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help on big food plots #5530769 01/09/15 09:44 PM
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Rob Lay Offline OP
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I met with land owner to north of me in southern Oklahoma. he's a rancher and wants to graze my 40 acre pasture and I want him to plant me food plots! seems like everything is mutually beneficial. smile

I have 40 acres in pasture that the rancher actually did the work on as he had the grazing lease before. He already has an electric fence around it. I just took ownership in December. It is really good grazing acreage, mainly because he's worked on it so hard for years. I'm not trying to make money, but what is comparable value 35 acres of prime grazing vs. 5 acres of food plots disc, plant, and spraying various plants?

Beyond that what should I be thinking about planting for Southern Oklahoma? It should grow about anything. I will start hunting it archery opening, so something like beans I can setup close to tree stand would be good. For my mom hunting rifle it would need to be plant that does well 3rd week November.

Thanks!

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5530789 01/09/15 09:53 PM
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$400-$600

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5530794 01/09/15 09:54 PM
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it's a good trade IMO

Especially since you don't have any equipment.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5531395 01/10/15 01:48 AM
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Depends on how many cows he's going to run and when he's going to pull them off. Pricing at 10-14 dollars and acre is what I've seen. Then again i've seen some folks charge by the cow per month! If he's worked the land and improved the pasture he's definitely someone you'd want to work with and have a good relationship with. Also one consideration is when he will pull the cows off the place for you? Will they remain during bow season? Will you be hunting feeders? If so feeder pens will need to be put up to keep the cows off. I've ben researching this very thing and I believe you can feasibly do two plantings. A spring mix that keeps the deer going well in the summer and then a fall mix that helps them out as well.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5531424 01/10/15 02:05 AM
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Excellent pasture in your area is about $30/acre annual rent (max). I pay $25/hr for plowing in the area. 5 acres is about 3 hours and then 1 hour to lightly disc over to cover. In spring soybeans/lablab/milo type mix will run you about $80 per 50lb bag and it will take about 4 bags with spreader. Ringling has the cheapest bulk fertilizer I have found and was $12 per 100lb last year. I like about 100lbs per acre with soybeans. So, if you spread, 5 acres in spring would cost you about $500 to plant. I have planted my soybeans/milo/lablab as late as june trying to have green leaves for early bow. Never has worked out, they always dry up before then. What has worked is my alfalfa/clover plots, that is where we see the mature bucks hitting in early bow season. I turn my bean plots into wheat/oat/turnip plots first of September. This gives the area a month to settle back down. If I get a good stand of beans/milo with lots of full pods, I will leave half of it alone. The deer seem to go back to eat in late November to January.

The fall plots are a little cheaper to plant because seed is cheaper and you don't need as much fertilizer (beans but nutrients back into the soil).

My personal opinion on the area is to leave cattle out of it and let it get grown over. That is if you want to produce and hold bigger deer. I know cattle don't hurt deer, but deer would rather cruise around tall grass/brush than short pasture. It is also less headaches dealing with cattle in your plots and tearing up feeders. They love to rub on expensive things for some darn reason.

I have actually let my neighbor set a few cattle loose on mine in January to help mow down my food plots. He lets them in for a couple days (about 8 cows) every 2 weeks and it does a great job. He in turn does work for me and helps watch the place. It is a win/win.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5531437 01/10/15 02:17 AM
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Rob,

You will get a lot more utilization of the plots if you have four 1 acre plots compared to one 5 acre plot(I like 2 acre plots next to cover and 1/2 acre plots inside cover the best). Also, with just one plot, you run the risk of running the deer off the first time you hunt and making them only use it at night. Even on my 1 and 2 acre plots, the outside of the plot next to cover gets eaten down to the nub before they venture further out into the middle of the plot (daylight hours).

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5531440 01/10/15 02:20 AM
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The price of pasture rent has probably went down a little since I was offered $20/acre 3 years ago. Mine is about 70% wooded with post oaks/pecans and fruit trees. I didn't take the offer and he increased it to $25....of course, I still didn't take it.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5533384 01/11/15 12:33 AM
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cool, this is giving me type of info I need.

