I will be adding a third and fourth camera into the mix within the next day or two. All trail cameras are digital that I make myself utilizing Sony digital cameras. If you would like to build your own just email me and I can get you the information.
Below you can see a couple other pictures of deer within the plots.
Update July 15, 2006 Things have really taken shape with the food plot over the last two weeks. The deer are continuing to hammer all the plots based on sign and the action from three trail cameras. Deer are also starting to bed within the plots as several areas show matted beds scattered throughout.
A week ago the clover plots received there first mowing. The main reason for this was to aid and stimulate growth as well as to maintain the weeds that were showing up. The mowing really seemed to aid in the weed control as the clover is dominating all the plots. I did buy some Arrest earlier this year but with the overall progress of the clover I don't believe I will be using it.
As far as the overall health of the clover plots, Whitetail Institute's Chicory Plus seems to be comfortably leading at this point. The coverage is uniform and thick which the deer seem to love. When I mowed last week I only had to mow about half of this plot as it seemed to drowned out all other competing weed growth.
Antler King is solidly in second and the only plot that may have a chance to rival Whitetail Institute. The coverage is fairly uniform with just a few patches that are a little week. The deer have really taken a liking to the Rape Seed that is part of this mixture. The leaves are really chewed back and any new growth seems to be hit as soon as it emerges.
Mossy Oak Biologic is currently in third place. This blend is uniform with some weak patches. The growth rate is closely behind the other two when comparing the utility cages. This Clover Plus is located where a major deer travel corridor enters the plots. This area of the plot experiences very heavy browsing as you might expect. There is a browsing triangular region stemming from where the trail enters the plot.
The Frigid Forage Pure Clover is fairly uniform within the plot but seems to be lagging a little behind in growth. It is hard to judge the difference in browsing as the deer have upset the utility cage within the last week. The Frigid Forage is also experiencing heavy browsing similar to the Clover Plus where a trail intersects the plot.
All the clover products are actually doing better than I could of imagined for the first year. I attribute this to all the great advice I received from all four companies which supplied product. The work put into the lime applications and fertilizer has really helped produced an A1 crop of food plots in my opinion. I would be happy if I just would of planted any one of competing clover products. All four are seeing heavy browsing, especially where major and secondary trails lead into the plots. Deer as well as turkey are being captured on trail cameras leading into as well as overlooking the plots.
The other varieties of food plots are also seeing heavy use. The Biologic Biomaxx and LabLab have taken a heavy beating from the overbrowsing. Weeds are beginning to grow amongst the overbrowsed soybeans and I plan on spraying roundup to help. Remember the Biomaxx is a Roundup Ready Product. In a few weeks I plan on replanting the field with a fall blend of Biologic Maximum. I plan to keep what corn and soybeans I can salvage and replant so I have a mixture with the brassicas. The sugar beets and turnips from the Frigid Forage Wild Game Buffet are continuing to be pulled up. I can hardly wait till this fall to see what happens when the starches within them turn to sugar.
Update August 7, 2006
It is hard to believe but it seemed like just last week I was loading up the tractor for a one and a half hour ride to my food plot area. I vividly remember sinking the plow in on my first pass over the one acre field that would house the clover mixture plots. Looking over the plots today gave me a great sense of achievement. The detailed planning, work and advice from all companies involved helped make these plots exceed my expectations. Deer, turkey and other wildlife are utilizing these fields regularly and many beds are starting to appear around the edges.
Over the past two weeks high temperatures and no rain have tried to dampen my spirits. But other than a few affected patches most are thick enough to bear the brunt of the heat. With heavy rain in the forecast over the next two days those few patches should see relief.
Walking through the plots show all varieties have made significant strides over the past few weeks since mowing. Even though all have come through with flying colors, Whitetail Institutes Chicory Plus and Antler Kings Mini Max stand out as the true leaders in growth and maturity. Biologics Clover Plus has solidified itself in third place with Frigid Forage Pure Trophy Clover close behind.
The Chicory Plus from Whitetail Institute germinated quickly with high concentrations and blend of clover and chicory. It seemed to drown out any competing weeds and was very evident on my initial mowing. Part of the plot was just skimmed over as there was very little weeds present. Antler King also came up fast and the deer favored the rape immediately. The initial mowing of this product seemed to have great effect on its flourishing with the clover really coming on.
Biologic's Clover plus germinated a little slower than the other two and because of this seemed to be lagging about a week or two behind. After mowing it remained fairly constant but still lacks a little in density. Frigid Forage's Pure Trophy Clover was the slowest to germinate but seem to come on after the initial mowing. Although very thick now it still seems to lack in the maturity of the Chicory Plus or Mini Max.
Like I stated earlier in the evaluation I wouldn't hesitate in planting any of the four varieties but to narrow it down I would recommend the Chicory Plus with the Mini Max a close second. The overall growth rate, maturity and density is what impressed me most about this product and gives it the slightest nod.
Updates on the other plots show the Biologic Biomaxx continues to take a beating. The deer have even devoured the corn that grew above the utility cage. I basically raised the white flag a month ago and plan on rotating this crop, replanting it with a fall mixture of Maximum. I highly recommend this plot blend and plan on replanting next spring. I however will drill the product into the ground next year as broadcasting seems to waste more. Good soil contact of at least 1.5 inches is recommended. The Biologic LabLab came on strong but was hampered by a beetle problem early on and never really recovered. I would also recommend drilling as well.
The remaining plots consisted of several varieties of products from Frigid Forage. The Monster Magnet product seemed to attract deer with its wide variety of forage including the sugar beets and turnips. I was afraid that the deer would not really hit these until later, but every visit revealed these "veggies" being pawed from the ground and munched on. I was also surprised on the amount forage that was produced from the quarter acre bag. A fall food plot will be devoted to their Big and Beasty Brassica product.
In conclusion I hope you enjoyed this evaluation as much as I had bringing it to you. I learned quite a lot and would recommend any hunter giving it a try. Most important, and I stress this, is to take soil samples. Soil samples give you an excellent starting point with how to prepare your seed plots. I had to add a ton of lime per acre in order to get my plots to the magical 6.5 to 7 level.