View Full Version : Oats vs Brassica's

11-13-2010, 06:59 PM
Sorry in advance for being so long winded!

Only our second year with food plots in northern MN. Plot covers about 2 1/2 acres. 2 acres on a fire break that was burnt this spring and 1/2 an acre on a cleared off area. Both areas get almost full sun light. The area is ditched bog hay land re forested but still holds water and is low with good soil that is around 6 ph or higher before adding lime.

First year planted brassicas and clover. Everything came up great and the deer destroyed the brassicas. Clover did good. Came up good in the spring but didn't get hit hard. Did a soil test and applied about half the lime and fertilizer called for before planting.

This year planted some beans, peas, clover, brassicas and oats. Applied more lime/fert according to soil test before planting. We had a very wet year with standing water in the food plot. Beans and peas did good early and the deer ate them down. Clover came through even better than last year but they don't seem to be using it much. I over seeded the brassicas, bummer! It came up thick but didn't get real big. Didn't matter they ate it down to the ground.

Now for the real question. The oats came up great and was very happy with the way they looked. Head on them looks great. They are tall and look good. The deer aren't barely touching them even this late in the year. I thought the deer would mow them down but no go. It's a brand touted for trophy oats and looks great but the deer aren't having anything to do with them.

Anybody have any reason why that might be?

Was very happy and impressed with the brassicas last year. Thought I could do a one 2 punch of oats and brassicas but now am thinking of beans/peas and brassicas. But don't know how late into our fall/early winter beans and peas can go?

Don't know a ton about brassicas but I can't imagine planting them for more than a year or 2 at most with out having to rotate something elese in. Late in the year in northern MN with snow depth and the temps is there any other great choices for late sesaon cold areas besides oats and brassicas?

Are there better oats out there?

How much fert am I going to have to put down if I go with a brassica 2 years in a row?

Anybody have any success with planting brassicas and beans/peas together?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

11-13-2010, 07:24 PM
The oats came up great and was very happy with the way they looked. Head on them looks great. They are tall and look good. The deer aren't barely touching them even this late in the year. I thought the deer would mow them down but no go. It's a brand touted for trophy oats and looks great but the deer aren't having anything to do with them.

Anybody have any reason why that might be?

When you say the head on them looked great, are referring to a seed head ? Ours won't touch oats when they are that mature, but all deer are different and have different available sources to choose from.

When were oats planted ?

Whitetail Jiu-Jitsu
11-13-2010, 07:31 PM
Deer in one area will love a specific plant and not touch another. While deer in another area will not eat the first plant but hammer the second. A lot of it comes down to what the deer are used and the time of year.

I have a chicory plot that has been lush for 3 years and this is the first year I have seen deer actively eating in it. There is a chance that deer in your area are just not accustomed to eating cereal grains yet.

Personally, I love to plant a brassica/buck forage oats combination in the fall. I use approximately 2/3s the recommended planting rate for each. I planted 3 different plots with this mix this fall. One of the plots they didn't start eating until last week but the other two they hammered quickly.

My point is, it might just take time.

11-13-2010, 09:39 PM
First, lets figure out, when did you plant these oats???

Once winter grains get tall and lush, they do lose some of their attraction.

Aside from that; items to consider:

Winter Wheat, Winter Rye, Austrian Winter Peas.

The winter rye would provide some of the best winter feed (as far as any of the winter grains). It stays green when oats freeze out.

A good rotation would be (Rye and Peas) one year, brassicas, the next. But... split your plot in half, and you can half of each plot planted differently, and then rotate that way.

Planting beans works best on larger acreages (due to browse pressure). Ultimately, they are a green forage crop during the warm season, not the hunting season (up North). Now if you can carry yours beans long enough to thow pods, then you have another attraction for the Fall Hunting season. Then the only questions is if there are enough beans to last till/through the season.

Clover can be a great good source. Don't don't count it out yet.
Two questions: 1) Have you had an exclusion cage on your clover (to prove how much has or has not really been eaten, and 2) What kind of clover?
Maybe there is another clover that might prove more attractive to your deer.

