Cocktail Mix


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I have been reading some Ray Archuleta and found some info on his cocktail mixes. If I am reading this correctly, he is describing warm and cool season plants in the same field. Comments?
Yes because you are trying to keep something “growing” year round. Summer plants are good for summer but mature and either die or go dormant until the next spring/summer when they begin growing again. The cool season part will provide growth when the summer portion is dormant/dead. These times between ideal conditions for each type of plant will actually let both types of plants to be growing so there is no “down time” in keeping something growing

Remember Ray is as concerned about root growth as top growth. Top growth provides shade and protection from the weather while dead roots provide access for air and water by creating channels. Live roots aid in holding the soil together. In a healthy soil we will have each, both providing benefit to the soil.

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Obviously still learning. I am a big fan of diversity. I am looking at this as a "perpetual" field. Looking for suggestions to modify it as it grows.
Bowman, you may have read the LC mix threads on here; if not you will find them invaluable. Many of us upped our food plot programs learned from the LC threads still available on this forum about plot food selection aimed at keeping a constant buffet in place which as Small Plot pointed out helps the soil as well. And of course helping the soil helps the food plot grow better deer foods.
Yes I have. You are correct about the LC info. When reading about Ray Archuleta's cocktail mixes with many species, I am asking about his suggestion of warm and coll season grasses in the same field. Most seems to be directed at farmers. I am wondering about planting different species at different times without terminating what is already growing. I have had some success with rye, wheat and clovers and am asking about creating a perpetual field to build soil. All I can come up with is overseeding, fall planted cereal grain and clovers. I am trying to get more diversity.
Last year I planted sudangrass, mowed for increased root growth, mowed later and planted a brassica, pea, clover mix and did not get that much germination, probably because the sudangrass kept growing and may have shaded out that planting. When I saw that I did not get much, I again overseeded rye and will see what I get this spring. But the sudangrass growth was a major success.
When Ray speaks of warm and cool season grasses, I do not know if he is talking about spring wheat, triticale, oats, wheat and rye or "typical" warm and cool season grasses. From what I may understand, i think what I am doing is more about rotations than creating that perpetual field. If anyone has any knowledge on Ray's system, I am all ears. Thanks.
Cereal grains are usually not called grasses, although in early growth stages they look somewhat the same, and grain is not a perpetual crop. I think he's talking about grazing grasses, warm and cool season grasses grow together just fine and don't need to be replanted every season. However, while great for farmers, these are almost worthless for deer food because deer are browsers and cannot digest more than a small percentage of grass as a portion of their overall diet. Deer will die if put in a pen with only grass to eat. That's why the guys are pointing you to the LC mix, because it's the best mix found thus far for year round deer food with a minimal amount of time and money to put it out. If you want to do winter deer plots with more money and more acres, corn and soybeans would be your next step up from the LC mix. But you would need four to ten acres and a lot more equipment and money than needed for a one acre LC plot.
I think that you answered my question on the grasses. I was looking for a magic bullet to build organic matter. Right now, I don't have enough acreage for corn.
So back to the drawing board and more reading. Thanks.
I think that you answered my question on the grasses. I was looking for a magic bullet to build organic matter. Right now, I don't have enough acreage for corn.
So back to the drawing board and more reading. Thanks.

Don’t discredit yourself too quick but instead adapt and move forward. You were looking for a magic bullet but in truth there is no single magic bullet or single management program that will work for everyone. Just like food plots, there are many ways to get the same results, but some will have good luck with one method while others will have a failure following the same method.

One must look closely to see where the difference was that caused the failure. Let’s take your Sudan Grass for instance. Once mowed, it is already established and growth begins rapidly which creates a quick canopy. Now this canopy is great for aiding in keeping weed growth in check but now so good for instance at letting another crop germinate and grow, as you have witnessed.

Now what can we do to limit a failure next time, we have a couple choices. One would be to limit or minimize the rate at which the Sudan was planted which would lead to more of an open canopy. This open canopy earlier in the year may cause weed issues so maybe it is not the best option unless we supplement that canopy with some annual that will mature before or at the time you want to overseed.

Second is the possibility to terminate the Sudan crop. This can be accomplished possibly in one of a couple of ways by either chemical application or some form of mechanical means, such as roller crimping or possibly fire. With this method we still have the benefit of the Sudan grass but also the ability to plant a second crop which we, and deer, may find more desirable under ideal planting conditions allowing germination and growth to maturity.

