I'm putting some ammonia nitrate on my Arkansa Oats, making sure to stay away from my Clover mix. Oats will pop up and have a good head for Turkey in the spring. Good nesting for Quail in Summer. Probably the newest thing I'm gonna do is put Fertilizer around my acorn trees and Honeysuckle patches. Folks tell me that a tree that has abundant with acorns next Fall will be the hottest place to hunt. No Plowing, No seed cost, not much worry about rain on newly planted food plot etc. Why introduce new plants when they already know what acorns are, just want to eat them all winter. Sumter Co.
I've been planting various seeds on my farm for the last 5-years and recording what seems to be the favorite of my wildlife.
The best deer forage I've found is Imperial Whitetail Clover by The Whitetail Institute of North America. You have to order it and it ain't cheap. Their website list it for $259.95 for 50-pounds, which they say will plant up to 6-acres. I planted about 3-acres with my 50-pound bag, but I seeded my plot extra heavy. It will last for up to 5-years if you fertilize/lime it and keep the grass out of it. Don't plant clover if your plot will flood. It will drown. I lost a lot of my clover to flooding from a nearby creek. Mine is going on 3-years old and it still looks good.
Be sure to take a soil sample and send it to The Whitetail Institute. They will tell you exactly how much lime and fertilizer you will need to put down, before you seed in the fall. I followed their suggestions to the tee. I wasn't about to take a chance with seed that cost that much!
For birds of all types, plant sunflowers. The seed is real cheap and it will bring birds from all over. It makes decent cover for wildlife in open food plots also.
Chufas will keep the turkeys in your plot. It may take a year or two to get them there, but they won't leave if you plant chufas.
Buck Forage Oats worked well for me a couple of years back. I didn't get around to planting it last year.
The winter peas,turnips,Tecomate Ultra Forage Mix & wheat/oats mix you mentioned work well too. I've also tried the lablab, iron & clay peas, and corn and it will attract the deer, but nothing I've tried seems to work as well as the Imperial Whitetail Clover. BTW, the turkeys love it as well as the deer. I actually had a flock of turkeys runs a doe completely out of my clover plot a couple of weeks ago! I could not believe what I was seeing!
Been managing deer properties since 1975.
If you're looking to be cost effective and have productive food plots in my area here's what I've used for over last twelve years, and with great results. My focus is mainly for deer and turkey, everything else benefits too. Winter plots, wheat and oats. Summer, sunflowers, the black oily kind and iron/clay peas. Tried chufas for the turkeys and the coons ate most of the first year.
Here's how I do it. Winter wheat and oats, after winter is over and spring greenup starts I decide which plots to turn for the first planting of summer. Be sure to turn them before turkeys go on nest. After spring greenup toughens, plant iron/clay peas and in seperate plots, plant the sunflowers. After turkey nesting is over turn the rest of your plots and plant them the same. This alternate planting will keep something young and green coming along thru the summer. Keep summer plots going and in good shape until first frost, then put in you winter plots. Check the regulations before putting in mineral licks, here's what I use. Polyfoss, calcium and mineral salts mixed. Apply to an area that is shady, stays damp, but affords no runoff from rains. Ready mixes can also be used. You'll be amazed how the deer eat sunflower leaves, the more they nip the plant the more flowers it will make.
Over the last 29 years, I believe I've tried just about everything anyone ever suggested. As you probably know, food plots can be expensive, time consuming and downright disappointing. As with most clubs and any organization it's ten percent of the members that do all the work. And to justify that, about ten percent usually enjoy the rewards. Those who don't contribute sometimes cash in on the gravy too.
What I posted in the above post is just about as cost efficient as one can get and have good productive food plots in South Ga. Timing is important, I watch the weather and plant my plots just before a timely rain. Watch your winter plots, I add nitrogen when they start looking yellow, it'll green them back up in a couple days. A hard frost will burn oats abit, nothing you can do about that. Wish you luck, it's hard work and takes equipment to get the job done. Summer plots, replant whenever they look done. To establish good food plots you have to plant enough to overpower the eating capacity of the deer on your property.
Tried alfalfa a couple times, once in Macon Co. Al. and in Early Co. Ga. didn't do well either time. Tough to keep the weeds from taking it over around here too. Darn nut grass, coffee weeds, golden rod, and others. An easy enhancment of your deer property can be done by fertilizing the oaks, dewberries, persimmon and honeysuckle. When scouting after deer season take a pair of small snips with ya and cut all greenbriar you encounter back close to the ground. It's a favorite food of the whitetail and will sprout in spring with new shoots similiar to asparagus. You can also benefit from fertilizing the dewberries, the berries will be larger, juicer, make great jelly, cobbler and pies. That is, if a drought doesn't happen. I make jelly each year, mayhaw, wild scuppenong, dewberry and crabapple. Club members like it so well they hide it from one another.
Ya'll gotta remember, there's all sorts of folks out there trying to sell you all sorts of products. I've found it's better to keep it simple, cost efficient and productive. Sort of like folks buying fishing tackle. Most fishermen have a box full of lures. But when it comes down to it, they only use the same few time and again because they have confidence in them. Most fishing lures are to catch fishermen. In my opinion, most hunting products are promoted to catch hunters. But if you like all that stuff and it gives you confidence, by all means use it. I'll continue to keep it simple, just me, everyday clothes, good bows, rifles, guns and my halloween orange pumpkin vest. The scent I use is free, it comes from pine or cedar boughs and I'll use a good choice of stand to keep from being winded.
I have to disagree with you GamHunter. I have planted WTI clover with no farm equipment unless you want to count a hand spreader, a lawn mower and a 2 gal pump sprayer and in a couple cases a match. No soil tillage whatsoever. And it resulted is a beautiful field of thick lush clover. Like all ladino clovers your soil ph has to be close to 6 however and you have to keep grass competition out. You can't just seed clover and leave it and get or keep a good stand. It does require maintenance.