Way up, on the top of the plateau, near the southwest line, I had Richie plow about an acre. We all rock picked it like crazy. Marian, Jake, Kellen and I spent a few hours for a few days up there tossing stones and boulders into the forest to clear the land. Richie and his crew/family did likewise during the week when we weren't there.
Jake, Kellen and I hauled 3 tons of lime and 1 & 1/2 tons of fertilizer to that upper food plot location with the Kawasaki mule and the 650 Arctic Cat ATV. That's 9000 lbs. of double lifting to load and unload. Packaged in 50 lb. bags with the consistency of sand. Ugh!!! Mostly of the work was done by the boys while I rode the ATV to monitor the gravel roadways that were being paved. Thank God for strong healthy young sons.
That week, Richie disced in the lime and fertilizer and the following weekend, I seeded the plot. We used another WINA product called EDGE. Edge is a blend of highly nutritious forage for deer. It consists of four (4) component seeds.
1) Sainfoin - a perennial herb in the legume family that is exceptionally nutrition dense.
2) Persist Forb - a highly attractive, sweetness perennial found in WINA's Extreme.
3) X-9 Alfalfa - a grazing alfalfa with a greater leaf to stem ratio that deer find very attractive.
4) WINA-100 Chicory - a Whitetail Institute proprietary seed that produces a forage chicory vastly more tender and palatable for deer than regular cattle chicory.
This mix yields a whooping 44% protein once established. It also is a perrennial blend designed to last up to 5 years with proper maintenance.
Something new for us this year is our first annual planting. The middle pasture soil is so rich I wanted to try an incredibly attractive food plot with irresistible forage for deer. WINA has such a product. It's called POWER PLANT. It was designed to provide high protein with massive tonnage for heavy forage during late spring, summer and into the fall.
It consists of vining soybeans and climbing peas better able to sustain growth during heavy consumption by deer. To provide a lattice for the legume vines to grow and climb, tall structure plants are included in the seed mix. These consist of sunflowers and high quality forage sorghum. The final plant is Lablab, an African hyacinth bean that is highly nutritious and extremely drought resistant.
A number of issues will work against the Power Plant being as successful as I had hoped. First, the weather. Power Plant needs a consist ground soil temperature of at least 65 degrees. Days after seeding, the temps dropped well down into the low 50's numerous nights ... not good ... germination will not occur. Second, I messed up on how to plant. These seeds need to be buried into the soil, unlike all the perennial plantings. Seeding followed by cultipacking didn't bury the seeds enough. I need to either shallow disc the next time or use a harrow after dropping the seeds. That being said, the 2 acres are showing some growth even if it is less than spectacular.
The final planting consisted of large Dunston chestnut trees that we had shipped up to a nursery in southern NJ. We purchased fifteen 10'-12' trees that Jake drove down to pick-up. Because they had already "leafed-in" they had to sit in our driveway in River Edge for over 2 weeks while the weather at the farm warmed up.
This would be the most sensitive planting of 2012. These trees had already begun to produce nuts. The problem is that they were cultivated in the warm temperatures of Florida. The nursery director stated that they are Zone 4 hardy, so I took a chance. So far 11 of the trees regrew their leaves (they arrived fully bloomed, but again even after waiting, we still received a few days of spring frost that killed off all the leaves). The other 4 trees may still survive, but we won't know until next spring.
We may still attempt a fall planting for a winter forage crop. Brassica tubers (including turnips), winter wheat, forage oats and triticale are all options for a hardy winter food source for deer and turkey.