Winter Rye/Wheat plot

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by rusty1034, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. rusty1034

    rusty1034 Active Member

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    Location:
    St. Lawrence County NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    4
    Yesterday I checked on a little 1 acre winter rye/wheat plot that was planted late in the summer or 2018. I had looked at it a couple of times during 2019, and really wasn’t impressed. For some reason, it looked much better to me yesterday.

    It’s on a very rocky piece that is difficult to till very well. I think my plan at this point will be to either do a throw and mow with some clover around Labor Day, or let it go, and try frost seeding clover in late winter 2020.

    I found a few trails through the plot, and some well used beds.



    IMG_0099.JPG IMG_0100.JPG IMG_0101.JPG


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  2. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
    6a
    Labor day seems rather late for your area? I think I'd consider planting a throw-n-mow right away. Throw-n-mow with a heavy seeding rate and spray roundup right after mowing. Have you noticed your deer eating any seed heads? I like planting spring oats, right now the deer and turkeys are hitting the oat seed heads hard. I had winter rye, but the deer don't seem to eat the seed heads.
     
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  3. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Monroe County, WV
    Why does it look so much better now than your previous visits? That wheat and rye are doing their work building the soil and controlling weeds.
    I'd go late Aug with WR, oats, peas, RC. You can throw in half WW/WR if you'd rather. Frost seed WC early spring. Ph and soil readings to determine needs before planting will help.
    Or we can talk letting it go native and save money on seed. Good luck. Great looking field.
     
  4. rusty1034

    rusty1034 Active Member

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    Location:
    St. Lawrence County NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    4
    I’m thinking of leaving the rye/wheat standing until Labor Day, which is when I typically plant those crops. The current plants will no longer be growing at that point, so I don’t think there’s a need for a spray.

    I would simply broadcast the appropriate amount of clover, then mow the standing rye/wheat onto the clover seed. The rye/wheat would naturally “reseed” itself, acting as a cover crop for the clover. I could run a Cultipacker over the area after mowing if needed.

    In the early summer of 2020, I would mow the growing rye/wheat, hopefully releasing the clover crop.

    Im still up and in the air, but that’s one scenario for this new, very rocky hidden plot.

    Thanks - Rusty


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  5. rusty1034

    rusty1034 Active Member

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    Location:
    St. Lawrence County NY
    Hardiness Zone:
    4
    I think it looks better to me now because I wasn’t expecting the wheat to make it through the winter. When I checked the plot earlier this year, I didn’t realize that the plot was still 50% wheat. The wheat was much shorter than the rye, making me think half of the rye was doing poorly.

    Now I see that both the rye and wheat did what they were supposed to do, and I have a pretty thick plot of what is great nesting and bedding cover, waiting to become organic matter in a new plot. Additionally, there’s lots of grain seed waiting to be consumed, or to reseed for the next cycle of this plot.

    If I mow the plot around Labor Day, I’m concerned that it would be too late in the year for any substantial growth for anything other than WR. From what I can tell, I’m in zone 4b.

    So my question at this point-

    1) Broadcast clover seed around Labor day, and mow the current crop of WW/WR on top with the idea that the WW/WR seed from the 2019 crop will germinate and regrow, with a mowing of the new WR/WW to release clover.

    or

    2) Leave the current crop,of WR/WR standing through the winter, with the idea that it will get knocked down, allowing the seed to get eaten, and then frost seeding clover in 2020.

    At this point I’m leaning towards leaving it, and letting Mother Nature to do its thing with the current crop. I don’t believe the deer are going to eat the grain, but it might become available to Turkey if the plants get knocked down.

    I just had the plot cleared by a dozer in 2017, it was thorn apple and prickly ash prior to that. I don’t think I’m interested in letting it go back to native because it’s just going to revert to prickly ash again, and I’m hoping to add to available winter food for the deer, and probably use it to hunt over at some point.

    Thanks for all your input.

    Rusty


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  6. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
    6a
    If your goal is winter food, I get good results from winter rye in zone 6b. I plant around labor day and by first frost it's about 6 inches high. It stays in this stage for most of the winter and stays green for the most part. The deer hit it hard at any time that there no snow on the ground. Winter rye is the only thing green in our fields in the winter and grows anytime the temperature hits the mid forties.
     
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  7. Elkaddict

    Elkaddict Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Catskills, NY
    I’d seed heavy with clover/chicory Labor Day weekend and mow/pack.
     
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  8. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Monroe County, WV
    I let my rye and wheat go to seed and die its own death each year but I don't see much reseeding of its own. I include WR/WW with all my plantings whether they be clovers or brassicas. I've planted WR as late as early Nov in browsed brassica with good results but I would think you should have your grain/clover in the ground by mid-late Aug for good results. Deer do seem to prefer WW in my area but both work good. And check your soil tests.
     
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