If nothing else, the clover should be providing nitrogen for your brassicas or grains, the following season. Lastly, your pH is gettin close to where alfalfa could even be given a shot, if you should so decide to experiment.

11-13-2010, 10:14 PM
By the time oats are seeded out they're way past the point where deer will eat them. Deer eat oats when they're young and tender in the grass stage, not the mature seeded out stage. Like the others said, when were they planted? It sounds like they were planted in the spring and have matured. That's the wrong time to plant oats, they need to be planted in the fall, they'll mature in the spring when the warm weather hits but they'll provide forage all through the winter.

11-13-2010, 10:59 PM
Oats past 8" are worthless, I like them around 3 or 4". Plant them two or three weeks before you want to hunt them.

Whitetail Jiu-Jitsu
11-14-2010, 10:45 AM
I still have deer eating my oats and they are seeded out.

11-14-2010, 08:20 PM
Looked back and planted the oats at the end of July and the first part of August. We had lots of warm weather with a lot of rain after planting. It called for a last part of August planting. Urgh!

Will try to plant oats in late August next year vs the first part of August and then hope and pray for moisture. Don't know if I should go much latter than that in northern MN?

The main draw for deer then with oats is well before the seed head shows up? Did not know that, good to know!

I'm not a big fan of grains or grass's because of snow but would still like to utilize them. We can have decent snow falls around our deer season. Want something that can really stand up in heavy snow falls. But also like the idea of variety. In my own ignorance right now I'd really love to just plant a good strong, tall brassicas that the deer found attractive that could stand up to snow. But know I couldn't keep the soil going with the heavy toll that would take on the soil. The habitat in our area has plenty of young browse as well as hay fields. The deer seem to use a lot of those hay fields which are mainly alfalfa as well as some other grasses.

Could the deer in the area be more accustomed to alfalfa? Have heard that it's not the greatest seed for food plots but the deer in our area use those fields till the snow buries it. So I guess the grass thing isn't as bad in the snow as I'd like to think it is.

Do not have an exclusion cage around the clover. We have a lot of wild clover and grass that grows thick. We have little problems with lack of moisture and the clover seems to grow very well. Kind of use it for a hold over because it is hard to disc and plow when we have a wet spring/summer like this year. Can't get much in till late June early July. Kind of the opposite of the dry weather the south is more prone to.

Does good soil moisture make up or at least help a bit for anything lacking in the soil?

Nice to know I planted way to early.

Thanks for all the help.

11-14-2010, 10:06 PM
Are there better oats out there?

Any 'ol oat variety should do (most of plant whatever is affordable), although I do like Certified varieties; only for the sake of minimizing any weed seed that might come in the bag. New varieites come out in response to disease tolerance, etc. If I know a variety is having such issues, I will go with whatever seems to be working best in the area. I will however, not by a bag of oat with the Words "Buck or Trophy" on them.

Still thinking a later planted winter rye would work best for you, given your Northern location.

As for the Clover... "Wild"??? What kind did you plant previously?
Can you tell what the wild stuff is: (white or red)???

11-14-2010, 10:26 PM
If i were you get-n-birdy I would plant the mix that LickCreek suggests. That is a Oat/Winter Rye/Peas and clover(red or white)mix. It will provide for deer from sep/oct all through winter and when spring comes mow it off and the clover will come through for a all summer forage then work it up in late aug early sep and repeat the process. You can rotate this mix with your brassica mix and maintain forage year round.:)

11-15-2010, 11:43 AM
By wild I mean what was naturally there before we planted anything. On some of the trails where we have yet to plant anything and only mow the wild clover is pretty impressive. The Stuff looks good to me and the deer and grouse really seem to like it. We are working with the DNR and NRCS with some habitat improvements. A DNR guy showed me some old aerial photos of the area in the late 40's early 50's when they hayed some of the property. Kind of cool to go back and look at old aerial photos and see how your land was way back when and how much things can change.