Spring rape planting?


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With the abnormally high temperatures in the forecast, I think I’m gonna plant some clover today. However, I have some left over rapeseed. Has anyone ever planted rape in the spring? Feeding deer is priority #1 with this (the clover is for nitrogen though.) If you guys think it’s worth it I’ll buy more Rapeseed and up the seeding rate.

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I’ve tried it. It grows just fine but I had very minimal browsing and some type of beetle infested the entire crop. The deer just didn’t take to it like they do in late fall / early winter.
Without any frosts available to sweeten the leaves, I wouldn't imagine it would be browsed very heavily. Without a tuber to break up the ground, there's not really a soil benefit either.

If you want something "leafy", chicory would be better.

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I would think it would go to seed way to early and easily. Personally I would not do Rape planting in spring.

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Neil Dougherty and family in their book Grow Them Right, always planted brassica in spring in their upstate NY farm. I've never done such but you might ck on their recommendations since you are at a northern locale also. Certainly couldn't hurt anything.
Hey Chip, in Ed Spinnazola's Book,Ultimate Deer Food Plots, he has a recommendation for planting rape early to build the soil before a buckwheat planting. I know that this does not jive with your plan for this field, but he has it as an option.
My property is in Central Wisconsin and I do my dwarf Essex rape seed planting in the mid to late summer. The deer have enough other types of food that they leave the rape alone until fall. After a frost they really go for the rape. I took three does off a rape plot last season and the plot was eaten to the ground by the deer. This is what works for me on my land.
I did two years ago when we ran out of buckwheat before covering all the plots. Did surprisingly well. Plants got big and did not bolt. Doesn’t produce tubers but the deer eventually chowed on the big fat stems during fall hunting.

Keep in mind I am in northern Michigan. Short growing season and not very hot summers. Maybe get well bolt in warmer zones.

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I will elaborate on the Ed Spinnazola reco. This was for building up sandy acid soil. I qualify. Basically planting buckwheat followed later by cereal rye and rape as an indicator of soil health. Continue that with amendments until the brassica shows good growth. The spring broadcast of rape was to build OM before the buckwheat planting, then rye and brassica to follow.

In my neck of the woods, early planting of rape and turnips got demolished early. Getting something to grow and build OM was a problem.

When I started fall planting wheat and cereal rye, I started to make some progress. I love having green rye before spring green up. I have read that March up here is the toughest month for deer following winter.

In one field, I let the rye grow as I was removing trees from that field. Good growth and kept the ground covered.

Since I am not a Roundup guy, a thick stand of rye does a good job keeping weeds down. Buckwheat is supposed to do that also. But for me, buckwheat gets hit hard.

Since I have sandy soil, I have not had great success frost seeding. Without spraying, weeds are a problem.

It has been recommended elsewhere and this has been successful for me. Fall planted rye grain and clovers. The rye as a cover helps the clover establish and is ready to go in the spring. The green rye is already there. Later I overseed clovers (broadcast), then mow or roll the rye.

This past winter, I put out some alfalfa bales for carryover after hunting season, January 18. Within one month, those bales got demolished. So I need to grow more food to sustain the deer. So far, I have tried the finicky alfalfa, but that has been hit too hard. I need to grow some bulbs to help out.

For all those considering alfalfa, alfalfa can not be overseeded after one year because of autotoxicity. Anyone who has been successful with alfalfa, I am all ears.
Bowman - I have a lot of experience with RR alfalfa in sandy soil. Search my old posts and you should find some info., including a link to an “all you need to know” alfalfa resource.
Grins. How does your alfalfa do as a winter carryover? I will not bale, but mow for new growth. When is your last cut? I put out some bales as nothing is green yet and they all got hit. i did not do too well with brassicas last year. Will try again this year.
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Grins. How does your alfalfa do as a winter carryover? I will not bale, but mow for new growth. When is your last cut? I put out some bales as nothing is green yet and they all got hit. i did not do too well with brassicas last year. Will try again this year.
I never cut. The deer hammer it. Biggest problem is their insatiable appetite for the stuff. They would get a lot more if they would give it a break every now and then.
How do your deer use rape? Do they wait until a freeze? Do they hammer it as it spouts? Or do they ignore it year-round? Seems like every herd eats brassica to a different extent. Mine like it all the time and they don't wait for a freeze. For me, a spring brassica planting would get used. But I also wouldn't want it to bolt and produce seed. I've never repeatedly planted brassica because of the disease issues so I wouldn't want brassica producing seed. Could it lead to disease? I don't know the answer to that, it's just a thought.

But I'm going to over seed some collards in a few days into an area that was overrun with smartweed. The smartweed only gets ramped up a little later so it shouldn't really compete with the collards yet. I'm actually hoping collards will repress the smartweed later when smartweed normally gets going.
Collards are fairly new to me so I can't say how my deer will use them. If it's anything like other brassicas, use should be very good. Collards have some traits that seem to be a great fit for me. This is from the Green Cover Seed website...
Vernalization is required for collards to bolt (become reproductive) therefore planting anytime during the growing season will result in pure vegetative growth. Vernalization is a prolonged cold special that triggers a species genetic code within the plant to start reproducing. This is important because the longer a species stays in the vegatative stage, the more total biomass production potential. In fact you could plant collards in the spring and it they will continue to grow through that next spring before trying to reproduce. Collards growing point is protected close to the surface making for excellent regrowth potential after grazing. Premium forage produced by collard ranks it above many other options on the current market place in CP and digestibility.

Also from Green cover seed...
Collards has proven itself to thrive within an array of seasonal extremes. For our northern producers, collards have been able to withstand conditions below zero for several days without any protection. Making Impacts one of the most winter hardy brassicas currently available. Leaves may wilt or burn around the edges but vegetation will remain green and viable throughout the winter. On the other extreme, once collards large tap root sets into the soil profile, it can thrive during the hot, dry summers that many of us experience. Collards resilience and waxy leaves, will allow it to hold on through the harshest conditions until better days come. Collards can tolerate continued, low grazing pressure which explains why mowing is not a viable termination method.

There's a lot more info about collards on the Green Cover Seed site. Check out this link...