Providing quality forage

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BHC

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Sep 16, 2011
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915
Location
Wayne Co. , Tennessee
I am trying to find the best/cheapest way to plant year around or nearly year around forage for a lot of acres. Basically looking for some cost/effectiveness input. Time, seed/fertilizer costs, vs amount of quality year round forage. Any iput is greatly appreciated!
 
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diamond hunter

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Sep 16, 2012
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2,247
Location
Goodlettsville Tennessee USA
Well,God has already planted everything you need.Find you an area and nuke all the gress and let that area grow up,the weeds and forbs and crap are exactly what the deer want to eat.Find some fence rows and fertilize them as much as possible for your money,the deer want these edges and they might as well be full of protein rich honeysuckle.Last go in the woods where you never go and hinge you a bunch of trees and open the canopy.The added sunlight will raise you a bunch of new browse and make the area much more appealing.As far as hinge cutting goes,I would not hinge poplar,oak,persimmon,black locust basswood or maple.Poplar ,black locust basswood and maple are good bee trees.
 
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TheLBLman

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Jun 12, 2002
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32,010
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
diamond hunter":2vg6rc3x said:
Well,God has already planted everything you need.
Find you an area and nuke all the gress and let that area grow up,
the weeds and forbs and crap are exactly what the deer want to eat.
Not only that, but the deer often seem to "prefer" these native natural food sources more than what we spend so much time & money "cultivating" in food plots. So often, food plots appeal more to the hunters than the deer.

As to lowest cost, best bang for your time & money:

Early spring mowing.
Don't mow those spots again until the next spring.
Just do it early (like no later than mid-March), so as not to kill fawns & nesting birds, etc.
Your primary goal here is to prevent forestation, and by not mowing (later in the year) these native "weeds" that will flourish,
you're providing both food and cover to your deer and other wildlife.

A 10-acre early-mowed area that becomes a 10-acre weed patch
will typically provide more deer food (and a lot more cover) than a 1-acre relatively expensive cultivated food plot.
I can assure you, at least during late season,
the deer will be more focused on feeding within cover, than feeding in open areas (during daytime).
10 acres of CRP-type habitat is great for both the hunter and the deer.

Do your best to kill any fescue and johnsongras from these areas --- they are of zero value to wildlife, and only displace valuable native grasses.
 
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Boll Weevil

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Jun 26, 2011
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3,032
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Hardeman
Don't forget your disk...not for soil prep in advance of cultivated crops but for soil disturbance around field edges, openings, and roads. There's all manner of desirables in the seedbank that will sport as the weather warms. I'm with the others...you can do far more with less by managing for optimal native forage.
 
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TheLBLman

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Jun 12, 2002
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32,010
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
Boll Weevil":1oea4cav said:
Don't forget your disk...not for soil prep in advance of cultivated crops but for soil disturbance around field edges, openings, and roads.
Totally agree, assuming the guy has a tractor & a disk :D
Just depends on how much land and how much time you have to mow.
If you have plenty of time to mow all you'd like, then disk it, too.

But nothing will give you as much bang for your time & money as simply mowing early each year to prevent forestation.

Ultimate goal should be to have very biodiverse habitat,
so even mowing all you can may not be the best prescription.
 
G

Grnwing

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Jun 6, 2014
Messages
558
Location
West TN
I'd be more inclined to burn then mow. I don't care to sit on a tractor for a couple days cutting fields and laying over thatch to clog the fields. Disk some fire breaks cutting your fields into thirds and burn on a 3 year rotation. It'll take care of the younger woody growth and give a great boost to the native plants. A lot of folks are too scared to burn but it is one of the best management tools. If you want food plots, over seed your disked fire breaks and plant wheat or whatever you'd like. You can manage a lot of acres with pretty easily without making it a full time job.
 
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barkscraper

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Aug 3, 2011
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134
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morgan
Go to the web site Outreach Outdoors and you will get the info you search for real info thats been tested and proved. I was like you now i only plant once a year and use very little fertilizer use no name seeds and have great food plots that the deer love. Everything you asked for is there GOOD LUCK
 

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