How much of what,when, why?


Well-Known Member
So many of us have been doing plots, and habitat mgt for years. My question is how many of you all have stepped back and said "ok lets make this more simple".

In the past I had 60 acres to hunt on, and around 4acres of plots (plus 1acre "yard" over seeded in clovers). Now the family has been blessed to own and control 230+ acres in SE Ohio (foothills of Appalachia). I am opening up a lot more ground this year to expand plots, I have a pipeline that runs through farm that is planted in GREAT clovers and deer do hammer that as well.

I have in the past tried to do beans/then some brassicas. This year as I am looking to make things more simple.

Here is my thoughts:
1. Clover,chicory, alfalfa - cut all plots in half and plant this mix.
2. Other half will be all brassica mixes
3. August I will broadcast rye/oat mixes into all my plots in August
4. Keep 2 years then rotate plots.


I could focus on creating a few larger fields (3+ acres) and planting them in beans/corn every other year. Then the rest of the smaller plots be the mix described above. This can be costly, and Im not sure if the draw/nutrition is THAT much greater than a nice brassica plot, at least in my area.

What do you all think?
I have been food plotting for forty years, and the simplest, least time consuming planting methods for me is durana/wheat - I have an 84” woods seeder and plant wheat dierctly into the clover. I do bush hog once during the summer and once during fall at planting time - for lowland plots that have adequate moisture to support the clover through the summer. For drier, upland plots, I substitute arrowleaf for the durana. And I plant a couple of five acre soybean plots in the spring. That is what works best for me. High protien food year round. I only have to re-adjust the planter for the beans. I used to plant all different kinds of seeds - i dont do that anymore.
I’ve gotten lazy. In the fall i plant a mix of cereal grains with red clover and brassicas. He cereal grains and brassicas take care of fall, winter, early spring, and the clover takes care of the rest until the following fall when I start over again. I think last year will be my last year with soybeans. My herd has grown to a point they mow it down as soon as it pops up.
We've done a lot of crazy things over the years. Experiments if you like. Most didn't turn out so good, but that doesn't stop us to this day! I wanted to start by saying, yes, we have cut back - learning from our experimental failures. But, that's probably not true! We don'r pursue our food plots with reckless abandon like we did. Now we are just reckless!

I think everyone goes down he same evolutionary path. We start with much uninformed enthusiasm and reach a point of mature wisdom.
I love to experiment! I try new things every year.However there is no question in my mind that I could greatly simplify and still not compromise goals at all.

Planting most of the summer crops of beans, peas, hemp and vetch is terrific but I suspect I do it more to give me something to do in the off season that the incremental value they offer. Certainly they are quality crops. Maybe they add additional value. But they are also much more challenging and high maintenance. And there are other ways to skin the cat.

I think in La. one could accomplish year round nutrition with a variety of clovers, chicory, and alfalfa . Drill wheat into the clovers in the fall. Maybe add some radishes but not essential. Then mow in spring. A little cleth from time to time to control grasses. Very simple, generally year round, and high quality nutrition . Can take extreme grazing pressure.

That said, there is no chance I'm gonna do that. I will have the drill out this spring fighting the good fight.
I'm trying to break my annual plan down to two simple plots, clover and not clover.

Clover: Been tinkering with the idea of overseeding everything, including a kitchen sink, into standing white clover at soybean time, throw the seed in there and see what happens. Sorghum, oats, corn, barley, pumpkin, carrot, brussels sprouts, squash, sunflowers, awnless wheat, and whatever else I can think of. Only been tinkering with it a couple years and cereal grains so far, but those have done great and seem to help keep grasses at bay. This year it's all getting thrown in.

Not clover: This would be a rotation built around winter rye and mowing it down onto an early summer broadleaf/legume/corn or sorghum mix that would finish growing in time for another rye/brassica fall planting.