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#5838561 - 07/19/15 03:13 PM Winter Food Plot: El Ninio
MathMan Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/24/10
Posts: 1558
Loc: South Texas
Winter Food Plot: for Attractant
Size: 5000 sq ft
Soil: clay loam, some more loan some more clay.
Location: South Eastern Atascosa County
no shade, full sun
Cost: minimal
All work done by hand unless I can get our tractor running that has sat for 10 years.

I've never planted a food plot due to it being so dry always. This year they are expecting el Ninio and a wetter than normal winter so maybe this year it will be possible to grow a food plot.

My questions are:
What should I plant in the conditions above?
I was thinking clover and oats. Very cheap and I've seen them grow in this area.
I would fertilize with a cheap bag or 2 of 15-15-15 from the feed store.

When should I plant?
I have read to plant in late October and just before a rain. Is that correct? Can I plant earlier if it's wet?

I would be killing the grass in the area with roundup soon to make it easier to rake the soil to plant.
I read to rake it, fertilize with the cheap fertilizer, let it rain, rake again, plant seed, cover seed by raking, then hope it rains. About 3600 sq foot will be in feeder pens.

What do yall think?
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#5838579 - 07/19/15 03:32 PM Re: Winter Food Plot: El Ninio [Re: MathMan]
Texas buckeye Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 2963
Loc: Keller
Wheat is easy and will sit in the ground u too wet hits it. Oats has been very well received by deer but oats requires a bit more timing with time to plant to rain from what I have read (never tried oats myself). don't know much about clover. For a cheap and fairly easy attractant/kill plot, wheat is hard to beat.

I have had wheat planted last two years in mid September and it sometimes has waited weeks before good rain. It has been good for archery season both years (tho just getting into that myself this year) and we have taken shots at deer in the plots as early as opening gun day to as late as early January. Deer have kept the wheat low every year until spring green-up and then they let it go.


Edited by Texas buckeye (07/19/15 03:37 PM)

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#5838927 - 07/19/15 08:32 PM Re: Winter Food Plot: El Ninio [Re: MathMan]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
IMO inside a feed pen is a waste if you have a lot of deer. Feed pen is to high of traffic area. Not much area to plant and deer eating corn will stomp and kill most of what they don't eat first.
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#5839144 - 07/20/15 01:20 AM Re: Winter Food Plot: El Ninio [Re: MathMan]
MathMan Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 07/24/10
Posts: 1558
Loc: South Texas
I was thinking of putting it inside the feeder pen due to hogs eating it. I don't have to put it in the feeder pen.

I've been thinking of building a homemade cultivator plow to make it easier on me so I don't have to rake so much and I could do a better job. I think it would be a lot of work at our place to do it by hand.

What about a mixture of oats, winter wheat, and annual ryegrass? I think our local feed store sells those by the pound.

I'd like to plant before bow season as to not disturb hunting much. Would mid September work in south tx? I know it depends on weather though.

Is it ok to plow it soon so it's less disturbed close to the season?
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#5839164 - 07/20/15 05:27 AM Re: Winter Food Plot: El Ninio [Re: MathMan]
Western Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 23584
Loc: Wise County Texas
I'm with STX on this one, if you have many deer, 5000 sq ft will not have a chance IMO, Get that tractor running and you have some great options. Renting a tractor is always an option as well.

I like your mix other than the annual rye, deer may hit it when it is 2-3" but then it gets tough and will out compete for available moisture. A cereal grain rye is a whole different ballgame though.

Only real trouble with oats is they can freeze out (not real common though) S Texas it may not even be an issue and deer love the stuff. Feed store would know the best average time to plant there, it is mid Sept. usually here, so I would assume S Texas would be a bit later.
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#5839514 - 07/20/15 11:21 AM Re: Winter Food Plot: El Ninio [Re: MathMan]
MoBettaHuntR Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/29/14
Posts: 669
Loc: West is the best...
Not saying food plots are a waste of time but like others mentioned unless you have the fields and tractor/equipment to get it done right just hunt whatever natural browse is available and you have the feeder for when its not available. There is a reason natural plants grow where they do and crops don't. If fertilizer is the only thing pushing a crop ever year its not ideal any ways. I think it simplifies your hunt because you know there is a limited amount of food sources. Sure if you invest in 100 acre plot every year you will attract more wildlife but unless the property is managed correctly or used for outfitting is the cost worth it? So many hunters want the deer to come to their blind location. Instead put your blind or hunt near where the deer are naturally browsing or traveling.

I have access to equipment and the right fields doing it on sizable acreage but even with good rainfall the return on investment is minimal. Plus dependent on rainfall if your not irrigated. Over seed with oats or plant some attractive trees or bushes that will be there for years if you have water nearby. Sure visions of big mature bucks in prime plots are nice but in Texas if your not a farmer already or managing a fertilizer and seed bill into you hunting expense for the year is no big deal, even small "budget plots" aren't worth your time or sweat. Or if you just enjoy working the land go for it. You could also try leasing a place from a farmer with a deer problem should be cost effective for both parties. Also the sales for most of these food plots in a bag are a rip off. If you do buy seed go to your local seed supply store and find something that will actually grow and is not sold by a hunting company. it will save you hundreds even on a small plot.
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