New Food Plot Cover Crop

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by ran287, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. ran287

    ran287 New Member

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    I'll be planting our first food plots on a new piece of property in Iowa. I've got a hunch that the soil is pretty acidic (haven't take a soil test yet) and will have to add a decent amount of lime. If that is the case I'm hoping to still get the plots prepared and put in some sort of cover crop this spring and concentrate on our fall plots. We'll have three plots that will be between 1.25 and 1.5 acres and one plot that will be closer to 2.5 to 3 acres. Looking for any advice on what would be a decent cover crop for spring and summer that could help the soil when tilled under in the fall.
     
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  3. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Reading your description...I would think that buckwheat would be a good place to start. Easy to grow, good soil builder, keeps weeds down in front of a late summer/early fall planting.
     
  4. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Curious why you think it will be so acidic. Rarely the case in iowa unless in trees.

    (Yes you should test)

    Buckwheat good option. I am also a fan of the annual clovers.
     
  5. ran287

    ran287 New Member

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    According to the landowner someone thought about renting the property for production at one point and said the soil was in pretty rough shape. I'm assuming that's what they meant. Again just a hunch at this point. Basically we would like to plant the clover for spring/summer, but would like to be able to put some sort of brassica or fall/winter food source in the same plots without plowing under the clover.
     
  6. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Could be but more likely a big P&K deficit. Let us know how your soil tests go.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    P&K to above. I agree. & Maybe ur soil is eroded? I assume it’s not deep black dirt but maybe more clay looking? Low fertility of p&k & low organic matter (top soil & Looks “rough” & erodes) is generally where I see that term used. In S part of state - u could have PH down to 5. I’ve seen some 4.8 before. So- you likely need lime as well. I’m guessing it’s high 5’s or low 6’s but I might be off.
    U need p&k, lime & no till with any of above. Corn if u did a grain over beans (for soil building). You can do plots & do rotations from dbltee section on here. You can fix that soil pretty fast if u get soil sample- put down what’s needed (manure would be ideal if u ever could get it) and care for it over several years to build soil.
     
  8. Tmayer13

    Tmayer13 PMA Member

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    agree with all of the above as far as soil quality goes but to answer your question about "cover crop". Buckwheat is a great option. Other would be oats with some annual clover(i.e crimson) and rather than plowing down, you could look at the brassicas section and see where Sligh1 actually went in and nuked his clover then seeded and ran cultimulcher over it. With adequate ran the brassicas will grow just fine. Or if you had a no-til drill you could nuke the clover and plant right into it and have same results. I would be looking to get some permanent clover stands started and then on some of the areas doing the dbltree rotation as mentioned above. Leave your big plot to the grains as your smaller ones will most likely get destroyed. As far as a nurse crop goes soybeans also wouldnt be a terrible option as you can get herbicide resistant plants to control your weeds then either til them under(Nitrogen producer) or kill and no til into them. Lots of options. As im sure everyone here will agree with do not let your soils sit bare. And also be under the mind set that the first couple years you will most likely be fighting some weeds. Good luck and lets us know how it goes for you
     

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