New land and new food plot ideas needed

  • carver
    West Metro
    Posts: 587

    Hi guys been doing a lot of reading here and can’t figure out what do first or where to start.

    Group has 140ac located close to cook, mn There are mowed trails/lanes in the trees and some meadows where we mowed a path through.

    Goal 1 is to clear out some of the downed trees and clean up as mush as we can every year.

    For food plots we are thinking about 4 of them throughout the property. One we need to clear out a clear cut overgrowth but the rest would be in the open areas where the small meadows are.

    Topics of conversation last night would be what to plant. Owner wants corn but I think we got him into soybeans instead and some other stuff. What to plant on trails and would we need to mow them or let them just grow.

    We have a tractor with mower, access to a tiller, brush cutter mulcher on a bobcat. What other things do we need to get/rent/beg/borrow or think about doing differently.

    Posts: 8696

    How big would your biggest plot be?

    West Metro
    Posts: 587

    They would be about 3 half acres plots and one about a .25 maybe another half acres. That what we want to start with at least.

    Posts: 8696

    Depending on your deer density. You may have to fence in beans. I would go forage beans if you are set on them. I would focus most of it on clover, rye, oats and brassicas. I’m in NW MN and my rye is still nice and green. I’ve had good luck with haywire oats. I get my clover and brassicas from Grouse on this site. Clover would be great for your trails. You might have to mow them once a year. When you first plant them, I’d use rye as a cover. Make sure it is cereal rye, not rye grass.

    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 10387

    A few thoughts for you. As DT mentioned, I’m in the food plot business. My company is Midwest Monster Whitetail Products, we are the largest specialty food plot seed dealer in MN and WI.

    First off, I always tell newer property managers, EVERYTHING is different up here in the north. Forget or ignore anything you’ve heard about food plotting from southerners (where much of the industry is based). What you can do and HOW you do it, is completely different up here in the northern tier.

    Most new food plotters worry, “Will I be able to grow anything?” Yes! You’ll do great with a little help. That’s not the problem! The #1 problem in food plotting is you will grow too much awesome food and the deer will absolutely eat everything you grow to the ground. Overbowsing is the #1, #2, and #3 problem for the northern tier food plotter.

    When deciding what to plant and how much to plant, what matters the most to the northern food plotter is this: Tonnage (of food) produced per acre of plot. It doesn’t matter how great your crop is if the deer devour it in a matter of a few days.

    So to your questions:

    – Goal 1 – Clear as much land as possible for plots. A half-acre plot is VERY small. 2-4 deer can clean up a half acre of good tall clover in 2 weeks. That’s how much they eat! Make those plots as BIG as possible.

    On a property your size, it would be ideal to have 10-20 acres of food plots eventually. Just to give you a benchmark, I have 80 acres at the Midwest Monster home farm and I have 12 acres of plots. We routinely have 10-25 deer dining with us every night from May to December. With 12 acres of plots, I am almost able to keep everyone feed, but every crumb is eaten to the ground by mid-December and grow for maximum tonnage.

    – What to grow? Again, tonnage per acre is the goal.

    Corn? Forget it! Worst possible choice for the food plotter. I know it seems like a great idea, but for the food plotter it’s not. Tonnage per acre of corn is best measured in pounds, not tons. With good corn, you would be lucky to grow a few hundred pounds of edible corn on a half-acre plot.

    And that’s if the bears, coons, beaver, deer, and various birds leave it alone enough to mature. Which they won’t! You’ll get nothing from a half-acre of corn.

    By comparison, a good clover blend like our Mega Clover Plus will yield 2-4 green tons of clover per growing season. Mega Clover Plus is a perennial clover blend, so you plant it once and it continues to produce for 3-4 years if properly maintained. A big bonus compared to an annual like corn that must be planted every year.

    Soybeans? Maybe. We are the biggest MN and WI dealer of both Eagle Forage Soybeans and Real World Wildlife Products soybeans. This might be an option for you, but soybeans are deer candy so we’d have to discuss how this would work with your plots and deer numbers. It is very, very difficult even with protection to have anything left of a soybean plot that is smaller than 1 acre. I planted over 3 acres of soybeans this year and our deer had them to the ground by mid-September due to the dry conditions.

    Brassicas (the family that includes turnips, forage radish, rapeseed, sugar beets, etc) are a great late-season draw. They resist browsing pressure to some degree due to the starchy taste of their leaves. A great choice for food plotters looking for a late-season attractor.

    There’s more to talk about, but hopefully, that gives you enough to get the ball rolling. Call me anytime and we’ll work up a complete plan for you.


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