I am not planting all of my logging roads but there are a few that connect food plots that i would like to to try and create some lines of movement on. My theory is the more area a deer needs to explore on my property the more time they will spend. The more time they spend, the greater chance i have to kill them.What are you trying to accomplish on these trails? If your using them for access - do you really want deer feeding in them?
Will these trails see lots of traffic? Do you think you may have some erosion issues?
For deer food - I agree with clover - perennial white clover. If your worried about erosion and or lots of vehicle traffic - I would stick with more of a perennial grass like orchardgrass and timothy. If it's real bad - then a fescue may be needed, but I try to avoid if I can.
Just some things to think about.....
Thinking ill plant the trails late season with WR, durana, alsike and chicory. Save my plots for annuals like brassica & soybeans.
Ok - so you have the experience with those - that's cool. I just wasn't sure. I have seen rookies jump into some of these sorts of things and not understand what they where getting into. Your obviously not a rookie at this so, I think your fine. I like a decent amount of cool season perennials around simply because of them being so easy and cover both spring and fall and tend to be more drought resistant.As a hunting plot i have had great experience and awful experience with brassica. Much of that i attribute to the ever changing environment that comes hand in hand with managing habitat in the mountains. With so many big woods we can never predict the acorn crop, or if mother nature will fry all of the apple trees. In years where the acorns dont drop much and we get a late frost my brassica has been a premium attractant as early as columbus day.
Just this past year deer didnt touch my brassica until january.
Ive had good experience with RW beans. I know they are pricey but im not planting big acreage and they have held up well with browse pressure. They also produced a good amount of grain for me.
I have three plots on this property. One plot is planted in alfalfa. Im going to frost seed some clovers in there this spring. My other plot I intend on planting a mixture of round up ready sugar beets and soybeans with a low count of corn for cover. The plot is only 1.5 acres. If it gets crushed its ok. The early planting date involved with soybeans will allow me to save the plot with cool season annuals if need be.
By third plot i will plant in a brassica mix with the trails planted in my perennials. My gut tells me i need more cold hardy food.
Do you know if your deer like brassica? Deer use of brassica is VERY regional - some places the deer love them, and others the deer virtually ignore them.
I agree as well Grouse. I have planted mine for several years now - simply as cheap insurance and I see a little more use every year, but for the most part in my area they pretty much ignore it......but I also tend to have standing beans or standing corn right there as well. I just didn't want anyone thinking brassica would be a "money" type plot the first time they planted it......some get that result , but some don't......and some never do.I agree to a point, but I wonder if some don't give up on brassicas too soon? All animals have a "food memory" such that they will seek out the food sources that were good for them before and they will do so at the time and place where these sources were found before. This is part instinct and part learned behavior.
I live in a place where there is NO agricultural planting of the "money" brassicas, turnips, beets, or radish. So I went in knowing that the deer could be reluctant to feed on these crops. And I was right! They totally ignored all the bulbs for the first 2 years. Honestly, I had turnips rotting in the plots in the spring.
Well, in year 3 they figured it out. I cannot be sure it made a difference, but I decided to help them out by pulling out some radish and turnip and just stomping the stuffing out of them every time I visited the plot after September 1. My theory was that with the way scent rules a deer's senses, if it smelled good, they would try it. And they did! Then they ate 5 acres of it like there was no tomorrow.
Just my experience with Brassicas, I'm going to keep planting it becuse I have no doubt that when the deer figure out they like it, it's dang near the only thing they want to eat.
I'd give rutabagas a try before throwing in the towel on brassicas. Matt, as I've expressed, variety matters a lot, but so does cold season tonnage. For off years with acorns/apples, I feel extra cold weather annuals are key. I'm still presently 60% annuals and am disinclined to change with what I see right now. I wish it were not the case....