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Food plot question #7963241 09/06/20 06:14 PM
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Have a small place just outside Gatesville in Coryell county. The last 4-5 years Ive planted small plots on our place of wheat or oats. I plant around mid October to late October depending on when I can get over to do it. Every year they come up great and the deer hit them and use them like crazy until Thanksgiving or just after. Then the plots seem to almost die out or at least stop growing. They dont get bigger it seems and the deer stop using them totally. Any ideas what Im doing wrong that causes the plots to not continuing to develop or grow? The seem to stop at 4-5 inches high. Im no farmer so just looking for advice what I may be doing wrong since they start so well and then fizzle out

Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7963250 09/06/20 06:19 PM
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Did you fertilize the plots? Are you getting rain after you plant to keep the growth up to the grazing pressure from the deer? Certain types of oats can not tolerate really cold temps with dry conditions and will freeze out. Does a neighbor plant wheat close by? Could be that the neighbor has fresh new growth that the deer prefer more than your plot.


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Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7963252 09/06/20 06:19 PM
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welcome


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Re: Food plot question [Re: stxranchman] #7963264 09/06/20 06:28 PM
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I have not ever fertilized honestly. They always come up so quickly and good I've never thought to do it. I was wondering about the cold and maybe if they " froze" but I didn't know if that happened to oats honestly. It does seem to happen once its gotten colder. The deer just avoid them totally it seems. From 10-12 eating at once to none even stopping by at all. Same story last 4-5 years so I want to try to get it right this year. I will look into the fertilizing issue and see what I can find out. My neighbor has a local farmer that plants a 50 acre field field of wheat that always does well but some years he doesnt get it planted until much later than I do. Maybe need to pick his brain as well. My plots are small around an acre or two at most.
Thanks for the advice stxranchman

Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7963270 09/06/20 06:35 PM
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The later planting with new growth is drawing the deer more than your older growth. With that small of plots the deer are eating them down to the ground and if you are not getting timely rains to keep the growing they are probably dying out. Feed oats and certain varities of oats that are not cold tolerant can freeze out. Army worms can hit plots planted to early also and wipe them out shortly after to early of plantings.


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Re: Food plot question [Re: stxranchman] #7963271 09/06/20 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
The later planting with new growth is drawing the deer more than your older growth. With that small of plots the deer are eating them down to the ground and if you are not getting timely rains to keep the growing they are probably dying out. Feed oats and certain varities of oats that are not cold tolerant can freeze out. Army worms can hit plots planted to early also and wipe them out shortly after to early of plantings.


Now that makes a lot of sense. They do hit them super hard and my areas to plant just aren't super large so I can see them just eating them down to nothing. I'm trying to plant more plots this year but none will be super large. Deer just eat you out of house and home lol.Maybe wheat would do better on the cold than oats and some other types. I'm learning as I go I guess.Nice to get some help on here. Thanks.

Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7963803 09/07/20 03:14 AM
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you may want to mix it up with winter peas and clover.


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Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7964194 09/07/20 04:00 PM
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Another thought is to put in some exclusion cages. Just to see if the deer have gone nocturnal and are browsing on the plots when you aren’t there. Do you have cameras on the plots?

My thought, if wheat is staying about 4-5 inches tall, it’s getting eaten by something. Can you look at the plants and see sharp flat lines across the top or are they spear tip pointy? If there are sharp flat tops they are getting browsed. Spear tips would be natural Growth.

Put an exclusion cage or two up and you might be shocked at what is happening.

Re: Food plot question [Re: Texas buckeye] #7964246 09/07/20 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Another thought is to put in some exclusion cages. Just to see if the deer have gone nocturnal and are browsing on the plots when you aren’t there. Do you have cameras on the plots?

My thought, if wheat is staying about 4-5 inches tall, it’s getting eaten by something. Can you look at the plants and see sharp flat lines across the top or are they spear tip pointy? If there are sharp flat tops they are getting browsed. Spear tips would be natural Growth.

