August 17, 2011
Recovering From Food Plot Failures
By Scott Bestul
Despite our best attempts, not every food plot will look like the one pictured above. Rain doesn’t fall, weeds take over, seeds don’t germinate, and sometimes even the whitetails are a problem; two of our most anticipated plots this year were completely wiped out by deer by the end of July. Such disasters leave us with two options; give up, or try to remedy the situation with another attempt.
Shortly after writing this, I’m heading out to help a neighbor with the second option. This past weekend we tilled under our two failed plots and dragged them with a 6-foot drag pulled behind an ATV. Today we’ll re-plant them and hope that enough rain falls to salvage the plots.
We’ll be relying on three seed types; an annual rye, some forage oats, and brassicas. The rye and oats are actually an excellent option for second-attempt late-summer plots, as they germinate fairly quickly and are attractive to deer as soon as they start sprouting. I’ve planted them as late as September and had excellent results. Brassicas are another great option, as they grow pretty quickly (given adequate rain) and deer typically leave them alone until after the first frosts release sugar into the leaves.
What are your last-minute fixes for plots that don’t grow like the ones shown on the seed bags?