds may be worth the extra cost. When I started my last perennial plot of ladino clover, chicory 2 falls ago I did include radishes in the mix. Worked out great! I also think plotters in the more Northern states can get away with doing a spring perennial clover plot with better success than us in the Southern part of the country.

    good luck
    todd
     
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  6. Cardmines52

    Cardmines52 New Member

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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  7. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Ladino and dutch white clover is tough to start in the spring. Early last spring I was stupid and tried it again, total waste of seed and effort. I ended up planting corn on the bare dirt in late May. I was always told alfalfa is more trouble than it's worth, never tried it, but red & yellow clover mix starts much better in the spring, oats is an excellent nurse crop for it. Drill or disc in the oats to a half inch to inch deep then broadcast the clover on top. While I'd rather have ladino deer will go for any kind of clover. Cultipack the seed if you can, it'll get a better germination rate. An idea, mow half and let the other half go to seed heads? I buy my seed from farm supply stores, farmers require top quality seed and it's cheaper than wildlife mixes. Important to seed the clover at the rate recommended. Add some chicory for a real killer plot!
     

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