I hear at times how my food plot blends are different than they are used to planting There is a reason for what is in each mix, mother nature. When I put together each blend, I want to have at least one forage that handles wet. I want to have a forage that handles dry. Lastly, I want a forage that grows fast. What we are trying to accomplish is having something in each mix that will handle whatever mother nature throws at us.
Forages all have varying maturity dates. We have radishes that mature in 42-56 days. Many forage turnips mature in 60 days and forages like winfred brassica and kale mature in 70-80 days. When forages reach maturity, their quality drops. You see plant protein, mineral, energy and digestibility drop every day after they reach maturity. The result is deer will stop grazing that forage in favor of a more nutritious and desirable forage.
An area overlooked is planting the wrong species in the wrong areas. If you plant a forage that doesn't do well in wet, you might have some growth but it more than likely will be stressed or stunted. Forages that are unhealthy are less palatable to deer. If your planting a perennial clover mix that is heavy in ladino clover, what happens if it rains a lot? What happens to that ladino clover during July and August each year? This is why we want multiple forages in our perennial mixes. I like using alfalfa and chicory in perennial blends due to their ability to handle the drier summer months.
On wet years, we tend to have more insect pressures and plant diseases. On a dry year we might so significantly lower growth patterns or perhaps your forages will die off on you. None of us know what mother nature will throw at us and this is exactly why we want plenty of different forages on our properties every year. I want you all to consider having at least 1/3 of your property planted to perennials. I want 1/3 of your property planted into brassicas and winter bulbs. Lastly, we want that last 1/3 planted into soybeans, corn or soil building mixes.
If you have a property that has a lot of biodiversity your tilting the table in your favor for holding deer on your property. Always have something palatable on your property for the deer to eat and you will help keep them deer.