For the complete details of my Layered Food Plot method of planting you can click HERE, but I am really excited to share the progression of my own personal layered plot plantings. "Yes", I do practice what I preach! The other 1/2 of my plots are all planted in Northwoods Whitetails Brassica combo and soybeans, and I don't want to diminish how important that portion of each plot is. However the layered planting is what requires the most work and strategy to plant...so here are the pics of my winter rye layered food plot:
On August 11th I felt very fortunate to be able to not only broadcast the oats and radish blend (50#s of oats, 5#s of radishes per acre), but to be lucky enough to receive immediate rainfall! The fields were originally prepared by spraying a 2 quart per acre glyphosate mix during late June. By the time the ground was chisel-plowed and disced the weekend of August 9th, nearly 90% of the weeds were dead, brown and dry. However, the layer of soil under the surface was not! The layer of dead thatch laying on the surface appeared to hold moisture that was exposed when worked with heavy equipment. The combination of immediate light rain and moist soils proved to offer immediated germination to the oats and radishes that had been lightly covered with an ATV and a spike-toothed drag.
*Be sure to checkout my Winter Rye food plot video!
During the last 2 weeks of August, plenty of rain fell to compliment a good dose of sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. The growing conditions were as close to perfect as you can get, and the results showed! I was very pleased considering that according to the locals-the ground hadn't been worked in several decades. Due to time constraints I was unable to complete a soil test (not recommended!) so instead of using 50-100#s of forage peas per acre to add to the oats, I opted for the more poor soil tolerant choice of tillage radish.
On August 28th it was time to add 75#s of Urea (46-0-0) per acre to the brassica portions of the plots, which included the tillage radish within the oats. This was also a perfect time to add the 2nd layer of planting to the oats and radish portion too! I added 75#s per acre of Winter Rye to the blend and you can see the rice-sized seeds mixed in with the contrasting "white" of the Urea. Again I got lucky with my planting (combined with a good dose of studying Accuweather!) and there was immediate, heavy rain. We even ended in the rain a bit...which is always a good thing when planting.
Can you believe what can happen in just 5 days of warm temps, moisture and Urea? You can just see the start of young Winter Rye beginning to fill-in the exposed open soil (small redish-green stems). The layered plots are growing exceptionally well and the 3rd layer of rye will be added during mid-September.
The great thing is that the "shift" of habitat change has not happened yet, and the food plots are not getting pounded by daily doe family group feeding patterns. However, the leaves of the beans are turning brown and the alfalfa is almost ready for a last harvest...so an influx of deer is just around the corner! With a great growing season, the food plots are really gearing up for as much volume as possible heading into October, which is just in time to catch the area mature bucks as they re-located to their Fall habitat.