2015 Spring Plots are in!

Again in 2015 I’m hitting the soybeans really hard.  Out of all my available acres for food plots, I have put in almost 90% into soybeans.  Some of those soybeans will be tilled under in July and bulb producing brassicas like purple top turnips will be planted in their place.  The brassicas will be able to take advantage of the nitrogen fixed by the soybeans up to that point.  Two food plots “The Boot” and “The Culdesac” will also be tilled under in late August and my fall winter rye/appin turnips/dwarf rape blend will be planted in those small interior plots.  I use soybeans as a way to fix nitrogen for future plots and to have great weed control on plots I plan on putting in greens later in the year.

I went with a slightly later maturing soybean this year.  One of my future clients works for Dairyland Seed.  Working with them we decided to go with late category III all the way to late category IV soybeans.  Just a touch later to try and help with soybean shattering.  We'll see how this goes but I'm optimistic.

I went with a slightly later maturing soybean this year. One of my future clients works for Dairyland Seed. Working with them we decided to go with late category III all the way to late category IV soybeans. Just a touch later to try and help with soybean shattering. We’ll see how this goes but I’m optimistic.  (Note: this is for southern Iowa)

I broke ground on new acreage too this year expanding the size of two food plots.  In past years I have been reluctant to burn off the debris from the switch grass that covered the ground previously so I was forced to till the ground for hours just to break it.  Burning is by far the method of choice, but absent my confidence in pulling this off without letting the fire get away from me, and my only other choice was to remove the thatch.  So…this year I bought a 3 point hay rake to do the job and it worked great.  It removed the debris as planned and now I have a way to create fire barriers for burning if I desire to do so.

My dad raking off the mowed switch grass preparing a seed bed for expanding a food plot.

My dad raking off the mowed switch grass preparing a seed bed for expanding a food plot.

The only remaining acreage not planted in soybeans this year I put into field corn.  I don’t necessarily like corn as a food plot because of cost, but I need to be able to start rotating some crops on my beans.  The corn should also provide a little more variety and might extend my plots later into the late season.  I only put in about 1.5 acres of corn so I also built another electric fence around this plot.

One of the finished food plots.  This plot is electric fenced in and planted in corn.  Just like the soybeans, I spread the corn seed and fertilizer and then disc them in.

One of the finished food plots. This plot is electric fenced in and planted in corn. Just like the soybeans, I spread the corn seed and fertilizer and then disc them in.  In this picture, only one row of fencing is up…two rows were put in eventually. 

This year, all spring planted food plots were put in April 30th and May 1st.  Next up, spraying in about 2 more weeks.

6 thoughts on “2015 Spring Plots are in!

  1. Great information, I have two plots in Beans and I am afraid one of them
    is going to be destroyed before they get to height needed for survival.
    What is the height needed for spraying for weed control?

    • I’m assuming you planted roundup ready beans? If not let me know.

      I think the best time is about 3-5 weeks after planting. I like my beans up around 3-6 inches that way the weeds are also up and thriving as well which makes for a good kill on them. Hopefully, if you time it right, the beans will then canopy over before weeds get a chance to come up and compete again. If you do get weeds again later, you are far better off to spray again even if you run some beans over than to let the weeds grow and seed out.

      Curious…what are your plans if the bean plots get hammered and don’t make it to maturity?

  2. I’m preparing to plant an acre of soybeans now. I live in WV what type do you recommend? What type of fertilizer and weed killer should I use? If I don’t fence it in is there something I can plant in the outside of the bean field to keep the deer from coming in the middle to help the beans mature?

    • By type, I’m assuming you mean what age class or category??? I would go with something in the category IV’s and plant Ag beans not forage beans. For this year, you might want to go with an earlier bean like a category II or III since it is getting later in the season. Fertilize with a high potash fertilizer and if you buy roundup ready soybean seed you can use glyphosate over top the whole plot when everything gets up around 3-6 inches. The glyphosate herbicide will kill the weeds and leave the beans alone. I’m not aware of any effective plot planting “barrier” which is why I use the electric fence method. If you go through with it, post back and let us know how it worked out! You can also look at this link (Click Here) for more information about planting soybeans. For more information on understanding roundup ready crops click Here.

  3. Great article on soybeans, thank you. My father has 40 acres of hardwood
    In SW Wisconsin which was demolished by a tornado last Spring in 2014.
    the land is shaped like a “V” with flat areas on top that are now open to
    sunlight, loggers have removed the big oaks, and the trees are now very sparse
    on about 40% of his land – it has always been a great transition 40 to hunt
    during the rut, but we now want to put in some food plots. Would love to
    Put in soybeans on the flat areas on top of both ridges and clover on the
    new logging trails – your opinion would be awesome. Thank You, Craig

    • The flat areas on the tops sound very much like smaller interior plots to me. It will be hard to get soybeans to grow to maturity and be available for fall hunting. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with trying soybeans (next year it’s getting late this year)…if they make it and you have enough acreage then you are good to go. Plant roundup ready varieties and spray them so if they don’t make it, you will have a good weed free area for a fall green plot each year and the soybeans will fix nitrogen all summer. Then if you till the soybeans under the next plot will take advantage of the fixed nitrogen. My favorite fall plot is an annual planting of winter rye, appin turnips, and dwarf essex rape. If the soybeans don’t work I would go with this annual planting. For the logging roads—if you want to establish clover—I would also go the first year with winter rye, appin turnips, and replace the rape with clover seed. Both should be planted around the end of August. Check out this article (click HERE) for seeding rates and depth. Good luck and make sure to post back how things work out.

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