Deer are primarily browsers -- twigs and small branches comprise the bulk of their diet. While they are able to digest rough plant material, green grazing forage plants are an important addition to their main diet. Winter wheat, which stays green through the winter months, is a good supplemental food source for white tailed deer. You can help your local deer population flourish by planting a plot of winter wheat. This is especially true in wooded areas where green grazing plants are not available. Winter wheat is planted in September in the northern states and as late as November in the more southerly regions.
Things You'll Need
- Wheat seed
- Rotary tiller
- Lawn roller
- Broadcast seeder or spreader
Preparing the Area
Decide what size of feed plot you want to grow. Ideally, the minimum size for a deer population would be 1/2 to 1 acre. Plots over 5 acres are not as effective. Your wheat plot should measure at least 60 feet or more on one side.
Take a soil sample and fertilize your area according to the recommendations made by the soil laboratory. The most accurate soil tests are available through your local County Agricultural Extension Office. If a soil test is not available, fertilize at the rate of 60 lb. nitrogen, 80 lb. phosphorus and 80 lb. potassium per acre.
Till the fertilizer into the soil using either a walk-behind or tractor-mounted rotary tiller. Rotary tillers can be rented from rental shops. Hire a local farmer to prepare larger acreages. Be sure to leave a smooth seedbed.
Planting the Seed
Determine how much wheat seed you need. Use 80 to 120 lb. seed per acre. Use the higher rate if you spread the seed using either a push-type or hand-held broadcast seeder. Use the lower rate when planting with a grain drill -- a special planter used by farmers. Broadcast seeders are inexpensive; you can purchase one at a garden or farm supply store. Purchase wheat seed from a farm supply store.
Adjust your seeder according to the manufacturer's instructions. Divide your seed into two equal parts. Walk in one direction and spread half the seed onto your plot using the broadcast spreader. Spread the remainder of your seed while walking cross-ways from your original direction. This will ensure even seed coverage.
Use a lawn roller to press the seed into the soil. Or cover the seed to a depth of 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches by using a drag or disk implement pulled by a tractor.
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