Rye, Wheat and Oats- which one do you choose this year?
A common ingredient in many food plots are the cereal grains: rye, wheat and oats. What’s the difference in the three? They are all annuals, so they germinate and grow quickly and begin providing deer forage in a short time, and they are relatively easy to plant. This makes them ideal for fall-planted food plots intended for hunting-season attraction and fall/winter nutrition. They are all roughly equal in nutritional value, with around 30 percent crude protein and 70 percent digestibility, and all three are palatable to whitetails. So, which should you choose? The below information if from the Quality Deer Management Association.
The main difference in the three is their cold-tolerance.
- Rye is the most cold-tolerant of the three cereal grains, wheat is in the middle, and oats are generally the least cold-tolerant.
- All three are suitable for fall-planted crops in the South, but because it is less cold-tolerant, oats are not a good choice for fall plantings in the North or Canada (although oats can be spring-sown in April in these areas).
- Each of the three cereal grains is available in a number of varieties with different attributes; check with your local agricultural extension agent for advice on the best varieties for your region.
Rye, wheat and oats are good candidates for blending with other crops, especially legumes like winter peas and perennial clovers. The photo above shows a fall-planted blend of oats, ladino clover and chicory taken the spring after planting; the clover and chicory are now productive, while the oats have matured and produced seeds. A number of commercially available blends include cereal grains and legumes.
We will be following these tips this year on our North Georgia hunting property. While the property we are hunting is not large (less than 100 acres) we are going to provide a number of food sources/varieties to pull deer in. We focused on peas and beans during the summer months and will be transitioning to these types of seeds for fall and winter. For several suggested blends and seeding rates, see the mixtures chapter of “Quality Food Plots,” available from QDMA. For more information on purchasing food plot seeds visit StickemArchery.com.
Originally posted 2011-09-14 16:12:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter