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 No till/no mow food plots?

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rubrum




PostSubject: No till/no mow food plots?   Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:18 pm

Hey all,

New to this forum. I need help establishing a set of food plots. Details on my farm to follow, but...

The primary plot I want to establish is on about a 1/2 acre former cow/horse pasture, rolling hillside/full sun. It is now covered with thick grass and weeds.

I also have steep hillsides that were former pastures, but too steep to get machinery onto. They are now being slowly colonized by small pines and poplars.

Finally, I have woodland trails that I see deer and turkey sign on regularly. I'd love to seed these areas with something that will attract deer, but can tolerate mostly shade.

So...is it possible to create an effective food plot, particulary on the 1/2 acre I described, considering my machinery limitations? How about the other areas?

I hunt my small farm - 15 acres - adjoined by many acres of woodland and small tobacco and corn farms. Mostly North Carolina hardwood forest - oaks, maples, poplars, hickories - rolling hills/mountains of western N.C. The deer move through my land to their bedding areas, but because my property is so small, I've got to time things just right to get a shot. I've got a feeding plot set up in the woods near my primary stand, where I put out apples and corn cobs.

The farm is roughly 1/2 woodland and 1/2 fallow pasture. I'd like to find a way to create better deer habitat and feeding plots - got to find a way to entice those sneaky whitetails to spend more time moving across my small property!

Help? Advice greatly appreciated!

Tony
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mathewsguy

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:22 pm

Welcome to the site. Im sure there are some guys on here that can help you out with this.
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rubrum




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:46 pm

...come to think of it, there is a slim possibility that I could get borrow or rent one of those DL type mowers to get the existing grass (it's pretty darn thick) mowed down. Then there is another possibility (even slimmer!) that I could get the small field disced up by a local guy when he discs the field across from my place for tobacco next spring.

These are possibilities, but not probabilities...so I'd appreciate advice based on my first post here more than these options.

Nevertheless, I need to know what to do...and what MUST be done to be successful with this.

I'm very, very reluctant to invest in liming, fertilizing, and seeding costs if I'm trying to outcompete the existing grasses and weeds, only to find that nothing I put down can accomplish that.

Tell me what to do...

Thanks
Tony
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30pointbuck




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:00 pm

Welcome to WA, there are alot of knowledgeable people who could help you.
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Camoed Assassin

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:58 pm

The existing grasses and weeds are going to be a big problem. If the fields have been there awhile there is going to be a huge dormant seed bed that will come up after each discing. Its going to be hard, nearly impossible to find something you can just throw on there without spraying discing a few times to get rid of the seed bed. Then once you get it established
( depending on what you want ) there's going to be some sort of maintenance. We had old fields that we tried to short cut this year and we got burnt.
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rubrum




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:23 am

Ok, so what if I spray the field to kill the existing grasses and weeds, but don't disc? See, my understanding is that if I disc it, I'll turn up the existing seeds. Can I kill the existing growth and then seed with what I want, and keep mowing to help the new seed growth establish itself and outcompete other weed and seed sources?
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Camoed Assassin

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:43 am

You could plant something like clover. Make sure you plant a blend that can be sprayed and stay on top of it. The dormant seed bed doesn't need to be tilled up to germinate, it just needs room to grow, by spraying the existing stuff off you open it up giving way for the dormant seed to start. If you can get a good stand of clover or something going it can choke out the unwanted grasses and weeds. If you start to see weeds coming up I suggest spraying them off as soon as possible and deffinetly before they come to head and produce seed.
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rubrum




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:22 am

This isn't going to be easy, is it.

So there are sprays I can use that will kill the weeds, but not the clover?

And will the clover provide a food source for whitetails into November/December...well after the first frost?

So...mow it down, mow it some more...spray to kill the existing grass, seed with clover mix, spray as dormant seed begins to germinate, keep mowed to keep weeds from germinating.

Like I said. Not going to be easy!
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The Guide

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:38 am

Yeah CA is right it is not going to be easy. I think another person you might want to talk to is MRA. He helped us out this year on some questions that CA and I had.
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30pointbuck




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:03 am

Some Great info. here.
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rubrum




PostSubject: options   Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:24 pm

At this point, based on the responses I've recieved so far, here's what I'm thinking:

I'm going to find a way to mow - I'll rent a tractor and bushhog from a local farmer, or something...but I'll find a way to mow the existing vegetation down.

Then I'll spray to kill the existing grasses and weeds.

I'm not sure how I'll prepare a seedbed - not sure how I can get the area tilled. Maybe I'll get it disced up after I mow it, then I'll spray it. That way at least the ground will be broken up.

I'll seed it with the appropriate mix.

I'll find a way to keep it mowed pretty close - permit the clover etc. to establish itself, but prevent the grasses and weeds from going to seed.

It would be a hell of a lot easier if the pasture was easier to access, and flat! But at least I don't have to worry about watering it - I get plenty of rain here, and it's in good sun.
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30pointbuck




PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:21 pm

Good Luck buddy,
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mathewsguy

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:23 pm

Good luck man another guy you may want to talk to is Jody he may have some good info for you.
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Camoed Assassin

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PostSubject: Re: No till/no mow food plots?   Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:33 pm

Just make sure you plant it in a mix that can be sprayed. We planted some of ours in a clover and brassica mix and we weren't able to sray it without killing off the brassica.
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