Todays food plot tip of the day is focused on the food plot gem of the north – brassicas. These tasty broad leafed wonders are food plot gold come late fall, and can be in many cases an ideal hunting plot choice. But before I get too deeply into my own thoughts on Brassicas, I wanted to share some helpful words of wisdom from Neil Dougherty of North Country Whitetails. In his article “Knowledge for North Food Plots” he stated the following…
“Brassicas — a general term that describes turnips and kale — are the secret weapon for northern deer managers…In very good growing conditions brassicas can grow waist high. Many varieties are 34 to 38 percent crude protein with a very high moisture content and 80 percent digestible….Generally, brassica varieties speed up the sweetening process after the first heavy frost, which dramatically increases late season usage. This late season trigger is perfect for northern deer managers.
Ideally, deer can work clover and chicory all spring and summer. As cold weather approaches, clover and chicory slow their growth, providing less forage. The cold weather will help finalize the sugar cycle in brassicas, providing a dynamite fall attractant and winter food source. Brassica plants stay green and upright during cold weather until consumed by deer, or until they breakdown in spring.”
Neil said it well when he described brassicas as the secret weapon for northern deer managers. Why are they such a great option? Well in short – it’s for two main reasons…
1. They provide great protein and are highly attractive to deer
2. They are most attractive to deer during the fall/winter season, while not being so desired in spring/summer that they get thinned out before hunting season.
By having a prime food source that is still available during the hunting season (when many foods aren’t), you’ll almost certainly have a whitetail hot spot on your property. Making it a great asset to the health of your deer AND to the success of your hunts. As the title stated, brassicas planted in the spring can definitely pay off big come fall.
In the past I’ve tried a variety of different brassicas, including those found in Whitetail Institute’s No-Plow, Tall Tine Turnips, and Winter Greens. There are plenty of other options out there as well (Biologic Maximum, Frigid Forage Big n Beasty, rape, kale, turnips, etc) but these three have worked like a charm for me so far. In fact I’ve got two acres planned right now for Winter Greens to be planted soon!
If you’re interested in reading more on this topic from Neil Dougherty check out the North Country Whitetails website . And to try some brassicas for yourself, head to the Whitetail Institute of North America’s website for details and planting instructions!