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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all....no experience with food plots but have a new piece of ground I just got and have permission to plant a food plot in an area that used to be used as a little camp sight/family get together spot on the farm. The site is just grassy and now weeds but easy to get to and mow, etc. I would say roughly 1/2 acre total with a few large oaks in it but primarily good sun. The soil is probably timber soil as the site was cleared years ago and it's timber and creek bottom fields all around. LOTS of trails coming in and out of the site as it's easy transition from CRP and other cover out to the fields.

I have very limited resource to equipment. I can mow it short. I can kill it off with glysophate and rake it up for some soil contact. I might be able to get a small harrow section to pull behind the quad. Next spring I can get a tiller to put behind my little utility tractor and really do things right.

So....if I wanted to attempt something yet this year....I know very late....what are my best options for something that will make a difference yet this season....if that's even possible? Good light...hand seeding/sowing.....easy access but low on equipment. Next year we can till it up good and get soil tests, etc....and do whatever we want....

Edit: Should add that I'm in Central Illinois....
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Late development: I now have access to a tiller to run behind my little utility tractor so that option is on the table now. The site will be mowed down super short early this week as soon as it dries out.
Should I till it up and plant....and what should I plant?
Or should I mow short....rake it all up and toss a no till mix.....and what should that be?
I don't think there's time to get soil samples, etc but maybe tilling it gives it a better shot and makes fighting weeds next year easier....and fertilizing, etc?
 

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Spray it then rake it. Then sow grain rye just before a rain. Top sowing only will work. Instant good plot. Not rye grass but grain or cereal rye.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So don't till it up? A hot mix of glysophate will take a good week or more to really burn off the vegetation.

A local mom and pop seed place can put together pretty much any mix and already have a fall/winter brassica mix available. Can also buy straight cereal rye and anything else...oats, clover, etc..
 

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You probably have time depending on when cold weather hits your area. It is not necessary though if you only want a kill plot that will work this fall/winter. Grain rye will grow in the back of your pickup truck and the deer love it and unlike other grains it sort of hibernates in extreme cold and then grows again during a thaw.
I plant my plots in mid August to the first week of Sept. but I am in GA. I will probably over seed my plots with grain rye after a freeze or two.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cold weather in Central Illinois? Depends on the day usually!! Ultimately, we want this food plot, which is in the center of the property, to be a hunting season magnet that helps keep deer close. I don't want to hunt over it, per say....but would hunt some of the timber trails to and from it. Food source all around is corn and beans before and after harvest. Obviously the timber browse as well, but not a bunch of oaks/acorns as the timber is primarily lining the creek with CRP on both sides for soil erosion. Deer travel the creek and CRP heavy and up and out to the fields. The proposed plot isn't big enough to "grow bigger deer"....the corn and beans do just fine there...but after the snow drops or things get tougher....or even before during October through mid November.....I'd like this to be an attractant for them to come through before bedding, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree that looks like a good plan. It will also work well on the trails through the CRP we cut after we mow it down a bit more.
 

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Get you a couple lbs of turnip seed too. Aint very expensive if it doesn't grow (nothing much lost) but if it does then it'll add to the rye for drawing deer. If you have the access to the harrow and want to then it wont hurt anything to plow it a little just to loosen the dirt a little. You don't have to cover the seed though. Like said, throw the seed before a good rain is coming. Too early and the birds will work it over.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So went to the local mom and pop seed shop....old family owned store with a little bit of everything for lawns, farm, etc..

I ended up getting a bag of "cereal grain forage mix" consisting of equal third parts of Robust Barley, Winter Wheat, and Cereal Rye.

Also a small bag of their "Winter Browse Brassica Mix" they have mixed for them. It contains roughly 35% rape, 24.50% turnips, and just shy of 10% collards, Kale, rutabaga, and radish.

They suggested planting the brassica mix around the perimeter of the plot and the forage mix as the main course. It was all cheap enough we'll have to find/work open a couple of more spots.
 

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I sat in a stand on one of my food plots yesterday evening and the deer went straight for the brassicas over the wheat AND the corn feeder.
 
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I sat in a stand on one of my food plots yesterday evening and the deer went straight for the brassicas over the wheat AND the corn feeder.
Unreal that they are hitting them well already, they usually tear them up after a frost hits. I have not been paying any attention to what my back yard deer are actually eating but will go back and see soon.
 
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