|May 7, 2003||July 3 , & August 19, 2003|
Before we go into our 2003 planting, let's evaluate our Long Term History of the Bowsite.com Food Plot
Summer Checkup (July, 3) - Our first look at the food plot since planting was "interesting" but our assessment of it is mixed. We had planted a combo of perennial crimson clover, and the annual Imperial No-Plow which consists of a variety of clovers, rape, and rye-grass. It came in great - very thick and healthy. However the rape was overwhelmingly distributed, and I would go so far as to say - to the detriment of the other species - notably the clovers. To confuse matters, we saw no evidence that the deer were utilizing the rape anywhere in the plot. Where we did find small pockets of clover - there was obvious deer activity.
We mowed the rape to 5" in an attempt to jump start the clover seeds.
Late Summer Checkup (Aug, 19) - Our second visit saw a little improvement, but the mowed plot looked very similar to the July visit. The rape had grown back, albeit not as tall, and some of the clover patches were a bit healthier. The good news was there were signs (minimal) of deer browsing the rape, but it was sparse, and only along the edges or where deer trails intersected the plot.
We decided not to mow this time, and we spread 300 lbs/acre of 5/30/30 fertilizer.
Close up of the rape leaves
Wait and See - I've been reading about mixed results from other hunters who had planted the Imperial No-Plow, along with deer utilization of rape seed. I was happy to see an increase in utilization of rape however given the deer population in this area - I would have thought the utilization would be much greater. My single biggest complaint, so far, is the ratio of rape seed to clovers. It appears to me that this product's ratio is out of whack, I would have liked to see a more diverse variety of plants distributed in this product. But we'll have to sit back and see how it performs during the season - perhaps the deer will utilize this as other food sources dry up.