Corn is king, but can be expensive to plant and prepare.
My favorite low cost food plots are below in random order:
Fall rye ($15-20 per 50lbs) Plant 80-100lbs per acre
Oats (regular feed oats about $8-10 per 50lbs) Plant 80-100 lbs per acre
Brassicas (purple top turnips, appin forage turnips and dwarf essix rape). I bought 7lbs from welter seed for $19 mixed. Plant anywhere from 3-5lbs per acre.
I own 117 acres in SE Ohio. I have three food plots on my property. None of them exceed over an acre. I do this so the deer feel safe feeding in them before night. I plant annuals each year since I live 2 hours from my property and do not have time to mow them all the time. Plus, I want something that draws the deer while I am hunting, period. I plant a plot of oats, rye and brassicas every year and simply rotate.
Here is what I do:
Mow/till the plots the same day (usually around mid june)
Let the plot sit for 1 month
Spray new green growth with round-up usually around last of July (anytime you till and turn the ground over you are exposing new weed seed. This is why I spray LAST.)
wait a week and plant brassicas in early August (I'll wait and plant my oats and rye about mid August)
Ohio's bow season starts Sept 26 this year. I want my oats and rye to be 6" or less when bow season comes in. I put my brassicas in early (late July early August) so they have time to mature. Most of the time the deer don't start hitting my brassicas until mid-late October.
Not counting lime, only seed, my plots cost me $70 in seed every year. The past two years I have not put any fertilizer out, only lime. Without a good PH fertilizer is a waste anyways. With fertilizer prices the way they are, I save the money and buy lime. It's been working fine. I can buy 5 bags of lime to 1 bag of fertilizer. If you're going to cut corners, do not skimp on lime. I buy pelletized lime for $4 per 50lb bag because I can't get a lime truck back to my plots (only 4-wheeler). Initially I put 400lbs on each plot and now I just touch them up each year with 2 bags on each (6 total).
I try to save as much money as I can and the deer can't tell a difference. I buy all my seed from the local co-op and welters seed. You don't need that name brand stuff.
Last edited by darron; 06-08-2009 at 01:38 PM.