I know some guys get and pay a bunch of money for doing plots. sounds like yours is on the more economical side. acquaintance was quoted $3-5k for 5-10 acre food plot. neighbor already has his tractor right there planting stuff on his side of fence and we have a few pass through gates.

even at $20 an acre grazing sounds like I have the much better end of deal. I will probably need to pick up all the costs (seed, gas, fertilizer) and just have him run the tractor.

we'll adjust the electric fence so it keeps cows away from the hunting spots and plots anyway.

I like the idea of a few 1-2 acre plots vs. big one.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5533653 01/11/15 02:17 AM
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Just figure 15.00 a head per month. 20 head equals 300.00 a month. It cost about 25.00 nacre to plow and plant not including ferterlizer. That is for wheat.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5537331 01/12/15 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted By: Rob Lay
cool, this is giving me type of info I need.

I know some guys get and pay a bunch of money for doing plots. sounds like yours is on the more economical side. acquaintance was quoted $3-5k for 5-10 acre food plot. neighbor already has his tractor right there planting stuff on his side of fence and we have a few pass through gates.

even at $20 an acre grazing sounds like I have the much better end of deal. I will probably need to pick up all the costs (seed, gas, fertilizer) and just have him run the tractor.

we'll adjust the electric fence so it keeps cows away from the hunting spots and plots anyway.

I like the idea of a few 1-2 acre plots vs. big one.


I use to always do small ones since it was all I had to work with. Once I did a 20acre plot and saw the payoff id sacrifice all those small ones for one big one in a heartbeat. When you have a spot that deer can come to and know there is food and not slim pikins they will come from a long ways to get to it. Also helps your plot stay ahead of the deer even with huge herds. For every 4 bags of oats I put a bag of weat and a few pounds of vetch. Also would take turnips and run an X though the field by hand.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5537336 01/12/15 03:27 PM
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Do you have a trap that cows can be kept off and then flash grazed when needed?

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5537351 01/12/15 03:35 PM
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I agree with NAV, I'd rather have 2 5-10 acre plots, but not in a huge square, they will get much more use if you shape them oddly, like a peanut, or somewhat winding. Increases edge line and edge browse. Bigger PITA to tractor, but it is worth it.


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Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5537576 01/12/15 05:24 PM
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I have several 'roads / paths' that criss-cross and wind their way around my place. What I have done is widen the roads / paths by two tracker widths on each side of the road/path. I plant my 'plots' along the roads in this widened area. Gives me coverage across my whole place, gives immediate cover to the deer, and gives me access to hunt much of the 'plots' via the stands I already have that overlook the roads.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5537925 01/12/15 08:12 PM
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I know it depends on deer density.....but what size of food plot is needed so that its growth will keep up with deer browse pressure?

I've got some 1ac plots...that when they grow...the deer just mow them to the ground. going to work on an 8ac plot this year....I don't have any brush clearing equipment....I do have a tractor for plowing and planting...so I tend to work with existing open areas where not much brush would need to be cut.

I've got an areas that's approx. 8ac that I want to open up this year. going to disc a fire break and burn it this spring. cut some minor brush out by hand...and then plow it all under.

will this be a noticeable difference in how the growth keeps up with the eating pressure?


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Re: help on big food plots [Re: Erich] #5540340 01/13/15 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted By: Erich
I know it depends on deer density.....but what size of food plot is needed so that its growth will keep up with deer browse pressure?

I've got some 1ac plots...that when they grow...the deer just mow them to the ground. going to work on an 8ac plot this year....I don't have any brush clearing equipment....I do have a tractor for plowing and planting...so I tend to work with existing open areas where not much brush would need to be cut.

I've got an areas that's approx. 8ac that I want to open up this year. going to disc a fire break and burn it this spring. cut some minor brush out by hand...and then plow it all under.

will this be a noticeable difference in how the growth keeps up with the eating pressure?