Put an exclusion cage or two up and you might be shocked at what is happening.


Thats not a bad idea. No cameras. Just seemed weird the deer would just walk though the plots and never stop to nibble when earlier in the month they would specifically come to eat the oats/wheat. It would go from from having 10-12 feeding to none. I just figured I must be doing something wrong the last few years. Its good to get some input from others.Going to make use of the suggestions this year and hope for some better results.

Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7964463 09/07/20 09:21 PM
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I would be shocked if you had quite a bit of nocturnal eating going on in the plots. By that time of year most deer have been around hunters for enough time to know to go nocturnal, esp if pressure is high in the area.

Since you don’t have cameras in the plots to show, Exclusion cages will tell you if the problem is browse or in the ground.

Last edited by Texas buckeye; 09/07/20 09:22 PM.
Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7965350 09/08/20 04:23 PM
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I would do a mixture of 1/2 oats, 1/4 wheat, 1/4 Austrian winter peas. Using a ratio of 100 pounds of oats per acre. And if you don't get the soil tested, 150lbs of 13-13-13.


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Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7965376 09/08/20 04:36 PM
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Over the years, several studies by the Deer Management Gurus, have shown that wt's will walk around everything to get to fertilized oats, plain old BOB OATS. A hard freeze will knock them back but with NE Texas weather a couple of days of sunshine and warming temps, they will pop back. If you are hunting MLD property, some oats & Austrian Winter Peas will extend the grazing time thru our hardest winter temps, Jan -Feb.







Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7965415 09/08/20 05:03 PM
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Soil fertility has a lot more to do with crop growth past the 4" to 6" spurt growth stage, nutrient value, palatability & hardiness than most folks realize.

Deer will eat oats, peas, wheat (whatever) that are knee, waist to chest tall if the crop is palatable and has nutrient value. If either of these are off they'll go somewhere else to find what they need.

If you get semi decent rain and yours aren't growing over 6" tall anywhere in the field I'd bet you have a soil fertility problem, or enough deer around to keep them knocked down.
Depending on the size of the food plot you'd probably know if there were that many deer around, without exclusion cages, you'd see them or be captured on your cameras.


I'll never understand why folks will burn even a quart of gas or diesel to till or disc food plots without taking soil samples & getting soil tests then amending the soil as called for.
Most often you can spread whatever amendments the soil needs then disc, harrow or drag the area to incorporate, then when it is time to plant the soil is prepared to grow a good crop.





Re: Food plot question [Re: Rustler] #7968955 09/10/20 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Rustler
Soil fertility has a lot more to do with crop growth past the 4" to 6" spurt growth stage, nutrient value, palatability & hardiness than most folks realize.

Deer will eat oats, peas, wheat (whatever) that are knee, waist to chest tall if the crop is palatable and has nutrient value. If either of these are off they'll go somewhere else to find what they need.

If you get semi decent rain and yours aren't growing over 6" tall anywhere in the field I'd bet you have a soil fertility problem, or enough deer around to keep them knocked down.
Depending on the size of the food plot you'd probably know if there were that many deer around, without exclusion cages, you'd see them or be captured on your cameras.


I'll never understand why folks will burn even a quart of gas or diesel to till or disc food plots without taking soil samples & getting soil tests then amending the soil as called for.
Most often you can spread whatever amendments the soil needs then disc, harrow or drag the area to incorporate, then when it is time to plant the soil is prepared to grow a good crop.





I totally agree ... but with one of our places being 3+ hour drive, I forget throughout the year to get soil samples to have tested, but I can tell it is missing something since we rarely got a good stand of oats/wheat in several locations.


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Re: Food plot question [Re: SB9969] #7973801 09/14/20 09:54 PM
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You can buy a kit to test it yourself. Not sure how accurate they are, but can't hurt to try.

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