Remember Ray’s info is pointed at those in the Ag industry weather grazing or production crops with benefits leading to healthier soils which limit inputs for more abundant harvest. These goals are far different that what a food plotter needs, but we can adapt the great info Ray shares to fit our needs which inevitably give us similar benefit as well.

When building soils we need to look first at nature, as nature will diagnose its own issues and the appropriate plants will develop to address those issues and continue to move forward. For instance if we read the weeds we grow we can better understand areas where our soil is lacking.

Another huge point I want to address is when building soils, the common thinking about having a picture perfect food plot need to be tossed aside. In its place we should see something resembling what nature would provide such as many species of plants all growing, and growing at different times while growing at the same time. What may describe this better is say a few of the plants hit maturity allowing an opening in the canopy which allows a different type of plant to grow. This is usually where the cross over of warm season and cool season plants can thrive.

And while I have said previously there needs to be something growing year around, we can still have windows where one plant is terminated and another begins, or takes its place. I guess what I should say to more accurately inform anyone, would be to say to keep the soil covered year round rather than keep something growing year round when goal one is to build soils.

Some modern equipment may make this easier such as a no-till drill which allows someone to plant into a thicker layer of thatch after that thatch is laid down. It also allows via slicing and slight movement of the thatch an open area for more consistent germination and growth but also keep in the back of the mind we are replacing one crop for another using termination for this. Now to not limit someone without equipment the following can be done to a degree with a spinner but the manager will have to make sure the thatch left following spinning on seeds and then what ever mechanical action used, such as mowing, does not leave too thick of a layer of thatch. It is likely pretty evident there can be a huge learning curve in dealing with thatch!

Hope this gives you something to ponder on while waiting for the weather to break so we can get out and start doing what needs done to ready our plots for next season.

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I am pondering for sure, Smallplot. While looking for clarifications or something that could be applicable for us, I found this. From Menoken, North Dakota, central ND, but still north of me in Lewiston, Michigan:

"Looking for a window to seed a cocktail into, they selected fields from which field peas and winter triticale had been harvested early. The land had a long history of growing cool-season grasses, so a mixture of warm season grasses, warm season broadleaves and cool season broadleaves was formulated and drilled in on July 7th."

The recipe contained: Millet, 8 lbs., Cowpea, 10 lbs., Soybean, 15 lbs., Turnip, ½ lb., Oilseed radish 1 lb. Sweet Clover 1 lb.

Then this for clarification and options:

Here are some examples of cocktail ingredients, drawn from the categories of cool and warm-season grasses and cool and warm season broadleaves and legumes:

Cool Season Grasses: Barley, wheat, oats, rye, ryegrass, triticale

Cool Season Broadleaf: Rape, flax, mustard, turnip, radish, phacelia

Legumes: Lentil, lupin, peas, red clover, crimson clover, sweet clover, alfalfa, chick-pea, cow pea, soybean, sunn hemp.

Warm Season Grass: corn, millet, sorghum, sudan grass

Warm Season Broadleaf: buckwheat, amaranth, safflower, sunflower

The first example was planted July 7. I will be looking up planting dates and depths for various seeds.

This may be more applicable for us, Ray Archuleta has suggested:
Ray Archuleta Cover Crop Cocktail Mix
Sunflower 1#
Soybeans 15#
Cowpeas 10#
Turnips 1#
Radish 2#
Proso Millet 3#
Pearl Millet 3#
Corn 1#
Squash 1#
Canola 1#
I did not find planting dates. I think that the brassicas could be overseeded later. I am tending toward the diversity for soil health.

Invite to all, pick any from list of warm and cool season "grasses", broadleaves and legumes. I will be waiting and thanks for the responses so far. One more thing Smallplot, for what it is worth, I do not have a drill. Last year, I did a throw and roll (cultipack) into triticale, oats, peas and clovers. Did not get much. Not sure, but it may have been the turkeys. Maybe the thatch, maybe mowing would have been better.

One more, I planted the sudangrass at 15# along with buckwheat and peas.
From Cornell's site:
30 lb/ac for biomass and nematode control.
50 lb/ac for weed control.
I do not think that this was a total loss, as I have sandy soil. Previously, all that grew were blueberries and sweet fern and some kind of moss that looked like a brillo pad. After some years working on it, this was absolutely the most growth ever.

Another one more. I tried to grow some pokeberry, nothing yet. The most prevalent weeds I get are mullein and thistle. I am not great at IDing weeds.