After months of preparation, all of our plots are in and should be looking great by opening day here in Illinois. We were fortunate enough to get a few days of dry weather that allowed us to plant 9 acres of fall season plots spread out over the properties we hunt.
Locating and spraying was the easy part of our plan. The real job came when we had to cover all the miles from farm to farm and get the plots in. Most of our fields had been sprayed with glyphosate/Round-up a couple times and we had planned on burning the dead matter off just before coming in with the planter to put the seed in. Much to our liking, most of our plots were so dead there wasn't enough fuel to sustain a fire.
It was just a matter of running the planter over the soil and the seed was ready to germinate. We were also able to catch a decent rain just a couple days before. The residual moisture left over from the rain created a perfect environment for our clovers, wheat, brassicas. It was able to germinate quickly as we had sunny skies, 90 egrees, and ample soil moisture.
There were a few plots that needed some extra care before planting. Back in July, we tried to burn half an acre plot to plant some forage beans. It didn't burn as planned and we were only able to plant less than a quarter acre. The fire didn't sweep through like we wanted. Instead of taking out a large chunk, it ran in strips for some reason.
When we returned in August, the beans looked great, but the spots that burned and didn't get planted were thick ith 6 inch tall weeds. A disk was the only answer to this problem before planting. It took a couple rounds through the plot to get it worked up, but ended up being one of our best looking spots after being planted.
We also had a very secluded half acre plot that sits in a large wooded pasture. The spot is going to be awesome, specially if it grows like it should. In order to protect our hard work, we employed a two strand barb-wire fence round the entire plot. It would only take one day, and the cows could have it destroyed. The deer will simply be ble to jump the fence to enter and feed while the cows will hopefully be deterred.
The six acres of beans which were planted in July look great! They've had plenty of moisture during their 7 weeks of growing which is good and bad. They germinated quickly and have had a good rain every few days, but weeds have became an issue.
Luckily, our forage beans are round-up ready meaning we can spray them and kill the weeds, but the beans will be un-harmed. This should take out the competition and they'll be able to thrive during what's left of the growing season. Our main focus for these beans was to concentrate some deer activity and allow us to get trail cam ictures of bucks. The plan has worked great so far!
On our largest bean plot, 3.5 acres, we have captured four different mature bucks ranging from an estimated 135 to nearly 180 inches. We were even able to sneak into a position near the plot and film the 180 inch buck from just nder 100 yards.
Our plots are in and stands are strategically located around them. The buffet we've worked 6 months to create is uickly becoming reality. We should have some excellent opportunities come this fall. The hard work is not only going to benefit our hunting, but also provided forage for deer during the winter months when food is scarce. Now it's time to practice shooting and start washing camo. Let the countdown begin.....30 days!