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#3085898 - 12/18/12 07:52 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2835
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

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I'd like to try Alfalfa next year but I know nothing about growing it. I think there are several altered varieties of it. I used to hear that bugs were bad about destroying Alfalfa but I have never attempted to grow it and need to do some serious research on it.
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#3086311 - 12/19/12 06:00 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
Football Hunter
Non-Typical


Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25536
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

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Maybe some to do the the proximity to cover?Still should hit it at night though.
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#3086370 - 12/19/12 06:52 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Football Hunter]
richmanbarbeque
16 Point


Registered: 07/17/03
Posts: 12784
Loc: Middle, Tn

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Do you have exclusion cages set up? What about cameras?
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#3086464 - 12/19/12 08:03 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BlountArrow
I'd like to try Alfalfa next year but I know nothing about growing it. I think there are several altered varieties of it. I used to hear that bugs were bad about destroying Alfalfa but I have never attempted to grow it and need to do some serious research on it.


Alfalfa is a great plant, but very tough to grow. I tried to talk one of my clients out of converting many of his perennial plots into alfalfa, but he wouldn't listen. I just got a call from him the other day wondering why his plots were performing so poorly (growth-wise). I tried to warn him...
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"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3086532 - 12/19/12 08:44 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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Cameras in it, not much action. Just a doe every other night or so. No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit. It has to be something in the soil. I think I just need to plant something different next year, I just don't know what. I will probably try some chicory, but I want to always have clover in it for turkeys, nutrition for deer and cows(we let the cows eat it down the day afer season) and the clover helps the wheat and other grasses grow.
but I will have to try something else. May do half of it in corn next year. I don't know. Thanks for the advice though.

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#3086794 - 12/19/12 11:55 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit.


Perhaps, but without exclusion cages, you never know. I've seen landowners be fooled about food plot usage more times than I can count. Put up exclusion cages and suddenly they gain a new perspective.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3088077 - 12/20/12 07:27 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
Football Hunter
Non-Typical


Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25536
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit.


Perhaps, but without exclusion cages, you never know. I've seen landowners be fooled about food plot usage more times than I can count. Put up exclusion cages and suddenly they gain a new perspective.
Yep,and what could be easier or cheaper to do?
_________________________
The best day to plant a tree,IS TODAY!

You wont know,if you dont go!


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#3088125 - 12/20/12 08:08 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

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Woodsman, I wonder if the cows migh have something to do with your deer not using the plot. I sold my cows about 5 years ago so have some perspective regarding how cows can influence deer. While we had cows, we practically never saw deer in any of our pastures. The deer just seemed to want nothing to do with the cows. Once the cows were gone, I started seeing lots of deer movement in pastures. And it's not because the pastures grew up either as they are still being cut for hay several times a season.

I was going to suggest that you might be lacking cover but I see you said your food plot is surrounded on 3 sides with woods so lack of cover shouldn't be a problem. Unless again the cows are allowed in those woods or very close to the food plot on a regular basis.

On the soil test, I agree with BSK that a standard soil test will tell you how much lime and fertilize you need but when we are talking about why deer use one well prepared food plot but not another seemingly identical plot, I doubt the soil test will show the difference. There are a lot of trace minerals in soil that I don't know how to determine....or even if you could, how would you know what amounts of each is desirable? I've run into the same thing with mineral licks. One site will have a hole dug out that looks like a bath tub while another - using the same minerals - will get only moderate use. I THINK I see some connection with areas with a lot of cedar trees and heavy mineral useage but not sure that's always true.

From the variety of plants you have been planting, it seems that you would have hit on something the deer like by now if your problem was just a matter of taste preference.

I've posted several times on here my recommendations and reservations for alfalfa. (I have a soft spot for the stuff since selling alfafla hay paid for my college!) Since you have cows, I assume you have hay equipment. My experience with Whitetail Institutes "Alfa Rack" is that it grows fast and falls over on itself and needs to be mowed at least twice a Summer. If you want the hay then 4 cuttings can easily be had. The problem with this food plot shoice is that the mowed vegetation needs to be removed somehow or it will cover the plants to the point that your whole crop will die. IF you can bale it for hay then you will have no problem with that. Establishing Alfa Rack is the same as clover. You have to pulverize the soil good and use a cultipacker. A near neutral pH is important as you already said. And obviously you don't want a hay alfalfa. I have 4 acres that is really too open(too little cover) to hunt over but I planted it mainly to feed deer. I want the does fat and healthy to give a lot of milk to the fawns!

Bugs were a problem with our hay alfalfa years ago but I haven't had any significant problems with them on the Alfa Rack. I did have a bad broadleaf weed problem the 1st year and ended up killing all the chicory (approx 10% of total Alfa Rack mix) with the herbicide I used to kill the broadleaf weeds.

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#3088210 - 12/20/12 09:00 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Hunter 257W]
woodsman87
8 Point


Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: south TN

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I think the cows may have a lot to do with it. I have stated on this forum before that the first two years we had this place we saw deer every where, but we only had three cows for just fun. Now we have several, and I think that may be the problem, but I do not want to get rid of them. The profit we make of off them we actually use to pay for our farm equipment/food plots and such. And no, I do not have any hay equipment, we aren't big time cattlemen, so we just buy our hay. but the cows also are not allowed to go into the woods around the plot. We let them eat our food plot for a couple of days after deer season is closed, then pull them off until growing season and rotate them on and off during summer.
This is what to makes it harder to plant corn or beans during the spring, because we use it for grazing during the summer months. I just dont know if we can block it off to plant a spring crop that needs a long summer to grow.
Another thing I would like to do is get rid of the cows, and plant pine trees for an extra income. I think that would help out tremondously for deer hunting.

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#3088285 - 12/20/12 09:38 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
I think the cows may have a lot to do with it. I have stated on this forum before that the first two years we had this place we saw deer every where, but we only had three cows for just fun. Now we have several, and I think that may be the problem, but I do not want to get rid of them. The profit we make of off them we actually use to pay for our farm equipment/food plots and such. And no, I do not have any hay equipment, we aren't big time cattlemen, so we just buy our hay. but the cows also are not allowed to go into the woods around the plot. We let them eat our food plot for a couple of days after deer season is closed, then pull them off until growing season and rotate them on and off during summer.
This is what to makes it harder to plant corn or beans during the spring, because we use it for grazing during the summer months. I just dont know if we can block it off to plant a spring crop that needs a long summer to grow.
Another thing I would like to do is get rid of the cows, and plant pine trees for an extra income. I think that would help out tremondously for deer hunting.


I certainly understand the reality of having to compromise the use of your land because of financial reasons. Mine is mostly a working farm for the same reason. If I were rich, the whole place would be woods, overgrown fields and food plots.

With no hay equipment then I would stay away from alfalfa. The only thing that might let it work for you would be if there are enough deer to keep it eaten down so that it never grows tall and falls over. I had a 1/4 acre plot of Alfa Rack near the house that I couldn't get hay equipment into and it grew way more than the deer could eat and the alfalfa eventually died out but the clover survived. IT's a pure Imperial clover patch now and you can tell from a distance that it is getting heavy HEAVY useage. There are probably 1/3 of the plants right now that are just stems with no leaves.

Back to the cows. Just throwing this out there. What about possible deer travel routes from your neighbors land to yours that deer may not use as much because of the cows presence? If that was a problem maybe you could rotate the cows to another area maybe a month or few weeks before deer season? Are there any other areas you could have mini food plots?

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