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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wanting to try something new this year. Anyone have any ideas what I should try if I am looking for something high protein? My food plot is about 1 1/2 acre in size, right in the middle of our timber, with bedding areas on 2 sides. Normaly I just plant wheat, oats & milo. A while back I heard of something called rage or rape, I don't really remember the name. Has anyone heard about this or use it? If so how thick does it grow and when is the best time to plant it.
Thanks
RBH
 

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Its called rape or canola. Henry has been planting the stuff for a few years and could probably tell you the most about it. I tried it for 2-3 years and just never had that good of luck. Here's what I do know though. Most folks plant it in later august early September for seed production but if you want it as a good forage you should plant it late July early August and pray for rain. I planted some in the woods two years ago and where it got sunlight it did decent. It doesn't handle standing water very well so I hope your areas is pretty well drained. Weed control was an issue for me but if it gets a good start it can really grow fast and put on lots of leaf area that can shade out the weeds. I think the seeding rate is about 8-10 pounds/acre and MWT sells it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How tall did it get.
 

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My plots only got about 4-6 inches tall but I know it will do better than that. I think it had lots of factors going against it my situation.
 

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If you are wanting a high protien forage, then you are probably trying to maximize antler growth. If that is right then you will want to plant your protien source in May. I know that soybeans are very high in protein and are usually planted starting the second week of May. Of course the deer will mow them down so planting an ample amount is neccesary. Rape is a very good source of protien and can grow very thick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have also heard that soybeans are a great source of protien, but they wouldn't do very good in a food plot for me. Around the woods I hunt is several thousand acres of cropground for the deer to eat. With rape do I need to disk the ground up? I have a disk for my 4 wheeler so that isn't a problem if I need to. Can rape be planted in the spring? If so will it last throughout the year? Also how late in the year will it last?
Thanks:wave:
 

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:cheers: Josh, I planted some rape seed a couple of years ago got it from mrb it worked good it is something planted mainly in fall Aug/Sept it gets about 6-8 inches tall and the deer ate it after the frost. ( ate it alot better than the turnips I planted this year) If the ground is fairly open free of growth
i would Lime and fert and frost seed ladino / white dutch clover in your spot. I think the deer would be to hard on a bean plot of 1 1/2 acres. But for my money I would plant
clover. I have tried just about everthing once and clover and beans and wheat/oats in fall are hard to beat. I mow my clover plots( fairly high) about every 2-3 weeks it does 2 things it keeps weeds under control plus keeps new tender growth coming on. If the weather turns hot and dry I lay off the mowing until it rains and cools back off. Josh Ag Center
will order you small amounts of seed so you dont have to by
50 lbs at a time.
 

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Rape is typically seen as a winter annual, planted in the fall. overwinters and produces seed the following spring. I don't know how well it would do if planted in the spring. My guess would it might not handle the summer heat that well but thats just my guess. PLUS, from lots of folks and my experience the deer don't like it until it gets a good freeze.

As far as discing goes, I would say yes, you need to have a pretty decent seed bed prepared. It is a pretty small seed just a tad bigger than clover and needs pretty good seed/soil contact.

I think if you are looking for something high in protein that would do better earlier in the year I might select a clover or possible even lespedza. I see rape as more of a fall attractant plot.
 

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I would echo rmr's comments...if you have good cropland around your timber a good icecream type plot is what you are looking for. It could be planted in a clover mix, alfalfa, or a birdsfoot trefoil...this would be a perennial plot that would take some care in planting and some maintenance, but would off excellent protein and would relieve some of the efforts that go into planting an annual plot...I will try to post a document that Kent Kammermayer posted about deer icecream food plots.
 

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Rape works,,,but not every where. I have excellent luck with it, but have heard of others who don't. I think it ultimately comes down to what it is competeing against. The earlier you plant rape, the later it will be before the deer find it pallatible. If you plant rape late (mid sept to late sept) the deer will often be on it hard during ealry bow season. If you plant in august the plants will get larger, and usually deer won't utilize it till its been frozen and sweetens up. You could always try both rape and clover by doing a rape plot and a fall sowing of clover. You can see what kind of useage the rape will get, and the clover will come on the following spring,,,you just mow and go the next year. You will need to keep it mowed back so the rape does'nt come back from seed, if you want to eliminate the rape. It will bloom in late april if the deer leave enough plants to carry over. The seed heads will will come on in may and june and will mature similar timing to wheat.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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We accidentally been doing something right. We rotate our annual plots with beans and then rape and or turnips. We have been doing it for the nitrogen from the beans to keep costs down. I was;nt aware of a disease problem with continued brassica plantings till I read the article.

