Last weekend we were doing some mid summer work getting ready for that final push before hunting season. This is the time of year to be putting in your brassica plots that you are planting for the bulb/root development for late fall and winter hunting. I really like to plant all or most of my plots in soybeans so that I can keep the weeds in check and take advantage of the nitrogen the soybean fixes. By planting all my plots in beans, I know I will have a preferred food source while they are green throughout the summer…I can then till in some beans right now this time of year and take advantage of the nitrogen they fix for my brassica plots.
Soybeans fix nitrogen because they are a legumes. The nitrogen is produced by biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by bacteria living in colonies (nodules) on the soybean roots. Biological fixation accounts for 50 to 75 percent of the soybean crops’ total nitrogen requirement. The remainder is obtained from the soil. When you till under a soybean plant this time of year you are in effect tilling in the 50-75% portion of the fixed nitrogen back into the soil that is now readily available for the next crop. From data I have seen, this can be as high as 150 or more pounds of nitrogen per acre. This is ideal for brassicas!!! We like to till under strips in our soybean plots or the edges where the deer have started pounding the beans. Then we broadcast the brassica seed and disc them in lightly.
This year, we are using bulk seed bought by the pound. We very seldom use commercialized hyped up seed blends. For this time of year you can plant forage or bulb producing turnips, radishes, or rape. What we have chosen this year is a blend of purple top turnip (bulb producer), appin turnip (forage producer) and ground hog radish (bulb producer). We are planting mostly purple top with some appin and radish mixed in. Again, this planting this time of year is used mainly for bulb production for later season hunting.
Of course, like any other year, we are starting to pound the cameras. The crops look very good this year and a drive around the neighborhood showed the deer are dispersed all over feeding mainly on alfalfa and soybeans. All the time and effort we put into food plots is really about making sure the deer use our hunting grounds after the fall harvest. This time of year, in farm country, you will see deer spread out where ever there are good food sources. Because the deer are spread out and there is so much food available, it is hard to get consistent pictures with cameras. Any truly big bucks are no doubt spending very little time traveling…they bed most of the time and travel short distances to their food and water sources. It has always been hard for me to get consistent pictures this time of year.
Check out the 2014 Photos page. I’m going to start posting our photos for the year to this page starting now.