Yes you will see a difference but still depends on your herd size. You will want to fertalize also. One good tool that I like is fencing off just a small 4x4 spot.. this can show you the potential of your plot vs. how much the deer are eating. Iv seen a lot of plots that needed fertilizer or more seed, better soil cover etc... they look good and green yes and they would have grown a bit yes but not to the potential of what could be and its hard to tell with deer cleaning it up. Get your soil checked and see what your working with to maximize this. if not your making a lot of rounds and using a lot of fuel to get half of what you could be doing. Lime is also a big need for my area and usually do it every 4-7 years depending on the soil.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5540347 01/13/15 06:50 PM
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Many ways to help a plot is right at the beginning also when the seed is grabbing its roots.. drilling the seed is the best way this is done but have seen some use hot wires or smell deterrents.. hope I spelled that right

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5540606 01/13/15 08:21 PM
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Erich, soundd like a good plan. May want to get a soil sample prior to the burn since it will skew the potAsh. Or wait a few months after the burn to take the sample.

I think 8 acres will at least suffice the 1st year and be a huge boost in your feed output, then you may pull more deer in when the "word gets out". What Nav said about a small "ample area" works, basically shows you what the field would be like if it wasn't being grazed, easiest thing I have used is a couple "T" post seat about 4' apart, then a circle of field fence or other barrier. If you're still getting grazed down though with 8 acres, "what it would be like un-grazed" is a moot point.


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Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5546827 01/16/15 05:13 PM
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I love how deer kill the beans up in Kansas early season. is there not enough water or soil not right for beans in southern Oklahoma?

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5567628 01/27/15 09:08 PM
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What seed brands does everyone like? I'm thinking Tecomate as a Texas company they should have more experience with Southern Oklahoma climate and soil.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5568056 01/28/15 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted By: Rob Lay
I love how deer kill the beans up in Kansas early season. is there not enough water or soil not right for beans in southern Oklahoma?


On a normal to above average rain year (in June/July/Aug/Sep), soybeans should stay green into early season if planted late May/early June. When I tried it, we didn't get enough moisture during the summer and they dried out/eaten down. I am planting Lab/Lab in mid April this year and see how well it does into Sept/Oct.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5568061 01/28/15 12:46 AM
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Also, the size of the plot or amount of feed needed is based on amount of deer and amount of natural groceries. Where Rob's land is located in Oklahoma, there is tons more natural groceries than many parts of Texas. He actually doesn't need to plant anything to keep his deer herd healthy. He is only planting to help draw deer closer to harvest. I would rather have one or two sets of eyes on me when I am hunting rather than 30 sets. But, I guess that is just personal preference of an avid bow hunter.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5568068 01/28/15 12:50 AM
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I have used about every name brand seed out there and I don't see a difference to speak of. It is nice when you have the equipment to have round up ready seeds, but spraying chemicals on your deer's food isn't the brightest idea either. I like to put down granules when I plant to help with the bugs that come up from the soil.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Pittstate] #5568785 01/28/15 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted By: Pittstate
I have used about every name brand seed out there and I don't see a difference to speak of. It is nice when you have the equipment to have round up ready seeds, but spraying chemicals on your deer's food isn't the brightest idea either. I like to put down granules when I plant to help with the bugs that come up from the soil.


OK, so you are saying there are some herbicide and pesticide options that come with planting? that way no chemical risk and respraying?

I guess at minimum I will need to spray some fertilizer?

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5568799 01/28/15 02:32 PM
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I use race horse oats for the winter and then just bulk feed store seed for spring like cow peas and vetch.. Im not going to spend the money for big name brand mixes when i can get the one or two seeds i want for less in a 50lb bag.

Re: help on big food plots [Re: Rob Lay] #5568802 01/28/15 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted By: Rob Lay
Originally Posted By: Pittstate
I have used about every name brand seed out there and I don't see a difference to speak of. It is nice when you have the equipment to have round up ready seeds, but spraying chemicals on your deer's food isn't the brightest idea either. I like to put down granules when I plant to help with the bugs that come up from the soil.


OK, so you are saying there are some herbicide and pesticide options that come with planting? that way no chemical risk and respraying?

I guess at minimum I will need to spray some fertilizer?


Fertilizer is always a good idea. unless there is no rain

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