:cheers::cheers:
 

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Kent is a wonderful biologist and deer manager....he regularly writes for the Quality Whitetails magazine...a QDMA journal...you won't find better info about deer, habitat, and hunter management magazine.
 

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Rape is a viriety of brassica. As Henry said, people have results with rape, and all brassica for that matter that go from one extreme to the other. My biggest advice on brassicas plantings would be DO NOT plant to early. The bigger they get the less palatable they become. On top of that you'll have an awesome looking plot one day and within a week or two of bugs finding it you will have nothing but stalks. This is from personal experience.
My personal advice for your planing, in order to let you utilize some different plants, would be to plant a mix like premium perennial from Biologic. If you aren't big on commercial blends just check out the label and mix your own. Premium perennial consists of red and white clovers as well as a couple of different varieties of rape and chicory.
The one problem this will present is planting time. In order for your clover to be of any use this fall you will need to plant this spring. The problem that arised there is that your brassicas may be toasted by bugs before the summer is over. On the upside you will have a great, and high protien plot of different clover varieties as well as chicory and if luck is on your side some brassicas as well.
A fix for the problem is that even if your brassicas gets hurt by the bugs you can broadcast some rape, turnip, mustard, canola, etc... into the plot in the fall and still have it around when it counts. Of course if you mix your own you could wait until fall to add it in the first place. Easy to do, either just broadcast it into the plot or scratch it a little then broadcast it for better soil contact, and as long as you don't go crazy it won't hurt the clover and in fact can stimulate more growth.
The only other problem with a spring planting is weed control but if you stay on top of it you can control it.

As for how big rape gets it depends on the variety you plant. Here is a picture of my rape planting from last spring. It was planted the first week of march and this picture was taken June 20th. Here it was 43" tall. About two weeks later it was nothing but stalks from the bugs. Don't plant too early, I had to rework the ground and replant.
 

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I also planted the premuim perennial I mentioned the same day as the brassicas in the first week of march. Here it is on June 20th. Deer were pawing through the snow to get to it and it drew them all year.
Notice the brassicas in this plot is only about 18" tall if I remember correctly. Different varities, different soils, different results. I was very impressed with the premium perennial in it's first year and can't wait to see it this spring, it should look even better. In it's first year you can see the clover and chicory were very lush and got about a foot tall or better that quick. It got a little taller but I mowed it for weed control after these pictures. You could mix your own very similar in make-up for much less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all of the input. Now here is a stupid questions. Since all I have ever farmed is row crops when is the best time of the year to seed clover and alfalfa. Also how heavy do you put it out. I wish I had an aerial view of my plot to show you how it lays. around my stand I have approximately a 1 - 11/4 acre opening that I planted wheat and milo in last year. About 50 yards behind my stand I cleared another area about 20 yard wide and 60 yards long last year that I just put milo in and the deer tore it up. In addition to those to spots this year I am going to put in another strip that is about 70 yards in front of my stand that will be about 30 yards wide and 70 yards long. All 3 spots will get plenty of sunlight. Between the clover, alfalfa, wheat and milo which should I plant closest to my stand to get a good bow shot?
 

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rbh, on the alfalfa you can plant it in the spring or the around August. I put out about 20 acres of alfalfa last year on april 15th. had alot of neighbors tell me I was crazy for seeding then but now that I have a good stand (14 pounds per acre m/l) but that was for hay production.............. well lets just say no more comments. on pasture we seed right now with clover but for the food plot you may want to wait till late summer.

I dont know how expensive it is but they do now sell round up ready alfalfa.
 

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I know that for clover the best time is the dark of the moon in Feb., which happens to be the 25-26. You do not even need to work the ground up for clover, but it never hurts. The seeding rate is 9 pounds per acre. My dad and I are actually about to plant our fields, so i got the "down-low" from him;). Planting during February may seem early, but make sure you brush-hog the stand right before it turns to seed, otherwise the stand will die out. Of course it will reseed itself, but the stand might not be as hardy. Oh, and as an added bonus you should definately draw alot of spring turkeys to your plot with the young clover!!!!:dancin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Would it be safe to seed both alfalfa and clover around the end of August if I can get the ground worked good and just before a light rain? What I am wanting to do this year is put milo in the plot behind my stand again, since it seamed to do good there last year. Then the new strip about 70 yards in front of my stand I was thinking of trying the clover, alfalfa or wheat. I still haven't decided what to use in the larger opening around my stand, which is the only area I would be able to get a shot with a bow.
 
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